Community over here and over there….
(This is the testimony David gave in church on May 18)
First of all, I wanted to say thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for our team while we were abroad. We all felt blessed to know we had such amazing support during our trip to West Asia.
Secondly, I wanted to tell you a quick story about our time there and to offer a challenge to the body here at Restoration.
On Saturday morning, I got up around 6am to lead a morning prayer meeting for the retreat we were hosting for the church in I. As people started to arrive, and as I began to fully wake up, one man gleefully began to chat with me and informed me that he had been up since 4am. I had to follow up with a “why” since he was the first person I had ever met to be so happy about getting up at 4. He went on to share with me that the Lord had told him several years before that they needed a solid 5 hours a day together to be able to make it through life. And then God told him that those 5 hours would start at 4am. So my new friend had been diligently, and joyfully, starting his walk with God every day at 4.
This fervor was ubiquitous in the group at the retreat. They all had plenty from a worldly point of view, and yet realized their complete and utter dependence on God to get through the day and through life. This need deepened their prayer life, revitalized their worship and tied together their sparse, yet vibrant community.
Part of this dependence stemmed from how difficult it is to be a believer in many places. They often felt drained, lonely and ostracized in the sea of people in which they lived. However, as I learned quickly, they deeply believed that we all should share this dependence on Jesus – regardless of where we live. Their dedication to seeking out Jesus in their own lives, worshiping him boldly and clinging to their small community made me reflect on my own life.
How much do I pour into my relationship with Jesus? And how much do I lean on my need for community? Likewise, how much does this community at Restoration pour into our relationships with Jesus and our community? I want to let these questions sink into your heads today. I also want to challenge you to think about ways you can use our amazing blessings of community and support here to make more of a difference. Also, how can you band together to better support our brothers and sisters throughout the world? Jesus has so much for us when we give our lives over to him and trust him to provide. I am excited that I got to learn from a part of our community in West Asia, and cannot wait to see how we can learn from their reliance on God and their grasp on the importance of community.
– David Ryan