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Reaching New Heights

August 7, 2012 | Kam Schaefer

Much has taken place since my last post.  My sister came to visit, which was extremely refreshing for me personally.  It was great to have a piece of home here for a few days, especially at that time of the summer when homesickness begins to settle in.  This seems to be the time of summer for a taste of home for many of us on the team.  Several members have flown home briefly for weddings and several others have also had visitors from home.  The familiar and comforting sense of home can provide a great boost in morale that is necessary for getting through the hard times. 

Perhaps this is a glimpse of how beautiful our eternal home will be?
This idea of home gets me thinking about what the Bible says about our earthly home and how the Israelites are a great example of God’s concept of “home”.  1 Peter, chapter two, explains how we are a chosen people that are to live here on earth as aliens and strangers.  Jesus repeatedly explained that His kingdom was not of this world and living contrary to the world’s standards was a central theme of the gospel.  This is evident in the Old Testament accounts of the Israelite nation, a chosen nation set apart from the rest through their lifestyle.  Initially, the Israelites were different because they had no earthly king, like the rest of the nations.  Practices like Jubilee and Levitical law were in place to keep Israel holy, reminding them that this earth was not their home.  We need to maintain this perspective (that this earth is not our home) in our everyday lives.

I’ve been reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw.  The book deals extensively with these ideas of living as strangers, or aliens, on the earth.  It discusses how we, as Christians, should live so that those around us will know immediately that something is different about us.  These authors radically live out the gospel and encourage readers to get radical too.  Their message most basically translates down to loving all and maintaining allegiance to Christ’s kingdom alone.  Personally, this reminds me of John 13:34-35 where Jesus encourages his disciples to love one another as He loved them and as a result, the world would see that they were indeed his disciples by their love. 

Some of our team climbing together.
Our team here in Yosemite is really living out this command to love.  In the past few weeks, our team has grown closer and solidified relationships that will last past this summer.  Team unity has reached a new high and it is exciting.  We have begun to spend more time together as a team and focus on discipleship and relationship building.  As a consequence, this love is now overflowing and beginning to permeate the communities we live in.  Many of us are experiencing new opportunities to discuss our faith with those around us.  Some of the girls on our team have even seen visitors coming back to their tent every evening to discuss the gospel.

In addition to these stories of Christ’s love catching fire, our team has finally been able to organize and carry out services in multiple locations throughout the park.  It is difficult because each location outside the valley is about an hour drive and work schedules are not always helpful, but we are overcoming these obstacles.  It seems the best things happen when we put less emphasis on trying our best to meet expectations and instead focus on Christ, allowing love to saturate our lives.  When Christ becomes our passion, everything else falls into place beautifully.  It has been a refreshing few weeks and our team is looking forward to finishing out the last few weeks of this summer with newfound vigor and excitement.

Until next time,

Kam

"It was a great challenge and stretching experience to learn how to lead and equip others for ministry, not being over-controlling or non-present. In the seminary context, I hope to talk through some of these learning and challenging experiences with my professors."
– Jonathan, Calvin Theological Seminary 2011

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