Sometimes there are people who just seem to interrupt things. Sometimes, people aren't an interruption at all, they're the main event! Living and ministering in other cultures teaches a person (if they're paying attention!) that relationships are more important than time and tasks. This is an important thing to learn for anyone visiting, working, or serving outside the US. We Americans often struggle with that.
Relationships should always have priority in life. After all, what else compares in value?
An interrupted schedule
This week my normal schedule of posting is interrupted with an important event—a reunion and celebration of 23+ years of ministry in the Philippines, at Rainbow Village Ministries (RVM).
So, I will try to resume my usual schedule of devotional studies after the reunion-celebration.
This week we have visitors from Australia, the US, and Mexico joining us for our reunion and celebration. They include families who have adopted children from Rainbow Village, some of the adopted children, and some of our missionary staff. We also have at least one Filipino adoptive family joining us too!
We are all part of one extended family here at Rainbow Village. Our Filipino staff and friends are part of the reunion and celebration, since we served alongside one another in this ministry.
Two families served with us as missionary staff and became adoptive parents, one from Australia and the other serving in Mexico as missionaries. One of our "Rainbow kids" came by himself, after visiting with family last year. Another adopted child came with his family, which includes his older sister who served with us for a few months also.
Relationships—the fabric of life and ministry
It's been great catching up with one another! In some ways, it's as if we haven't been apart at all, though it's been several years. The bonds of relationship we've enjoyed over many years are strong. As we learned early on in our lives here, relationships are everything.
Years ago I drafted a list of leadership maxims to pass on to my students and staff at our Bible College. The first one says— People are more important than the “work.” People are “the work”– people are “the ministry.”
I learned this simple priority while pastoring in the US during the late 70's and throughout the 80's, but it became more essential when I moved to the Philippines in 1990. It is easy to get caught up in the work of the ministry and neglect people in the process.
My Filipino staff at the school reminded me of this many mornings, as I rushed in with several things (tasks) on my mind. As I started to rattle off my priorities for the day, I would hear their lilting, almost song-like greeting, "Good morning Ptr Trip!" Then I would stop and return the greeting.
In a gentle way, they reminded me what the real priority was.
We have looked forward to this time of greeting one another, eating together, rejoicing together, and remembering God's goodness and kindness to this ministry over the years.
We are thankful—for each other, and for the blessing of serving together at RVM.
I'll catch up with things on Word-Strong when I can, until then, I'm busy with people!