I turned towards the man on my left.
“Are you a Vikings fan?” I asked.
“Yeah, dude.” The man replied to my left. A Minnesota lanyard hung around his neck.
“I’m excited for this year. With AP you always have a chance, and Bridgewater shows promise. I hope they give him playing time.”
I nodded slowly and glanced up the aisle into the cockpit. Although I am sitting in the back of the plane, fifteen feet ahead, past the six other passengers, I could see the two pilots and the jungle of knobs, buttons, and lights spread out in front of them. The co-pilot reached up to the ceiling and flipped a switch.
Smiling at the man next to me I glanced looked out the window to my left. Below me stretched the expanse of Wahweap Bay, its waters shining blue in the morning sun. The multitude of buttes dotted the landscape like gumdrops, and the convoluted shoreline finally looked like the maps that are tucked away in my backpack. With deceptive slowness, the small plane circled back on itself, crossing Wahweap Bay and following the curving line of the Colorado River. Behind, Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell faded into the distance. Thus ended our ministry at Lake Powell, although the work will continue for years to come.
While in Glen Canyon I experienced a baffling blend of both success and failures. I also learned—or am starting to learn--some important lessons. Here are the three biggest ones.
1. Ministry doesn’t always change people overnight. This applies to both the people doing ministry and those being ministered to. I don’t know why, but I expected myself to be automatically changed into a new person overnight. I expected to go from a somewhat insecure college student to an unabashed missionary. This happened to some extent, but not overnight and not in the ways I expected. Similarly, some of the people I expected to be interested in Christianity were not, while some of the most unlikely candidates were.
2. Both effort and excellence are worthy goals. When I started my job at the front desk, my work was far from excellent, because I still had a lot to earn. The only thing I could offer God was my effort. This was a hard thing to accept, because I wanted to be good at my job right away. This was not possible. However, by the end of the season, it was rewarding to be able to offer both effort and excellence to God.
3. God works through the encouragement and admonition of other people. It is far too easy to let responsibilities slide when no one is watching. On a personal level, I stayed in touch with friends and family from home, but they don’t really know the situation and don’t see us at work. If I end up serving with ACMNP next summer, one of the first things I am going to do is get to know my ministry support committee and then set some goals. If I start slipping in those goals, then I want them to tell me.
Lastly, and this isn’t one of the three because it is so important, God is faithful. He didn’t failed me at Lake Powell and he won’t fail me in the future. To God be the glory.