This past week our base ran a conference called the Mission Live Conference here in Nürnberg. The focus of the conference was to call people into missions. Ignite a passion for the poor and lost and to then send people out into the ends of the earth to be the hands and feet of Jesus. So basically The Commission packed into 4 days of speakers, worship, prayer and art : )
Uli and I were asked to jump in and be part of running the conference. Anywhere from hospitality and organization for speakers, illustration and graphic design for the brochure, running the booths and our favorite: playing a concert. It was such a privilege to be part of this. I’m not always a conference person if I’m honest. I have trouble sitting still and listening to someone speak for more then an hour, and so having non stopping speaking and concentration for 4 days I thought was going to be a challenge…. however it rocked. The speakers were incredible. My focus was glued on them and all that was happening and it was such a successful time. Really down to earth people sharing their experiences of being on the mission field for the last 30- 60 years.
We had Terry Snow who’s pioneered the base in Hati for over a decade and radically changed the nation. George Verwer who started OM. Edwin Fillies bringing his South African spirit and passion to Germany. Dan Baumann reminding us that missions starts with intimacy with God and that it’s just about hanging out with Jesus. Bruce Olson, my new hero, who has spent the past 55 years in the native tribes of Colombia bringing an entire people group to know the Lord. And Walter Heidenreich, an incredible German man who seems to be calling this nation back to presence of the Lord year after year.
What an honor it was to hang out with these men. I think Uli and I had the coolest job because we had the privilege of getting to know these guys more personally. Drinking coffee with them, hearing their hearts for the nations God has sent them to and really learning from them in their humility and passion. I think my favorite moment was sitting with the famous Bruce Olson in Starbucks listening to him talk about the work he's doing in Colombia while devouring a venti white chocolate mocha and a chocolate, chocolate chip cake... someones been living in the tribes for 55 years... I think I put him into a sugar comma ;)
The conference itself was great. Great church. Great speakers. Great worship. Great Booths. Just GREAT. We had a few hundred people there and the response for missions and really going out was powerful. I was pretty excited about the “alter call” we had one night. To be honest, I’m not allows a fan of alter calls (but I’ll keep my opinions on why to myself on that one for now) But this one felt a bit different. This call was a call for people to lay down everything and make a defining decision to saying “yes" to going out onto the mission field. The call was serious. And I believe people responded seriously. I know this because not everyone got out of their seats and went forward. There was hesitation. Fear, mixed with freedom and peoples faces (which you only understand what I mean by that oxymoron when you say yes to the mission field lol) And postures of humility and passion kneeling down on that cold cement floor. It was beautiful. It was powerful and I am believing with all my heart that everyone who came forward and said yes, will in 10 years have crazy stories about their times in Afghanistan, China, Egypt and thousands of others places Jesus sends them to: Amen!
I remember 7 years ago at my first mission live conference. I was 20 years old sitting in the back of the room enthralled by the calling the speakers were asking of me and my life. “Will you go? Will you lay it all down and go wherever the Lord is sending you?” I remember praying the scariest yet most freeing prayer I’ve ever prayed “yes. Send me.” I believe with all my heart that God had dreams and plans for my life and that at that moment all I had to do was reach out and grab them. I believed that though I was not equipped, He would equip me as a walked in obedience & faith. Who knew that after 7 years on this journey with God. To over 30 countries, hundreds of people groups and cultures and thousands of people around the world, God would call me to the original city the conference 7 years ago was held: Nürnberg. This weekend my heart for this city grew. My heart for the nations grew. My heart for Jesus grew. WEeeEEeee.
One of the best parts of the conference was being able to play a concert. It’s been far to long since we’ve played a show with a full band. Been such a hard year for music, so when we were invited to play we jumped at the opportunity. We pulled together our band over the past two months in preparation for this. Got everything together. And then the best thing in the world happened: Uli and I got sick the week of the conference. Bad sick. We could barely walk or talk. The morning of the day we were scheduled to play the show I woke up feeling terrible and didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. As I laid there thinking about the irony of how we haven’t played a show in months and I haven’t been sick in months until now I realized something very interesting to me.
I started thinking back on this year. And how it’s been one of the hardest years for brake through and actually seeing things that I’m fighting for happening. And as I was laying there, sick, thinking I’d have to cancel my show that I’d been preparing for, for months, I realized I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t mad at God for “letting" me get sick, or mad at myself for not being able to pull through. In fact I found myself telling the lord that “if you want me to play, you’ll heal me. If you don’t, you won’t. And you know, it’s about you, not me, so whatever you want, I’m ok with.” I honestly don’t think a hear ago I would have been ok with this situation. I think I would have been yelling at God, shaking my fist to the sky and crying. Making the whole thing about me. me. me
Sure I was disappointed that we would let people down or that if we played we would sound terrible. But I realized that something very strongly had changed my mindset about the show: if I don’t play, it’s ok. God is still good. I am still me. It’s ok. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in serving God that we forget to simply be present with Him, forgoing our right to do anything but simply be. The conference was a great reminder of how mission work first starts with intimacy with God. And out of the intimacy we are inspired, not obligated, to go out and share that intimacy and love with others. I wanted to play so bad. I wanted to serve God with my music and serve others. But if it didn’t happen, then that to was ok, because at the end of the day, it’s about jesus. not me.
Well. 1 hour before the show I got a gust of wind and felt God releasing me to play. So Uli and I stepped out in faith that the pain in our chests and throats would subside and we would be able to sing. And as I walked up on stage and opened my mouth to sing, I felt completely full, healthy and powerful. It was incredible. We had a lot of fun on stage with Jesus. I paid little attention to crowed and just sang like it was the two of us in my living room. It was a blast. I loved looking over at Ruth, Uli, Michi and Thomas during the show knowing that they were feeling the same thing.
After the show we had many people coming to us and telling us how God spoke to them and moved them during the set. We had a few students from the DTS’s come and tell us that they actually came to DTS because of concerts we had played in the past. Shows that I remember thinking we sucked at and that no one would ever be moved or touched out of rubbish like that. Wowzers was I humbled. Again: about jesus, not me. And yeah. I realized more and more: that’s my mission field. The ends of the earth. With my guitar and jesus. (wow, that was cheesy, but whatever.)
Thank you to everyone who participated in this conference. For those who flew around the world to simply remind us to not complicated missions, but to just go. love. celebrate the lord with others and be free. For those who said yes to going. May your lives be forever changed. Forever wild. And forever powerful. And for those who have supported these missionaries, including us, in going. You are champions upon champions.
And a special thanks to Jan Schlegel. Who knew, yet again what our community and nation needed. For running this conference. For calling me and so many others into missions. For sitting with me 7 years ago in the back of the conference and inviting me into a world of adventure. And for always being willing to say yes to the Lord, no matter the cost…. now go on outreach and take pictures!