For my article this week I wanted to share an open letter written by Brettin White, a recent graduate from the 2007 class. She has a great insight into how we can get stuck and presents a striking parallel from the Apostle’s experience. For those who graduated a while ago, a “Hello from Lubbock” email is a periodic correspondence that Kris Smith has been sending out that informs people about the ongoing progress of the AIM classes. I’m sure he would send it to you if you ask him.
- Jason Thornton
A “Brown-bag” for Ex-AIMers
Disclaimer: I am certain that these are all things that we already know; however, these are things that have struck me recently, and I felt the need to share.
I read the most recent “Hello from Lubbock” email the other day and was excited to hear news about the ’09 class heading out to their various fields. It was strange to hear reminders for the ’08 class winding up their field times, some much sooner than later. But the strangest of all was that the ’07 class wasn’t addressed. Another reminder, Oh yeah, I’m done.
And there was a line Kris wrote that stood out to me: “For those about to go [to the field], you have heard us say this before, the best part is ahead of you and it will be what you make of it. So dive in with all you’ve got.”
I believe this statement wholeheartedly, but I also believe this: we should ALWAYS apply this statement to our lives. The best part is always ahead, never behind. I might even say directly ahead, so maybe we should be saying these things to the ’10 class about Lubbock too. We dive in to our present, our today, with all we’ve got, not because it’s our “field time” but because it’s our life, and it is “all we’ve got.” I think we can sometimes read statements like this and let them bring us down, let lies creep in that our “glory days” have come and gone.
And that’s just as silly as those middle-aged fat men on sitcoms who talk about their “glory days” in high school. I mean, I want to say, really? The best of your life was your adolescence? You have so much more to live! You weren’t even totally mature yet, and that was your peak? But we’re doing the same thing spiritually if we have any thoughts like that about our field time, or really any time we could point at and say, “It all goes downhill from here.”
I was reading Acts the other day, and I love it when Jesus ascends into heaven, and an angel has to come and say, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” That’s such a silly situation to imagine – who knows how long they were standing there before a messenger of God came to ask them, why? He goes on to say, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” I love that phrase, “this same Jesus.”
I was talking to my teammate Toby the other day about how I’ve missed talking to my really good friends in Mexico City on Skype recently. Then I remembered how when I first came home from Mexico, I was basically glued to my laptop at all times, waiting to talk to Miguel or Rocío or Grecia, looking at pictures from Mexico on facebook, and how that must have looked to my parents while we were playing games or to my friends staying over at my house. My mom even said to me once, “I understand. You’re just not really here yet.” And I’m not saying that’s wrong necessarily, everyone struggles with that, but I think God’s been nudging me the past couple of months, asking me “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” Jesus is the same Jesus whether I’m in Mexico, Oklahoma, California, Japan, wherever. So even though I’ve missed seeing my friends online lately, I think it’s been good for me to remember, oh yeah, the best is still ahead of me, and Jesus is still faithful.
I’d like to ask that we pray for the current AIM classes, and the one that’s currently forming, but please don’t forget to pray for each other too, the graduated ones, however long ago that may have been. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23). Let’s ask God to “establish the works of our hands” (Ps. 90:17) and that we would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and live lives that are pleasing to him (Col. 1).
Shout outs: To everyone: Thanks for reading. I love you! :)
- Brettin White