This week was great. Especially talking to family makes for a great weekend. I love and miss you all. I have an incredible, incredible family.
Miracle! Deba has been struggling to quit smoking... and this past week he got sick with a bad fever, and hasn't worked in a while (also hasn't met with us in a while). I called him yesterday and asked him how he was, and he said he still was very sick. I asked how his smoking was going, and said that he has totally stopped since he got the fever. YEAH!!! This is a gift from God! If God's way of helping him stop smoking is getting him sick and withdrawing him from it that way, also can! I am fine with that :) This is a springboard opportunity for him to continue progressing. I was super excited.
To be honest, I don't have many updates/things I didn't already talk about on the phone... tomorrow I am halfway through my mission. What a strange thought. So much has happened, and so much is still coming. It feels fast at first, but it also feels like an eternity when I think of all I've experienced here. I'm really grateful that God sent me here. There's nowhere I'd rather be.
Here is something I read yesterday, that has been on my mind.
"'Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ' (Gal. 6:2). The law of Christ, which it is our duty to fulfill, is the bearing of the cross. My brother's burden which I must bear is not only his outward situation, . . . but quite literally his sin. And the only way to bear that sin is by forgiving it. . . . Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which it is the Christian's duty to bear."
This struck me for a few reasons. I felt like this is really relevant to me, because as a missionary, I'm quite aware of, or sensitive to, sin. At the same time, I am required to carry a lot of love in my heart and to act on that love. I am required to carry a lot of burdens, and a lot of those burdens come from sin - perhaps most of them. I am learning again how to forgive. Usually it's not because someone did something directly TO me (it usually has nothing to do with me personally), but that someone inflicted themselves by doing something wrong and therefore, I am hurt. The natural response is to withdraw. But as a missionary (and also in your role of friend or family member), that cannot be. We can't withdraw whenever someone does wrong, because often when someone does wrong that's when they most need love. People change, repent, usually to follow feelings of love. And for me the only way I can give that is if I forgive them -- God will forgive whom he will forgive, but I personally need to forgive everyone. That is the way to bear others' burdens when that burden is sin. This is the Christian way. It is not easy, but it is required, and a very healing thing. It's healing not only for the recipient of the forgiveness, but especially for the one forgiving. When I forgive someone, the poison inside of me is lost and replaced with soothing peace and strength. I'm a big fan. Maybe we all find someone in need of our forgiveness, and follow Christ by forgiving that person.