My work is mainly in the office; I am not on the ground every day eating lunch with students, hanging out with students, and living with students, like all of the other missionaries are. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to witness the work that the Lord is doing on campus, and I was struck by the impact that he is making on students. This semester, our missionaries are leading groups of students in a book study that involves watching a short video on DVD. I lead one of these groups and I had forgotten to take the disc out of my computer before I gave the (now empty) case to Annie, the next missionary leading a group. An hour before her group, Annie called me asking for the DVD. I told her I could be there shortly and bring it to her.
Then, before I could leave to bring her the DVD, I got caught up working on a reply to an email that came in. Pretty soon, 5 minutes before her group started, I was speed-walking across campus to bring her the disc. I was so frustrated with myself that I had gotten distracted and was going to be late to bring it to her. But, the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, and he had something to show me. As I climbed the 5 flights of stairs to Annie’s dorm room, I was getting more and more frustrated with myself. By the time I made it to her door, I was out of breath and wondering why I always had to be running so late.
I knocked. A student opened the door and I was greeted by the sight of five or six college women sitting in a circle eating hot soup. They were talking and laughing. A few were still serving soup in the kitchen. The smell of soup and a welcoming atmosphere wafted out the door. These women, freshman who had recently left the familiar world of family and high school, had found people to connect with. They had formed a community.
I needed to see that. The timing was perfect. If I had come over with the DVD when Annie first called me, I would have come over to an empty apartment, said hi to Annie, and then left. But, God wanted me to see this scene. He needed me to see that the work we are doing is not limited to what I do on my laptop or in a spreadsheet. The time I put into ordering books, training student missionaries, keeping track of the budget so that we can buy materials for our events, and sending countless emails isn’t the reason I do my job. I do my job because the work we are doing is creating community, building relationships, and changing lives. The Lord knows what we need, and when we need it. He knew I needed to be late that day. He had something to show me.