Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nassau 2013: On foiled plans and the God who works for our good

To say this week got off to a slow start would be an understatement.  On Monday, Pastor Joseph was stuck in Haiti (typical), the lay leaders we trained in April to run VBS were not able to get to the church, the supplies we needed to begin roof repair didn't turn up, and we had a bit of a snafu with another group about how to merge our ministry in the same neighborhood.

Basically, all of my plans were foiled. So trusting that God had some different ones, we set off for Carmichael Church on Tuesday for our second day of work.

My students planned a VBS lesson to use if the Haitian leaders didn't show again (they didn't), and we reworked our plan with the mission team that came to serve at Anna's house, a neighborhood where my students and I are also deeply invested. The day was going more smoothly as our roofing supplies arrived, and I was able to put our two male leaders, Codi and Andy, on the roof with three of my trusted roofing pros, students from last year's team Neil, Steve, and Adam.  They began ripping up rotten plywood on the roof and were treading carefully on the rafters below.

At 2:00 p.m., Andy fell through the roof.

Time stood still as two students on the ground ran to tell me to come. When I arrived in the bathroom where Andy had fallen, Codi was already there and Steve had sprinted to get the first aid kit from my backpack. Our friends Lauren and Nate from Mission Discovery rushed to our site and Nate and I headed with Andy to the ER.

I'm writing this as we're back in the hospital today after some harrowing complications with the injury and the care he received initially. {{Parents, take heart knowing that your students are safe and enjoying a great team debrief day we had planned for them! I popped in while Andy was in surgery and we had a sweet time of prayer on the beach.}}

Amazingly, until this morning, Andy had been up and walking around, joining us at Carmichael to play the drums and give the Haitian kids lessons.  

The whole experience has reminded me of a story about another guy who came down through a roof.

Jesus was teaching from a private home, and the place was so packed with people who wanted to hear from the wise Teacher that no one else could even squeeze through the door. Four friends wanted to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus, trusting that the Teacher would heal him. In desperation, they removed the shingles and lowered him through the roof.  In his account, Mark records that upon seeing the faith of these men, Jesus told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven. After saying this, Jesus discerned that the scribes were questioning his authority in their hearts. 

So he asked them, "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'your sins are forgiven,' or to say 'Rise, take up your bed, and walk?' But that you may know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'--he said to the paralytic--'I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.'" (Mark 2:9-11).

To the amazement of the crowds and the praise of God, the paralytic did just that.

When I asked Andy just a couple weeks ago to join us on the Nassau trip, I told him that was looking for a second male leader who could help me to focus the team on being sensitive to what God was doing throughout the trip. As it has turned out, that has indeed been Andy's most crucial role within the team, not least of all through his fall. While we were at the ER Tuesday night, our team and the two others were praying strong prayers for his recovery back at camp. He returned to camp that night to an entourage of our students and shouts of praise. And he rejoined us on the worksite on Thursday and Friday to the amazement of us all. Just like the paralytic, Andy's trip through the roof and his accompanying healing has been such that we "we're all amazed and glorified God saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'" (Mark 2:12).

A few days before our departure to Nassau, a friend and past leader of this trip said to me, "Remember that these kids need more than a lesson in social justice. You need to introduce them to a Person." Through the ups and downs of this week, and especially through Andy's bold faith, I believe each of my eighteen students have encountered Jesus in new ways.  Like the four men who were willing to do whatever it took to get their friend in front of Jesus, Andy's fall has gotten us all in front of Jesus.  The healing we have seen in points to the reality of a risen Christ who has authority to forgive their sin and who calls them to greater courage. 

There are many more stories from this week that I'm excited to share. But as I sit with my friend in recovery--waiting for his very brave and gracious wife to arrive--I'm just grateful for the God who uses the most surprising and in some cases, even the most terrifying events to bring us face to face with Him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Prayer go out to Andy. May The Lord be by his side.

Thank you for updating us with this post.

Safe travels home. See you Sunday night.

Marilyn :)