Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Walking by Faith - Emily

I am convinced that no other STINT Leader has a situation like Emily Bastine (in the front left pictured with four of her teammates, Kim Bubalo and myself.) Emily is part of the leadership team for México City Focus (Enfoque México). Their vision is to see God transform this city of 25 million people. Emily’s role is to lead the team in the side of this effort that involves launching of spiritual movements on over 400 universities. Not only is she leading a team with such a huge scope but a team of men and women mixed with STINTers and 3 STOP-Outers who just recently showed up.

The Enfoque México team has seen God launch 35 movements in the past two years and are trusting Him for 100 by the end of this school year. (They are hoping for a big push from the Spring Break trips.) Their crazy radical strategy is to simply show up on a campus believing God to lead them to the student or faculty member He has prepared to be a movement launcher. Once Emily and her teammates surface leaders, they then help train and coach them in how to live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Sometimes these divine appointments happen within the first hour on a campus and sometimes it takes longer. Case in point, Emily faithfully went back to one particular campus 8 or 9 times before some girl called out of the blue called and gave them a name of a believer.

On Monday, Emily shared with me about another of these divine appointments. “About a month ago I jumped into a taxi to head to a university. That taxi was chafa and so I got out and into another one. I saw that the cabbie of this 2nd taxi had a bible on his floorboard so I began a conversation with him. He told me that he was a Christian and I told him what I do here in Mexico. He promptly told me that he knew a student named Raul who was a strong Christian. He called Raul right then in the cab and put him on the speakerphone. So a couple of weeks later, Kevin (another teammate) and I met up with this cabbie’s friend. Turns out Raul has contacts to other university students and service agencies that would love to partner with us. He is always calling or texting and saying something like, ‘I have this friend who led some classmates to Christ and wants to know if you can help them know what to do next.’”

Emily went on to say. “Raul and I are going to meet with one of his friends, Erika, who is a new Christian that is interested in starting a movement on her campus! And this next week, he is going to help connect us to more students on other campuses to launch movements. I’m continually surprised by the Lord and how He shows up in the most random spots. For me it is about believing that He is the one that is directing the ministry here in Mexico City and I just want to be where He is already at work.”

Hanging out with Emily and her team this week and looking more closely again at Hebrews 11 and parallel passages, I am reminded again that faith is seeing the unseen. If it can be seen with our eyes, is it faith? If it's possible apart from God, is it truly faith? And yet faith isn’t about God doing things – even impossible, faith-stretching things - according to my agenda nor according to my timetable.

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again.

Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

In the chapter that follows, the author encourages us to ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us’. Somewhere in the midst of the paradox of His sovereign will and our willingness to live by faith is that marked-out path. The problem is we don't know whether our marked-out path is like the first paragraph where 'they gained what was promised' and 'received back the dead'. Or whether our path is like those 'whom the world was not worthy of' and died 'without receiving what was promised'.

Perhaps this Spring your team will faithfully go back 8 or 9 times to campus and He will lead you to that one student prepared to be the igniter of revolutionary fire. Or perhaps He just wants to be pleased as you go believing Him for the impossible and yet never seeing what is promised in your time. It doesn’t change the fact that He can, that He will and that He rewards us when we diligently seek Him walking by faith and not by sight… and that He wants us to trust Him with the impossible.

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