Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A missionary moment.....

So our friends from Kosovo just left....actually, it's Kosova....it's just dumb americans who call it Kosovo...it's right there with Macedonia, Albania, and Bulgaria....

It's good to talk to missionaries about America. Karl and Jill didn't have anything negative to say about the US, but just talking to them about their lives got me thinking about how screwed up our country is as far as priorities, and what's REAL LIFE.

Take clothes, for instance. In most countries, people wear their clothes for at least 2 days before washing them. Here, we may wear something for a few hours and throw it in with the dirty clothes. Showering is the same....obviously with the amount of moisturizer I require, my skin could use me skipping a shower once in awhile. Now, I might have to do double-duty on the deodorant, but that wouldn't be so bad....

Americans are fat. Is there any country as fat as us?? My friends have to make everything from scratch...brownies, pancakes, cream of mushroom soup....they buy bread almost every day...baked fresh...because it doesn't have preservatives to keep for longer than a day or so. They walk. In Kosova, no one (except the government) even owned a car until the mid-80's.

We are rich...the reality is that the majority of people in this world struggle to find food, shelter and clothing. In Kosova it gets very cold for about 4 months out of the year. Families huddle into one room of the house to sleep because it's so hard to heat their houses. Jill told us about friend who had to cut down her fruit tree in the front yard for firewood....even thought the tree could have provided fruit for years and it only provided heat for about 2 days, their need for heat was immediate.

We hoard the Gospel. Karl and Jill have been in Kosova for 4 years, visiting homes in their village, teaching English, opening a computer lab and teaching local kids, providing food and clothing for people who need it, hosting dinners in their own homes...In the first 3 years, only 1 person accepted Christ. How discouraging would that be?! Wouldn't you think that a formerly communist country who had lost thousands in a war would be hungry for the Gospel?? They've had 3 more people accept Christ this year, and fruit is beginning to grow.....but this is a country where people know nothing about Jesus!! And we sit at home wondering if we've got the money or the time to go overseas for 2 weeks or 2 months or 2 years....not feeling "called" or not caring or just not thinking about it at all. I want to have God's eyes as he looks at people in Kosova or Prague or Eritrea or Russia....I wouldn't be so focused on the temporary crap of my house, my job, my stuff.

When we go to Mexico to build houses, I love the feeling I get. You work hard all day. When you go to bed, you sleep hard. Everything you eat tastes amazing because you're so hungry. And we're so focused on our purpose there that you can't help but be aware of God. I know it's probably easy to fall into a rut even in Mexico or Kosova, but isn't that the slightest bit attractive to anyone else?? Not thinking about getting a new car or an ipod, or giving up credit cards and laptops and just working hard....going where God wants us to go...sharing Jesus with people who have never heard or understood?

How about thinking about Rez Week with those eyes?

God, help me see a hurting world. Dump out everything in me that cares about me....and give me eyes to see people and prioritize things the way you do.


Drew Hibbard said...

Hey, I like the new format of the blog! Very nice.

Erin said...

Thanks Gretchen...for reminding me how truly blessed I am, and for stirring in me a renewed excitement for Russia! I can't wait for my new eyes!

Michael Tosh said...

Good luck and be safe at Russia! We need you back to baby sit us overgrown kids!

Aakash said...

I was under the impression that the Muslim spelling was "Kosova," but the Christians spelled it "Kosovo."

Anyway, while there is a lot that I could say about Kosovo... But I won't right now. Instead, I wanted to say that I just tonight found out that you and several other UIS people had just started blogs... Mike mentioned this to me after our CR meeting.

It is interesting that this is happening. I commented about that here and here. I have been noticing that so many people have started new blogs in just recent months. And I see that this has now begun to have an effect on our campus.

After I started my blog (it was shortly after moving onto campus, at the beginning part of the Fall 2002 semester), I thought that I was the only student blogger here at UIS. I later found out, after a cool conversation with this guy, that I wasn't even the first.

Congratulations to you all for embarking on this new endevour. Keep up the good work.