Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
TITLE: Journaling for Jesus
By Robyn Burke
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The first day of work on the project, I sit under a shady tree, getting my bearings. A Roma (also known as Gypsy) woman, with her baby, interrupts my solitude. Despite a language barrier we connect as we exchange smiles and hand gestures. She takes me to see a litter of pigs in a field near the sports hall. As she manages to communicate to me that these pigs are hers, I scrutinize the proud expression on her face. I understand then the hope this offers her in a life of otherwise very daunting existence and it humbles me. My team mates comment that while they strive to make inroads with the natives through their labor, I have been given a gift by connecting on the heart level. I anticipate writing about this later.
As the days go by and we endeavor together in this foreign land, personalities shine and titles emerge for each team member. Bruce is the Teacher, Don, the Spokesperson in the group. Audrey, her guitar never too far away, is our Musician and Si is soon recognized as the Confidant. Mike constantly proves his label of Protector. Kate is gifted with words of knowledge or Prophecy and Wendi is our Faith Warrior. My title is Journalist and this pleases me.
Occasionally I watch from the sidelines feeling a moment of disconnect. The sweat, blood and tears that the team is giving to the mission unites them with a strong bond and I feel left out. Taking a break from my writing, I join them one afternoon, to catch the tail end of an ice cream party. The laughter and camaraderie in the group is obvious. A small wave of uncertainty tugs at my confidence for a brief moment. I remind myself of the role I play and that it too has value. Sometimes a writers life is lonely.
Each day I divide my time between reflection, prayer, photography and writing. I wander around the sports center observing action and progress. I perceive the joys and sorrows, frustrations and successes. Stories unfold before my eyes. In the evenings, over dinner, I listen to the conversations around me, my fingers subconsciously typing out narratives in my head. I blog daily, sharing our days adventure with our readers, the prayer warriors back home. My team mates and readers applaud me for capturing the scenes of the day so vividly with my words. I modestly accept their praises.
I can be quite outgoing but at my core I am all introvert. I love to tell a story but it sounds better on paper. I love to joke and laugh and entertain but would gladly hole up alone and continue to write. As a result, my team mates may not get to know me as deeply. Unless they read my daily blogs, they may think I am aloof and disengaged but in truth I am so emotionally connected that I am exhausted by days end.
On the last day of our mission trip, we take an R&R day and tour the ruins in Philippi, Greece. As we stand in the remains of the ancient amphitheater, and read aloud from the book of Philippians, I weep uncontrollably. The reality of what our faith can cost us has hit in a way as never before.
Later we visit the waters of Lydia's baptism. So moved am I by the events of the day that I ask to be re-baptized. With my husband on one side of me, Kate addresses the call on my life to reach the world for Jesus, through my writing. They gently usher me under the water.
As I come back up I am too choked with emotions to speak. But I know that later, the words will come. On paper, they will come.
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