On Sunday, June 24th we celebrated the 1 yr anniversary of a church plant in the community of Rosario Murillo in Nicaragua. Rich spoke and the title of his message was “Never the Same”. The main point was
that after we accept Christ we are never the same. The old is gone. The new has come. We have a change in heart, mind, & behavior. When we encounter Christ we are forever changed.
I think that thought can also apply to missions. After you go and serve in another country or another state or another community, you are never the same. After spending a week in Nicaragua last summer, I came home with a whole new perspective on the “essentials” of life. I became disgusted with wastefulness
& overindulgence. I looked at all of the material things that we owned and realized how little we really needed. So I started cleaning out and getting rid of things that just took up space. And I didn’t just focus on possessions.
I began evaluating the time I spent each day watching tv, searching the internet & chatting with friends versus the amount of time I spent each day studying God’s Word, praying & serving others. I started looking at what frivolous things I spent money on. Anytime I felt like I just needed a new gadget for the house, I would think of the families in Nicaragua who had to do laundry by hand on a washboard. Anytime I felt crowded and just wanted more counter space in my kitchen, I thought of the families in Nicaragua who shared tiny homes with 10+ other family members and whose kitchen sinks were outside their homes. Anytime I would get frustrated because we only had 1 vehicle, I would think of the families I saw riding around Managua on motorcycles. When you see the joy and contentment on the faces of people who have nothing but Jesus, you are forever changed.
Upon returning from Nicaragua this summer, I expected to have the desire to clear out the excess and focus on the essentials. I expected the post missions trip blues and the desire to go back as soon as possible and take the entire family. One thing that I did not expect was overwhelming peace in the uncertainty of our lives. I don’t have a clue how the next chapter of our lives will unfold and I can honestly say that I am ok with that. I know that God is in control and that he will provide because he has proven Himself to be faithful time and time again.
My desire is to do whatever brings Him glory and to train my children to do the same. God is preparing our family for something big and we are following Him wherever He leads. We are giving Him a blank check and asking Him where He wants us to serve. We are no longer the same Carlson family desiring to live a happy
carefree comfortable life. We desire to radically serve Him because we have been forever changed.