Saturday, August 16, 2008

A stranger in a strange, strange land

So here I am in Greensboro, North Carolina. Oh my gosh, what a trip is that? This time last week I was in Nashville, TN with my dear brother (in Christ) Billy to begin my trip out east; now I'm in a new and foreign land. I'm not used to hills, Eastern Standard Time, a smaller city with a somewhat slower pace of life, or grocery stores named Harris Teeter, or one-way streets everywhere. Plus, I don't really know anybody out here; I certainly don't know people here like I did at Rhodes and in Binghampton. I've yet to have a meaningful and Spirit-filled conversation with another person in this city.

That is a big longing on my heart: fellowship with the Body. I've met some great people from the School of Music, but I've yet to engage the Christian body like I did in Memphis. Now I will grant that I have 5 years of experience in Memphis compared to 4 days in Greensboro, so time does play a big factor. Plus, I've befriended a good man in this city, Aaron, who spent last year in Memphis doing the Second Pres Fellows program. It turns out that Greensboro is his home, and he's here for the next year. Beautiful! We've been able to hang out a little bit, but he's busy with work and preparing for a wedding. Our time together has been brief, but he called me tonight to tell me that he wanted me to go to church with him tomorrow and that he was going to take me out for my birthday on Tuesday. I look forward to spending time with a brother in Christ.

But of all the things I miss from Memphis, I miss meaningful conversations with people the most. I've heard a lot of gossip from the grad students who will be my primary circle of friends (indeed, music students are similar across the board: all about that department gossip). But so far I have yet to truly connect with someone's heart like I did with Basye, Gavin, Eric Bird, Andy & Clifton, Parker, Bunkie, not to mention Byron, Billy, & Mike.  Perhaps I'm being impatient. Perhaps God is teaching me to connect with His heart right now. Prayer has been intense and emotional these past few days. That is good. That is what God longs for from me: an honest, genuine response to His heart and His Word. 

I pause for a second to think about my current situation.

I suppose it's not the conversations I miss the most; it's simply the presence of other people. I've written this here before, I'm fairly certain; the best form of ministry to another person is simply to be with that person. You don't have to say anything. You don't have to do anything. Just to sit and be with him can speak volumes of love.

So pray for God's presence to completely envelope me. Pray for God to make Himself manifest in the flesh through another brother or sister in Christ to me. Pray that I may be Christ in the flesh to other people, full of love and patience.

Until next time,

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