“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
THE LORD IS NEAR
This letter comes to you from Kiev, Ukraine, where I have just wrapped up the second in-class summer session of my graduate degree in leadership (I started the program last year in Haiti). I had a free day today before flying back to Shanghai tomorrow, so I took the opportunity to head out and explore the city a bit. I admit that I knew almost nothing about Ukraine before arriving, and it has been a nice surprise; this place is full of beauty and history.
One of my stops today was St. Michael’s Cathedral, which was first built in the 12th century and is still a functioning monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As with all orthodox churches, almost every surface of the interior is covered with icons and images of various disciples, angels, apostles and other saints. Behind all of these colorful frescoes and golden icon screens, I couldn’t help but notice a large shadowy figure dimly painted on the inside of the front dome. I assume this was meant to be Jesus, but it was hard to tell for sure.
This got me thinking about my walk with the Lord. At times, his presence in my life has been as clear and bright as St. Michael’s majestic golden domes in the noon-day sun. At times, though, it can feel that he is distant, mysterious, hard to know -- like the shadowy figure painted inside the dome who is hard to see behind all of the noise and clutter and busyness the world produces and which we create for ourselves.
I take comfort and place my hope in the completion of the above quotation from Acts 17:
“Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for:
‘In him we live and move and have our being’”
As you walk with him, I pray that his presence might be more and more clear in your lives, and I ask that you pray for the same for me.
I have been traveling quite a lot these three months: to Chiang Mai, Thailand with colleagues to take part in a CHE (Community Health Evangelism) training session; to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Shenzhen, China to meet with CWEF local staff in those places; here to Kiev for master’s courswork; next week to Kunming, China to take part in the annual summer ‘Training of Trainers’ session for our REACH student development program. It is a busy and exciting time at the moment; we at CWEF are starting a new fiscal year and preparing for a new school year, so plans are now being finalized for all our education and health promotion programs in China and Cambodia. We are also looking forward to an all-staff meeting, which will bring the entire organization together in Hong Kong in August for a time of planning, alignment and relationship-building.
QUICK TRIP TO THE U.S.
Directly following the all-staff meeting in August, I will be heading to the U.S. for a quick three-week trip of reconnecting with some of you. I’m very excited to be able to take part in a special men’s event called Basecamp to be held August 23-24 at Mission Central in Mapleton, IA. It would be great to see some of you men there. Check this web site for more information:bandofbrothersusa.net/basecamp-2013. For the rest of my summer schedule, please checkjoshinasia.com/support. I look forward to seeing some of you very soon. As always, thank you for all of your support!