Since the summer break is ending in about a week I’ve spent a few days evaluating my summer ministry opportunities (what went well, what didn’t) and refocusing on what needs to be done before some of Tabernacles ministries begin again.
Most of the changes that come from this time of evaluation aren’t very surprising
- I need to work on a more organized teaching style instead of reading quick Bible-stories like the summer
- I must begin launching new ministries and trust God to bring the people instead of trying to get everything perfect right away
- I need to start working from home again instead of the Church (this allows ministry to happen, but strong Bible teaching requires privacy and intense study)
- And I need to return to curtain
That last one is what gets me and its probably going to be the most difficult
Curtain is a small community just over the hill from Barrouallie (its not spelled that way, but I pronounce the area as “curtain.” And my goal in the next few weeks isn’t to literally go there, but return to my lifestyle while there.
The Lord allowed me to spend three-weeks in Curtain after arriving in Barrouallie on April 9th as a full-time missionary. Since then I’ve moved into a rental property in town, but part of me honestly misses Curtain and the closeness I had with God there.
What was the biggest difference between Curtain and Barrouallie? It’s very simple…there was no internet there.
Now I’m not the kind of person who needs internet 24-hours a day, but being in Curtain produced frustration because almost every form of relaxation I enjoy uses some form of internet! This frustration lasted a few days until reading (both the Bible, Christian books, and classics) became my source of relaxation instead of internet streaming. In a blog post written on May 2nd I shared how turning to books instead of the internet affected my life.
At first I read those books because to quite honest there wasn’t much else to do for entertainment, however soon I continued reading them (and others) because of the way that they touched me emotionally. Over the last few weeks I’ve sat weeping on my porch more than once, and laughed hysterically quite a few times because of the treasures in those stories.
it was interesting to me that reading not only brought spiritual growth but emotional strength and development of healthy habits. In early in May I moved into a rental in Barroallie with very fast internet determined to continue investing my free times with books; but as you can imagine things like Netflix, watchespn, and Amazon made that very difficult.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with these things of course, but its easy to sort of “zone out” and become mindless one they come on (just consuming and not really thinking). So spend enough nights crashed in front of the tv (or laptop) instead of a good book and the growth (both spiritual and emotional) slows down or is non-existent. And the scary thing is we honestly don’t realize the growth has stopped.
Over the weekend the Lord convicted me about using internet (and streaming services specifically) as a crutch or response when things didn’t go my way and challenged my heart to return to the lifestyle of Curtain. It wasn’t necessarily easy to reach church-growth books instead of watching NCIS but in the long-run this is what brings more glory to God.