Thursday, April 21, 2005

The First of Many Sunrises-Day 1

We woke to the sound of a rooster crowing, a shrill cacophony piercing the young morning. It was 5:45 a.m., time to begin our mission. My partner and I joined together for a quick prayer before escaping the four-walled concrete cell of a room that had served as our home for the night. We asked God to be with us and to guide our steps, a simple petition which would become one of our mottos before the trip was over.

We emerged from the guest house under a cloak of darkness. The city streets, bustling with business only 8 hours before, were now eerily quiet. I noted the palpable silence, how an area teeming with activity yesterday had utterly shut down during the night.

As we marched towards the bus station, I started to grasp the implications of this trip. What could it really mean for this people group? Could we (by God's grace) be the ones to plant the initial church this land? Excitement welled up within me; I had never felt so close to apostleship.

Steve, my partner, interrupted my musings with a question.

"Hey," he said, "What's that song you played as we worshipped the other morning?"

In our last worship service together during the planning period, there was an acoustic guitar present at the meeting place. I had played four or five songs while leading worship, so I wasn't sure exactly which song he was talking about.

Noting my confused look, he said, "You know, its something about the universe and God's majesty." He promptly began humming what he remembered of it.

"Oh," I said, "You mean 'God of Wonders'," I said. I obliged him by softly singing the first verse. To the rhythm of our marching, with a song that would become our theme, we broke the still morning air with strains of "Holy, Holy!" Passers-by stared at us with bewildered gazes. We saw smiles begin to creep onto their faces. We, as foreigners, had shaken up their monotony, bringing a tinge of joy at the outset of a day that would soon be steeped in daily duties.

I thought about the concept of brightening their day with our presence, how they stared almost in awe of us, struggling to understand how we could possibly desire to visit their little corner of the earth. I thought about how much we stand out against the crowd, how our white skin and elevated height make us easy to pick out in a group. I prayed that we would not only be noticed for our difference in appearance, but that as ambassadors for the kingdom of God, they would notice that we were banner-bearers for a new kingdom that had come among them.

We had gotten a late start, so we didn't make the 7:00 bus. I was upset because I thought it irresponsible of us to miss the first bus of the entire journey, but Steve, ever-willing to trust the Lord, calmed me down. Soon, we found the bus station and I used my limited language skills to purchase 2 tickets. A few minutes later, these Roadmakers were headed west.

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