There are moments in life that make you proud: when your daughter takes her first steps. When your best friend gets hired right out of college to the job he’s been dreaming of for the past four years. When your sister gets married. When M. Night Shyamalan finally realizes he should stop writing his own scripts. You know — moments like those.
One of those moments came for me this past Tuesday. As most of you know, every other Tuesday we hold a large group Gathering. We play games, we sing worship songs, we show videos, we talk about Jesus, and we cap it off with some tea and cookies. The Gatherings have always been completely planned (or at least heavily overseen) by foreigners–me and my teammates. But not this past week. No, this past week, we gave complete control to our Leadership Team. We showed up last Tuesday more or less like everyone else, excited and unsure of what exactly was going to happen.
It’s not all that different from when a parent takes the training wheels off his son’s bike for the first time, or gives the keys to her sixteen-year-old. You’re excited and scared at the same time. You wonder:
What if they fall?
What if they crash?
But, more importantly,
What if they succeed?
This generation turns away from Christ, not because they feel that they’re being challenged too much, but because they’re not being challenged enough. And Jesus isn’t going to come back and scold us for being too presumptuous in our faith, but rather, too faithless. In light of that, we challenged our Leadership team, not knowing if they would fail or succeed. We put our faith in them, even though it was difficult. Did they let us down?
Not at all! They did an amazing job, and it gives me great hope for the future of these students as they reach out to the Muslims and apathetic young people around them. Not only did they not fail, but they did just as good a job as we could have — and local students got to see that it’s not just Westerners who trust in Jesus, but even their peers.
Please continue to pray for the upcoming Gatherings as we continue to give the local leadership more opportunities to lead, and pray that His Kingdom continues to come here in Central Asia.
I couldn’t ask for a better leadership team than this, and I couldn’t be more proud.