Greetings. Guest Blogger Dan here...I just returned from dropping off the Woodside Gang - Kelli, Doug, Bob and Christine - at Newark Airport. What a terrific team they're going to be! Here's the lineup card:
- Kelli: Little introduction necessary. Bats left, prays right. God is clearly at work in her today. I say this not so much because she's going to Haiti, but because she arose at 4:00 a.m. and was actually conversational. Like the song says; our God is an awesome God!
- Doug: We first met Doug a few years back when he took an Alpha Course that Kelli was running. Consistently inquisitive about his faith, bone-dry wit and open to whatever this trip has in store for him.
- Bob. Veteran of two DR mission trips, one of the hardest workers I've ever met in my life, completely enthralled with the work of the Foundation for Peace and totally given over to God. Also, the default leader of the group - Bob went to Haiti with me a scant two weeks ago and almost immediately booked his return trip.
- Christine. Remember Christine? This is a blog about Christine.
Christine was supposed to go on my trip 2/14-2/20. It all seemed purely ordained that she would, actually. Long story short: she wanted to go, her husband Anthony was supportive but nervous about her going, she/they found out I was going, it then turned out the best week for her to go was my week, we're all friends and so Anthony was no longer nervous. Clearly, it was meant to be, right?
Then, things got weird. First, her boss got a little wobbly about giving her the time off. Also, Christine did not have a passport, so she applied for an expedited one from the State Department. Thanks to a series of Three Stooges-worthy bureaucratic screw-ups, it never arrived and she stayed at home, heartbroken. Game over.
Around then, Kelli had begun considering a Haiti trip of her own. Meanwhile, Christine re-booked her plane ticket and time to this week. Game back on - Kelli and Christine are great pals, and would make ideal travelling companions. Suddenly, the plan was falling nicely back into place - Anthony would bring their kids to our house for a sleepover (last night) and drive everyone to Newark this morning.
On Thursday, their younger son got sick. We're talking really, really sick - barfing his little brains out. By Friday, he was OK again. Then, his older brother took up the cause. By Saturday morning, he was OK. On Saturday evening, Kelli delivered the news: "Hey, Dan: change of plans - can you drive us to Newark? Christine is sick."
So, why do I take you through this all, chapter and verse? Because I've learned to recognize something that I was first exposed to in our prison ministry. This is some USDA Grade A spiritual warfare taking place. God has clearly moved Christine into this mission field. In fact, she predicted as much late last year when she confided to Kelli that she thought "God was going to challenge her this year." Anytime that happens - capable, spiritually motivated Christians taking their love of Christ to a new level - The Enemy gets a little petulant and starts tossing obstacles in the way. An inexplicably delayed passport here, a non-understanding boss there, a sick child right behind...he knows all the tricks. You know - rarely a direct frontal assault. Just enough to make you doubt, question and with any luck, quit. And, the greater the potential that any particular Christian has for serving God, the bigger and more frequent the obstacles.
Here's the problem with his plan. He doesn't know Christine. We do.
So, Devil...yeah, I'm talking to you...I hope you had your fun. Because Christine was looking 100% this morning. And, right now, she's sitting in her seat on Continental #743, getting ready to push back from the gate with three good friends in tow. They're all headed to Haiti to do God's work and there isn't a thing you can do about it anymore.