02 January 2006

...aNd ThE fIrE iS nOt :-(

Well, I don't even know how to word this, but I feel I have to...
I came back from the Mission Youth Congress really dissapointed...
Maybe I was expecting too much...maybe I'm used to different kind of meetings with christians...
I was simply waiting to see portuguese young people wanting to seek God's face, longing to hear His voice, willing to follow Him wherever He would say and willing to pay the price no matter what...
But I didn't come with that impression...
Maybe it's me...maybe it's just my human eyes...but I was not the only one with the same feeling, and some didn't even stay as much as I did...
I didn't stay till the end as well...I left on the 31st after my seminar on "Urban Tribes" (which went pretty well)...so, I didn't stay for the "great night", as they were announcing...I sneek out of there!!!
Nothing was really attractive for me...
There was a huge stage with a huge sound table (big enough for a stadium concert) in a big sports pavillion (the place itself didn't help the atmosphere)...there was maybe 10 different stands of different mission organizations presenting their visions ( I still don't know if many young people commit with any of them) and we had a 24 hour prayer room...I put a paper outside for people who wanted to commit with the April Prayer Campaign, and on the last day I only had 2 names, Ron and John (definitely not portuguese, and not young as well)...I was sad with that, so I wrote underneath it "What about the portuguese?"...and finally 2 girls signed in ( I hope it was not just the presure)... they didn't show "The Vision" and the April Campaign challenge as well (well, I did show the vision in my seminar)...they said they had no time in the program, and they didn't even wanted to see it...But I didn't heard or seen any National Challenge besides reaching the unreached counties (which the prayer campaign is part of)
It was all about programs...which never run on time anyway...but that's typical portuguese :-)... no surprise on that!!!
On the first day we got there, "Triplet" was also playing at night ...the concerts only started after 1.30 am and hardly no one was there, even though we had lots of fun...the band who played before was really cool as well...we thought everyone was tired, and they all (arround 300) had to go to another place to sleep (6 km from there), but then we got to know that they all went to that place and chat all night, they didn't really went to sleep...
A big lack of respect, in my opinion, for the bands who drove 2 hours or more just to play for them...
On that day we felt that was not exactly a place where "The Vision" (check www.24-7prayer.com) would be an impact...we were even considering projecting it before "Triplet" concert, as it's part of their vision as well, but we felt it was not worth it...
The worship times were loud, a big band, a lot of instruments, impressive...but empty for me...
That was the thing that was disturbing me the most...I couldn't feel the presence of God there...I couldn't see God's leading...I couldn't see people being broken...and I know I don't see the unseen...I repeat, this is meerly my impression...
The word shared by George Verver (O.M.) was good, the teachings in the morning by Paulo Pascoal were good, the seminar themes were interesting...the prayer times, well, they were bad...we split in groups to pray for the unreached portuguese counties, but my group spent the whole time speaking and in the end we just prayed 3 minutes in smaller groups...sorry, but that's not praying for me...that's just to relief your conscience...
I don't know.forgive my openess and maybe too strong words...I don't know how to word my feelings, but I feel very frustrated and sad...
I rather think about groups like the one I met in Porto, where they were sincerelly seeking God's heart on their knees, and they don't need big structures and efforts...they just need to gather...and wait for God to show up...

I know all the ones who organize and all the volunteers work very hard for all this to happen, they hardly sleep those 3 days...but I ask myself : " Was God asking for that?" , " Wasn't that only human effort?"... That's what it seamed to me...
And I might be wrong here...and forgive me if I sound judgmental, but I had to say it...

I love the church...but that makes me feel ashame of it...
I DON'T LOOSE HOPE THOUGH...'COZ I STEEL BELIEVE GOD HAS AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN THIS NATION...AND I BELIEVE IN THE POTENTIAL OF THIS GENERATION...I BELIEVE GOD IS CALLING OUT THE WARRIORS, BUT I KNOW MOST OF THEM DON'T EVEN KNOW CHRIST YET...
I FEEL IT NEEDS TO START WITH INTIMACY...WITH STILLNESS AND QUIETNESS BEFORE GOD...WITH LISTENING EARS...WITH BROKEN AND HUMBLE HEARTS...WITH WILLINGNESS TO OBBEY...TO SURRENDER ALL AND FOLLOW JESUS...
AND NOT WITH BIG EVENTS...
WITH SIMPLICITY...
"If My people, who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (II Cron.7:14)

It makes me think about our goverment...maybe a mirror...they build big soccer stadiums, shopping malls everywhere, a lot of "christmas" lights, and now they want to spend a lot of money on a Tgv train...but still, a woman gets in the hospital at 10a.m. with a serious problem in her heart, and she has to wait, without getting any food, till 6 pm...
THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH PRIORITIES HERE...THAT'S MY FEELING...
THOSE ARE MY IMPRESSIONS...

and God led me this morning to read this :

"Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and cripled and blind and lame...
Go out into the highways and along the hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled..."
( Luke 14:15-24)

The called ones X The chosen ones...
What a shame for the Church...
I don't wanna loose Hope in the Church...but if those who are called are not answering, I know God will not waist more time...
I want my heart to be ever gratefull...never forgetting what He did for me...so I can be passionate to Love Him and live my life in behalf of those who need to know Him...

Love you
THERE IS HOPE...ALWAYS !!!



PEACE

6 comments:

Heather said...

i understand your frustration with lack of commitments, i just pray that doesn't stop you from getting involved with those who are willing. it may just take those fare few that can generate the wave. prayers for ya.

Anonymous said...

Hey Barbara..

we know each other for many years and I know we can speak sincerely..
just want to leave my impression about the congress.

some of the things you say I understand..others not, but I really stayed amazing with many things of the congress,

first of all the unity of the portuguese christians...you could see it growing from day to day, in a country where the denominations are very strong, it seemed there were no denominations, in many places I've been I have never feel such a unity like that one, you could be a baptist or a pentecostal...but it seemed it didn't matter in the congress.

I really felt that this congress has awaken many youths for missions. Remember what a girl said in your seminar "this is all new for me". And all this mission subject was new for many people, many people that I talked to didn't knew what it was before they went.

I also felt that some people didn't had passion for God, that's true..the kind of passion that makes you let everything and just trust him...but we need to wake them...we need to wake our generation..

and the best of the congress wasn't in the big meetings or in the number of 350 people...but was in the individual talks that you could have. I stayed so surprise in little talks that I had and with what God is doing in people's life.

The best was in the individual and not in the "whole group". It was a call to RISE UP and I sincerely believe that will continue...

And I was one of the volunteers that almost didn't slep but that had an amazing strenght for three days...it was worth it...and I know God was there...calling people..awaken them...

Now, many things didn't went the way I would like to but I also know that "all things are for the good of those that love God."

Maybe it's a little confuse my speech, it's really late for me...but that's just my impression of the congress!

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Renato

Linda-Joy said...

hi i'm linda - friend of lisa and byron-personally I'm not a big fan of christian conferences and I always go with low expectations (bad, yes?) - just don't be to hard on yourself or others- it's all part of the journey

Diane said...

Feel for you. Know where you'er coming from though. Think once you have touch what you did over your travels over the summer you can never go back. But I do think that you have this apostolic calling to drag others along with you, which I think may mean that you need to keep going to these places just to see who is going to join you on this journey.
Know you're not being judgemental just sharing your frustrations. Will keep praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Não deves ter estado na mesma máquina de sonhos que eu!!!

ben said...

Pk o anonimato?...