It never ceases to amaze me how a simple concept is repeatedly affirmed in my life – the more I focus on others, the more God reveals Himself to me.
On Thursday morning we decided to hold our morning devotions at a very special place in the town of Zakosciele where we’re staying.
On top of a hill in this quaint village sits a church building dating back to the year 1068; almost one thousand years ago. The name Zakosciele literally means “behind the church”. Basically “the village behind the church”.
I began to realize how significant this name was to our purpose in being here. Through travels and time spent with our international partners, both SCC sent missionaries and foreign church leaders, I have come to sense a tremendous need for soul care with most of them. They are all gifted servant leaders but so often overlook their own needs as they put others first. They are rarely asked about their own spiritual health. Our purpose with this Refresh retreat was to bring several of our partnering field workers together in one place and simply care for them. Refresh them in Christ.
As we all sat together in this ancient house of worship, the group shared reflections from the previous day’s experience at Auschwitz. It was a profoundly moving time of empathy for the Jewish people and all the others who were victims of the Holocaust.
The next day one of our ministry partners in Poland, Bronek Hury, came to me and shared this:
“Dave, once we met with a large group of elderly Russian Jewish people, some who were survivors of the Holocaust, and we shared the good news of Jesus’ love for each of them. Later one very old woman came to me and asked, “why would you, a Christian, want to come here and show love to me, an old Jewish woman?” I answered, it is because Jesus first loved me.”
After sharing that story, Bronek spoke these words to me, “Dave, today after the way the people from Savannah have treated my wife and me, I now know why that tired Jewish woman asked the question. Today I feel like I am that old woman.”
Make no mistake…God has blessed us at SCC so that we may be a blessing to others. Others in Savannah and others around the world. And here is the amazing part – as we leaned into each other in the ancient Idzi church…and as Bronek shared these very kind words with me…I felt the presence of Jesus in a way that felt…new. He always seems to reveal himself to us in the faces and kindness of others…when we choose compassion as our purpose.