As we filed into the conference meeting room this morning and took our places around the long, boxed tables dimly lit by African fluorescents, I could visibly see the dread on everyone's faces. Here we were, Missourians and Mozambicans, all gearing up for that kind of tortuous meeting where you find yourself wanting to pull your fingernails out just to keep yourself from dying of boredom. We had all traveled great distances and were preparing to hunker down for a long and arduous day of business speak and professional talk. And indeed, we engaged in our fair share of business speak and professional talk.
But, in her hesitant and humble wisdom, rather than starting with business speak agenda item #1, our MI team chair, Yvi Martin, immediately derailed the boredom train by getting right to the heart of the matter. She started with reading the scripture about when Jesus revealed himself to his disciples right after his resurrection, "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him...They said to one another, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road?'" She asked us to talk in small groups about a time that we had experienced this divine burning.
And then it happened. Our hearts, in that dank and stuffy conference room, began to be strangely warmed. We heard stories of miraculous survival from war and stories of calling into the ministry. We heard stories of extravagant worship under mango trees and stories about being light in the darkness. Stories of how our great God lights us on fire and sets us ablaze, from the remotest mountain tops in Mozambique to the coolest hipster bars in St. Louis City. And while the business speak and professional talk still caused the room to fade into hazy, head-bobbing, and slightly embarrassed afternoon napping, our hearts were awakened within us and lit with the fire of purpose and unity.