Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Have You Ever Just Lost It?



[To read previous stories in the Embarrassing Leadership Story Series go to On Cookie Tins & Under Garments , ZiiiP! and I Really Should Have Grabbed His Tie.]

You can see me smiling in the photo montage above, (that's me in the super short hair and dark glasses) but my embarrassing leadership story for today is about what happened when my smile could no longer hide the terror I was experiencing inside. 

One of the perks of running our ministry school had to be the amazing mission trips we took the students on each year. But China was not on my bucket list. I agreed to go because I was determined not to allow fear to make my decisions. 

We were delivering some much needed ministry supplies to the secret believers in the country and this James Bond-like scenario cannot even be detailed for you here. But I will say that it involved overseeing 21 people as we flew in, then spent 30 hours on a train that was wall-to-wall, triple-bunk-beds close enough to touch across the aisle. The train was filled with smokers and more people than space, and never ending music from the speakers. I recall sleeping a bit and opening my eyes to look right into the eyes of a chinese man on the bed across from me.

We took subways, taxi's, buses, vans and trains, then had to walk quickly and discreetly (yeah right, we were more like a white-skinned parade!) through a myriad of dark, dank ally ways and into the unlit hallways of a building to make our delivery. Doors opened a crack and quickly closed as we passed apartments. I was humbled at the welcome we received with our supplies. 

If anyone recognizes the "squatty-potty" in the photo above then I know you are a world traveler. The talent required to use that was the least of my fears. I hate big cities and have a fear of getting lost. Our group traversed these large cities around and over and under in so many directions that if any of us had become separated from the group it would have been a disaster because we could not speak the language and did not even know the name of the ministry we were working with. I recall sitting in the back of a speeding taxi holding hands tightly with a student and good friend, Tiffany as we were pushed from one side of the back seat to the other while the driver careened through the crowded streets. All we could do was trust that he was taking us where we were supposed to go.

It is dear Tiff's big eyes that I remember when I totally lost it in China. I had just been yelled at by someone after barely making it on a train, fighting my way through the crowd with my important luggage. Hundreds of people had to funnel through one regular size door and up an escalator. Everyone was pushing and fighting to get through. It was a nightmare! 

But we all arrived in the right place and as I made my way to a seat, I suddenly could not smile anymore. I lost it. I sobbed and shook and simply lost it. Right there in a train dining car in front of all of our students and other leaders. Poor Joey looked and stammered, "Are you ok?" and I could not speak. Then I looked across the aisle at Tiff and her eyes were huge and questioning. I mouthed the words, "I'm sorry" and her eyes filled and we were both crying. I had to get myself together and not look at her for the rest of the ride. 

This particular embarrassing story is still not funny to me, as you can tell. I wish I had been stronger, but I've accepted that not everyone is built for crazy adventures of this kind. My students forgave me and loved me anyway. A few weeks later when a visiting guest speaker at our school prayed over me, she said something about how God is going to use me mightily in Asian countries. I kept my eyes closed, but I am sure she wondered why there was so much laughter in the class as she pronounced those words. :)

Pin It
   

13 comments:

  1. I am amazed at your ability to do all that you did...God obviously did it through you and with you and for you. What a treasure trove of memories for you and those who went with you...and for those with whom you came in contact on this trip...they will NEVER forget you...for all the RIGHT reasons!!! Love this story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Pam. I'm kind of amazed too when I actually look back and write about my life in ministry, and just life. I have avoided some parts due to the bad feelings they bring up and this is one of them. But it feels good to step back and see it from a diff angle. Thanks for reading Pam!

      Delete
  2. You are courageously braving the tides of your life with honesty and style. Life is a constant trip with new missions/adventures. You put your words on your beloved Mac and send those pieces of yourself into the international land of the internet. Again and again. Even at the hardest times, you come back to your personal passions and hope. Love you, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Joyce, you are my greatest cheerleader! You always see me in such a positive light that it is not even recognizable to me! Thank you for being my friend for so very long! Ha! Only about 22 years now! I love you!

      Delete
  3. I wanna go to China! I do not want to squat in a squatty potty. blech.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of our students hated it and others, myself included figured it out and it was not so awful. As you can tell, I would not return to China if given the chance, but I'd love to hear your stories should you ever get the opportunity!

      Delete
  4. Oh the memories of that trip!! So Many more details to that day! I enjoyed reading that. You are super courageous and grew so much from that trip. To this day that has been my favorite missions trip ever! It was crazy totally James bond crazy! Glad you were there!! I can so remember that train ride and without uttering a word about it deciding not to look at one another! Ha. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I'm so glad it holds positive memories for you. Yes, many details to that day and the ones before and after it. Crazy stuff. I love you girl. <3

      Delete
  5. You wrote, "I've accepted that not everyone is built for crazy adventures of this kind." THANK YOU!!! I needed to hear that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a fine line between allowing our fear to stop us from new experiences, and recognizing how we are each made and what we can handle. It is not easy to figure out!

      Delete
  6. You are far more courageous than you give yourself credit for...I probably would have lost it on the plane ride there. My biggest fear in becoming a Christian was that God was going to ask me to become a missionary and serve in a foreign country where the bugs were really big, the weather really hot, and the food really gross to my unadventureous tastebuds. Thankfully he has called me to local outreach, which, while it pushes me out of my comfort zone is still within the confines of the relatively "small bugged" East Coast! I think you are right about recognizing about how we are made, what we can handle, and therefore how we will be most effective. But kudos to you for allowing him to use you :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the image of the class laughing at you going to Asia. :-) These are great stories!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Susie: You were courageous in allowing yourself to go to China. While I like to travel, I have only been out of the US two times in my life. My parents and I were in Detroit, Michigan when I was in about the sixth grade. My mom and I went on a side trip to Windsor,Ontario, Canada. Spent a few hours there. On our 25th anniversary, Hubby and I took a cruise to the Bahamas. Had an opportunity to go on a missions trip that wound up being a trip to Costa Rica, but the first destination was to be Haiti. Hubby said no, because of the unrest. I don't think I could go now because of the required shots- I don't like needles- and the possibility of getting "Montezuma's Revenge-not my friend." Again, YOU WERE COURAGEOUS.

    ReplyDelete

All comments are good comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...