I had a great visit to Lithuania and Romania, but was really looking forward to being home when I ran into a little volcanic ash. Upon arrival at London's Heathrow airport, I was told that all flights after 11:30 Thursday were canceled. So, I am grounded ... until further notice! Flexibility is vital in missions. The unexpected happens, more often than not. Serving God in the mission of the church requires a readiness to adapt to the roadblocks and the opportunities that unexpectedly arise.
Returning to the two Eastern European countries where our family lived and where I taught for the first time in seven years was remarkable in many ways. In both countries, and even in Ukraine, I encountered former students. They spoke warmly of their memories of our time together. The Lord is using them in many places and types of ministry. One of them spoke of having kept all the materials of the courses I taught her. I suspect that she remembers things about those courses that I have forgotten. I pray that I taught well, or that she remembers only the best. Another former student is married to a pastor whose church has just initiated youth services. I got to attend the first one with her. I was amazed and blessed to see the many who came and sang a new song to the Lord in a congregation otherwise strongly connected to a 500 year old tradition.
The business reason for being in Romania was to preview, and in Ukraine to help teach, Timothy Leadership Training (TLT) materials to pastors and other church leaders. It is a remarkable set of materials using an inductive method of teaching and action planning/accountability method to provide practical training for ministry. These interactions deepened my conviction that TLT can provide important service in a variety of settings around the world. It just has to be adapted to the particular setting, and the methodology lends itself very well to that adaptation.
I am currently scheduled to fly on Sunday morning, assuming the ash clears by then. If not, I'm sure the Lord will have a way of using me, even here.