Today I leave for our seminary trip to Vietnam and Cambodia (calling it ‘Nambodia). What can I say but I’m really excited. About halfway through my packing, I came to the realization that I was not feeling the usual anxiety. Initially I thought, “I must be maturing and getting used to traveling.” Then it hit me – I didn’t feel the anxiety because I’m not leading a group of 20 teenagers! Ha, ha, I do love our students and mission trips but I did also like the idea of not being in charge.
A quick overview: Each year the graduating class of our seminary goes on an international mission experience (IME Trip). Among its many objectives is to see how the church interacts with the culture. This year we have the unique experience of interacting with university students. Western evangelicals are a rarity in that part of the world; in fact, the percentage of Protestants makes up less than 1 percent of its total population of 80 million people. In addition to interactions with fellow students, we will be taking in numerous sights of Vietnamese and Cambodian culture, touring historic sights in Vietnam, the Killing Fields memorial in Cambodia, and the Angkor Watt Temple.
Though I will miss my family terribly, I am really excited. Like most people, I enjoy traveling and gain so much from the experience. I believe firmly that there are certain lessons that you can only learn once outside your zip code. Most likely, I will enjoy this trip but at the same time, I have been trying to prepare my heart in these specific ways.
First I hope it is humble and broken before God.
Second, this is the last Hoorah! for Cohort 10. It is no exaggeration when I say that I am going to miss these dear friends. It won’t be complete though, we will be missing two of our brothers – KJ & Evan due to extenuating circumstances (like a birth of a new boy!!!).
Third, I want to listen: to the students, to the locals, to my friends as they listen, and to the Lord through whispers and proclamations. There will be moments of beauty, brilliance, disappointment, shock (like when visiting the war museums, have you see the pictures of babies who have been affected by Agent Orange?) and among others – hope.
There’s a couple other hopes and thoughts that I will keep to myself for now. But I imagine that I will do a lot of reflecting on family life (being a husband, a father, son, brother, friend, etc.). Also, I will be reading more NT Wright for my independent study (who better?). Anyway, I am really grateful that Biblical Seminary and the Eastern Mennonite Conference answered the invitation from the Vietnamese Government to interact with a group of their university students and I really grateful to the Vietnamese officials who are welcoming us.
If you don’t mind please keep me and our team and our families in prayer. Grateful for all our support in finances and intercession. Grace and peace.