At our organization’s last conference, the main speaker brought loads of truth with the theme “Remember.” I’ve kept some of his thoughts rolling through my head for the past six months, letting them sink in as I learn how to keep moving forward while occasionally looking back to remember all God has accomplished.
As I sit here, sipping my favorite chai (that I didn’t have to concoct from scratch), in a comfy recliner, mesmerized by the thunderstorm happening out my window—all amazing things I don’t experience in my China home—my heart still longs for the other side of the world. But it’s not these things it longs for, rather the people there.
I miss my people.
You know who I’m talking about. Not blood family—although I miss them when I’m overseas—but my China family. My colleagues, neighbors, friends, mentors. The ones with whom we collaborated and strategized, celebrated and mourned, confronted and encouraged. The ones who get this life of always longing for the other side of the world, and ultimately, Home.
Yesterday, we celebrated my middle son’s birthday. I couldn’t help but remember the 3 birthdays we celebrated with our team—the most we’ve celebrated with any one group of people. It stung a little when yesterday we didn’t celebrate with anyone. We tried to make it special, but it wasn’t the same. He misses his buddies. So do I.
My heart aches knowing a new team is forming without us. They’ll bond, have inside jokes, play ridiculous games, and grow together. I wish I was there.
But we’re not. We’re in the States on a furlough, right where we’re supposed to be. I can remember the amazing people and the memories we made together. I can feel the aches, and that’s ok, too. But I need to keep moving forward.
God has us here, now, to reconnect with loved ones and supporters, to rest, and to rejuvenate.
Recently, our pastor gave a sermon on loving others well. Later, I confessed to my husband that I didn’t think we’d be able to do that well since our days and weeks are filled with homeschooling and meeting with other believers and supporters to update them on our role changes. I told him I thought we needed to find a place to volunteer to really find people to reach out to.
He stopped me in my tracks when he said, “No, I think God wants us to minister to the saints, just like Paul.” Boom. That’s it. We’re not here to boast that we know more, we’re more spiritual, or that we have it all together. However, we do have a different perspective—looking into some of the chaos of America from the outside, not being bombarded daily with the hoopla on TV or the radio or the patron in the check out line.
We’ve already seen it happening before our eyes. Some people we meet with seem disillusioned to their once-solid faith. They’ve taken a few too many bites of the world and have become desensitized to how it’s affecting their life. They’ve let their marriages slip through the cracks, giving up on the fight. They’ve given in to competing with the status quo rather than trying to be a Light in the darkness.
We feel called to humbly encourage them to stay strong, get back in the rhythms of praying, studying the Word, going to church, and connecting deeply with others. We want to remind them of the amazing things God has done through their lives already.
Thankfully, we’re also reconnecting with friends who we thought were walking astray, but have realigned themselves with the Truth and are doing their best to share their experiences with those around them. We fully enjoy rejoicing with them!
I know I’ll still have moments remembering our awesome teammates and colleagues, wishing I was with them. I dread how we’ll begin to drift apart, even though I know it’s normal. But I feel equipped and excited for the next 11 months we’re here, encouraging and loving well the saints among us.
The point that stuck out to me most from our conference was that our lives are impacting future generations daily. (Deuteronomy 6) Let that one sink in! I hope to continue to remember no matter where I am, my actions are either leading people back to or closer to the kingdom, or turning them away.
In what ways has God pressed you to remember what He has done for you, through you in the past? How can you use those memories and lessons to encourage others?
In lieu of remembering, I’m going to re-visit a recipe I posted on here a few years ago. These rolls are still my go-to for any time we need a side of bread. Which, is pretty much any meal, right?! I’ve now got this one memorized and can’t wait to teach my kids how to make it.
Yeast can be tricky, but don’t fear! Use warm, not hot, water, and the yeast babies will grow happily.
Little hands are good for mixing!
The exact amount of flour is different for everyone, so start with a few cups, and add one cup at a time, mixing in between, until your dough isn’t so sticky.
She just can’t wait to get it to dough so she can play with it!
“Shaggy” dough–time to turn it out onto the counter and start kneading!
I have a stand mixer, but there’s something immensely satisfying about kneading my own dough!
Into an oil-sprayed bowl to go grow to double its size.
On this day, my warm spot (80-100*F) was outside. Sometimes it’s a warm oven that’s been turned off, sometimes it’s on a shelf above my radiator. Any warm spot will do!
Another test to know it’s ready: you can sink fingerprints into the dough without them bouncing back.
Cut into triangles and start rollin’.
These aren’t anything like a French croissant, (because who can afford that much butter overseas?!) but they’re a good substitute!
Warm bread. Nothing like it. Can you smell it?!
I’ve been taking a batch of these to lots of friends’ houses lately. Not once have I brought one home. Not once.
Homemade Crescent Rolls
Time: About 2.5 hours, including rising
Makes: 2 dozen
Adapted from Market2Meal (If you’ve never seen this site, visit it! She lives overseas herself and has lots of great ideas for substitutions and recipes to make without using tons of imported products!)
1 Tbs yeast
3 Tbs warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm (not hot!) water
1/2 cup sugar
4-5 cups flour
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar in 3 Tbsp warm water. Once yeast is bubbly, mix together salt, 1 cup of warm water, oil, eggs, sugar. Add 2 cups flour and stir well. Add remaining flour, one cup at a time. Once you have a “kneadable” dough (not too sticky), knead for 5-sih minutes until it turns into a soft, smooth dough. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn over to grease the other side, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise until double, about an hour.
Punch dough down and separate into 2 pieces. Roll first piece into a large round circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 pie-shaped wedges.
Starting from the large end, roll each pie piece up, tucking the pointed end underneath. Place on greased cookie sheets. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. Cover the rolls with a towel and allow to rise and approximately double in size, about 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F (195C) while rolls are rising. Bake about 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.