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Monday, January 25, 2010

pared down

Team composition ebbs and flows, like the tide.  Or in this agricultural context, there are rainy seasons of abundant growth and dry seasons of retraction, pruning, burning.  Right now we're kind of cut back to the stump.  This week we also say goodbye to Scott Will, who was here for four months in transition to his "real" appointment to the Sudan team.  He's an amazing missionary, combining genuine enthusiasm for people of all sorts with sincere service and savvy skills.  Another gaping hole will be left in our team, and in the lives of the dozens of young men and kids who hang out at his house, the friends he has made, the staff he assists at the hospital.  And most of all, in OUR lives, as another person moves on.  Barb Ryan did a Birthday skit/game for Scott that involved a stack of hats . . . he needs ones with various former-team labels to whip on and off, because the more people who move through, the more hats he gets left with.  Yesterday,  once again water was not flowing in Nyahuka, and Scott noticed a gushing pipe that had been cut behind the community center where dozens of people were rapidly filling jerry cans, which led to the discovery that some unscrupulous residents had TURNED OFF the valves to the huge tanks that serve the town in order to build the pressure in the line to feed their personal cut-pipe-water-source.  Then he whips off Michael's hat to put on various others, friends of old missionaries, coming in the week before school to ask us to contact their old friends for help with school fees.  Then the church planter hat because our presbytery is in a conflict and both sides want his ear.  And of course the CSB-board-chairman-only-missionary-left hat, dispensing the last piles of Pierce stuff they left in the house to give away, taking Deus to the bank to sort out the new account and signatures, dealing with the electricians, getting the field mowed, answering queries, turning in accounting to the US office.  His REAL hats, medical and team leading, had to take a rest yesterday, but will be pulled back out not doubt today.  

It was Scott who led the team bible study on John 15 this week.  Pruning never feels very pleasant to the plant, I'm sure, and never seems to make sense.  But that's the state we're in right now, as a team, as a family, as a mission--we've had entire branches removed, some to graft elsewhere.  Please pray for an abundance of life to flow in the little bit of us left, and bear fruit.  Please pray we'd stay attached to the vine, and not despair of our limits, rather be faithful conduits. Please pray that all this pruning would make room for new, healthy growth!  

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