I’m here in Oconto, WI for the second day. Oconto is a city of about 4800–5000 people north of Green Bay about an hour or so. It’s beautifully situated on the bay itself. One of the great things about going on tour is meeting all kinds of “average. I put average in quotes because none of these folks are average. God has had a plan and an agenda for each one. He’s carried each one through difficult times, provided during times of little and blessed during times of much.
…. This morning I had breakfast with two guys. One is retired the other still works in the maintenance department of a local paper mill. Both were full of stories about the people they’d shared Christ with and the lives they saw changed. Both reflected on their own lives before Christ and the things God had saved them from.
The best part was that they weren’t “primping” for the missionary. In fact, I’m not even sure they knew I was there the whole time. They were just telling stories about stuff God had done as if it were the most natural thing in the world….exactly how it should be. This is the Christian & Missionary Alliance at the fundamental level; people living the Call extraordinarily in ordinary places.
… helping the new pastor unload. I just showed up to help and didn’t know a soul. “I just heard a new preacher came to town and came to help unload the truck,” I said. “Oh, okay…thanks for helping,” was the frequent reply. Folks didn’t look at me funny or ask a lot of questions. I think the only question that mattered was, “can he pull his weight.” I knew I’d scored with the group when the biggest guy in the group said, “Oh wait, he’ll can help me with this heavy box” and beckoned me over to give him a hand.
… standing in the meeting room and listening to an older woman describe how God had provided throughout her life. The far-away look in her eyes a greater expression than her words about the depth of her experience with the Lord.
… speaking to two groups of AWANA kids. As I talked about what the life of a child was like in Kosovo one little boy raised his hand to ask a question. I think we were talking about mosques or something. “Do you have any poisonous snakes in Kosovo?” he asked. No, not really. Sorry about that. Little boys wondering about the world around them. What percentage of missionaries have come our of little towns and little churches…I be the number would surprise us.
…playing cards with neighbors and laughing about the normal things of everyday life. A son’s tattoo, a injured employee, the stuff of everyday life that sometimes we miss in our really hurried lives.
This is the CMA…and I’m happy to be a part of it.