I (Rachel) have my passport! I have… my… passport.
Read that with extreme excitement first, then more tentativeness as the realization that I will indeed be traveling to a foreign country very soon – one that doesn’t speak my language and has customs, heritage and foods with which I am very unfamiliar. I’m excited about serving my God – He’s done so much for me, how could I not be? I’m excited about reaching out and sharing His love to others, especially these who have such a history of pain and tragedy. I can hardly wait to see the things He will do in the lives of the holocaust survivors, the camp staff, our own lives and the message this trip sends to our children as well.
To be honest, I’m a little nervous. Other than a brief encounter with some French-speaking areas of Canada as a child, I have never been outside of the country. I realize traveling to Europe isn’t exactly the same as traveling to a third-world culture, but it is still well outside my comfort zone. I speak publicly almost daily in my job, to students and now to my colleagues, but when I think about speaking to this group (even just in conversation) I feel very unsure and incapable.
Ben and I discussed choosing a verse to carry us through this mission trip. He immediately went to 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
I remembered then that he had referred to this verse after his first trip to Poland, saying it described perfectly how he felt as he preached his very first “real” sermon in front of Russian Jews. I once heard someone say that when we tell God that we can’t do something, His response is “I know you can’t, but I can.” The scriptures are full of countless examples of God using the most unlikely of people – fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes… he didn’t exactly pick his team from the A-List. In doing so, people saw HIM. These Israeli Jews don’t need MY wisdom, they need His. So… I guess that means it’s OK if I don’t have any! Cool.
Goodbye, comfort zone… I have my passport!