The summer of 1998 i had the opportunity to be part of Short Term missions team to Liverpool Chinese Gospel Church. I was called in as a last minute substitute team leader, and found myself thrust into a leading and organising a team of people from different parts of the world.
That missions trips was the second short term team I was on, and the first one i had a chance to lead. And it was amazing, because for the few weeks we were together, we developed fantastic team bonds, and friendships that were more than skin deep.
But like all short-term missions, they happen for only a short amount of time. In this case, 3 weeks. And at the end of the 3 weeks, it dawned on me, that even with the best of intentions, it would be difficult to keep in touch with these friends once the mission ended. And even if facebook and twitter existed back then, the very nature of the friendship would change.
I remember lamenting to one of my team members at the time, and they said – I pray that we will have a chance to have our paths cross again, and possibly serve the Lord together on this earth. But even if we don’t, I am not the same person I would have been because of the time we spent together as friends. The time spent together has shaped each of us in such a way, that a part of you will be with me forever.
It’s funny, because when i think of friendships, and lasting friendships, i imagine a continuing presence, or constant communication. But in the same way, i realise that the impact any friend makes in our life, shapes and changes us in such a way that we will never be the same again. There will always be part of those friendships that have made me who I am today.
I’ve been really blessed to meet and serve along side hundreds of people in my life so far, and i just give God so much praise and thanks to have given me the chance to be shaped and molded by the variety of individuals over the years. How exciting it is to wonder about the new friends and experiences to be shared in the future.
This was the second in a random series. (can a series be random?) You can find the message as well as the worship at the BCEC Sermon Page or listen to the sermon directly – Good Friends, Bad Friends, Some thoughts on Jesus & Friendship.