Jul 31, 2013

The Power of Vulnerability

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Sixteen days ago, I found myself sitting in the dining hall of a picturesque  hotel in Quito, Ecuador.  The following night, over 100 teenagers from Texas to Toronto to Trinidad would be flying into the city, ready and anxious to begin their mission trip experience. And there I was, a brand new staff member just learning the ropes of what it meant to be a part of this group called Ultimate Workout. Throughout our staff orientation, we were repeatedly told and asked to recite the three goals of ultimate workout: to create a spiritually transforming experience for the participants, to construct quality buildings, and to supplement the local outreach programs. "All are important, but the primary goal is first and foremost that the participants have a spiritually transforming experience." I sat and listened to this as the pastor of one of the five sites, Antigua. I was responsible for making sure the Antigua participants had a spiritually transforming experience on this trip? How on earth was this going to happen?

I felt vulnerable.

Then suddenly we were a group of 32, the Antigua family, making our home in a cramped school tucked in downtown Ambato, sharing tents with strangers who were destined to turn into lifelong friends. Then it was time for the first evening worship, my first major responsibility. I was excited for and felt capable in interacting with the participants on a one-on-one basis. I love teens and I love hearing their hearts! But as I stood up to lead out in our first ice-breaker game, all I could hear was spiritually transforming experience, and I knew that I couldn't deliver. 

I felt vulnerable.

My prayer journal throughout the entire trip goes something like this for each day: "Ok God, I have no idea what I'm doing here. I can't do this without You. There's no way this is going to work without You being the one in charge. Please, please show up. Show up in a way that only You can do. I need You. We need You."


And He showed up. Incredible things started happening. Hearts started to open. Our family began to share with one another who we were and from where we had come, our joys and our pains. And we found solidarity, knowing we weren't alone in what we had experienced. We were united and we learned and healed and grew from one another.

Through being vulnerable.

It seems that it is rarely in our strengths that we experience the most transformation. Rather, it is when we are weak, when we allow our frailness to be revealed, to be touched--therein do we find the glory of God in big ways. Therein do we find restoration.  And so I do believe it was a spiritually transforming experience, not just for the participants, but for me as well.

Because God met us in our vulnerability. And it was powerful.
My Antigua Family

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