Uh Oh . . .

The pastor I met in Lyon last week was looking for someone to present a few sessions on Islamic evangelism for a spiritual retreat over Easter weekend. He mentioned it to another AG missionary couple who attend his church, and they suggested me. I was thrilled when he contacted me about coming to the retreat to speak on that subject. At last! Something I am trained for, feel called to, and can do well. I was practically kicking my heels up in glee.

As you know, I met with the pastor personally a week ago today and I took the occasion to ask a few specific questions about this retreat, so I could better prepare. He had mentioned previously that I would have four sessions, but in our discussion last Tuesday, he said it would be SEVEN hours of presentation. I didn't bat an eye, but in my mind, I thought, "Uh oh. I don't think I can talk about Islam for seven hours in English, let alone in French."

Then he mentioned that there would be about 200 young adults in attendance. Two hundred! I thought, "Uh oh. That's a lot of people to bore with my mistakes in French."

Then he invited me back to the church for their Tuesday evangelistic meeting. I sat in the third row with my mouth hanging open (unattractively), as I watched the TV film crews circle around recording the entire service from several cameras. My eyes were continually caught by the running footage on the two huge screens on either side of the stage. I was awed by the multi-media presentation: a mix of the Jesus film, music video, and powerpoint slides running as an aide to the pastor's message, "Who do you say that I am?" I thought, "Uh oh. This church is really high-tech. I bet they'll be expecting something pretty professional for this retreat." That's a lot of work in and of itself.

Once I got home from Lyon, I sat at my desk and started writing up some plans and notes. I realized that Easter is only three weeks away, and in that time I have to write out seven hours of French teaching on evangelism, run it all by my colleagues to "proof" my French, create the powerpoint presentations, and create any other handouts or aides. Uh oh . . .

I think I've bitten off more than I can chew. Thankfully, I don't have to do all this in my own strength; because in my weakness, exhaustion, and sheer overwhelmed-ness, Jesus is strong.
Ariel Rainey