I’m on my way to join our mission team in Central Asia–they left Friday while I had to wait until Saturday night to travel because of a wedding. The wedding, by the way was beautiful and well worth the wait. It also had one of the most hilarious moments I’ve ever seen: when it came time for the little guy serving as ringbearer to give the preacher the ring, he looked down at the cushion where the ring had earlier been placed and it was gone! The ribbons that secured it had somehow become untied and during the processional the ring had disappeared. The poor kid looked helplessly up to the preacher, shook his head and lifted his palms up as if to say, “I don’t know where the ring is. You’ll have to carry on without it.” The congregation watched the whole thing unfold and immediately looked to the preacher who quickly looked at the bride who looked at her groom who looked at his father (the best man), and he saved the day. He took off his own wedding ring to use during the ceremony, which finished up without a hitch. The real ring, by the way, was found right afterwards.
I’m hanging out right now in London’s Heathrow Airport, possibly the oddest airport I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been through a lot. It’s massive, sprawling, industrial looking and packed with people from all over the world. I somehow made it through the mazes, buses, crowds and security checks and found a few minutes to drink a cup of tea. I never do that at home but somehow it seemed the right thing to do while in England.
It takes a long time to get here, but the distance can’t be measured only in miles and hours. This region of the world is distant in language, lifestyle, history, culture and, yes, religion. There’s a strangeness when you walk the streets and talk with people. But it’s that very distance that makes the message we carry and serve even more pronounced and real. That’s one reason so many people who go on mission trips return home with fresh spiritual vision.
I’ll join our team in a few hours. You’re probably aware of a significant event in the city where we’re ministering, so our initial plans are being altered moment by moment. Our partners are very knowledgeable and capable in responding to these kinds of events, and I have confidence that all of us will be fine. Pray for us, for all our partners’ safety as well as the ethnic group we’re seeking to reach. Thanks as always to our church–godly, visionary people with a heart for the world!