Originally published on December 2, 2014
A trip to the home of an unreached or unengaged people group causes much excitement for the Heart Sounds family. It represents the culmination of months of prayer for the people group, the team traveling, logistics and purpose. Leaving for the trip is the result of many months or years of planning and preparation. There are visas, flights, transportation, accommodations, connections, relationships, events. And there is language study, culture study, physical conditioning and spiritual conditioning. We pray… we plan… we prepare.
It sounds so simple. Great idea for a project which will encourage indigenous arts and benefit the people there… check. Wait weeks or months for the country to issue a visa… check. Send and receive intermittent emails across continents… check. Make travel plans that might include planes, buses, cars, ferries - and perhaps staying with people you’ve never met … check. A timeline and schedule based on a totally different geography of time… check.
And then life happens. Something we didn’t plan on - something out of our control - happens. And the sweet taste of anticipation for the project turns bitter in the mouth. Disappointment. Resignation. Failure. Those of us in the West measure outcomes very carefully. We consider quantity, quality, measurables, efficiency, productivity. Failure really smarts, and we wear it like a scarlet letter.
And yet, sometimes failure succeeds.
“We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son” (Romans 8:28-29, The Message). So what do we conclude? What happened (or didn’t happen) didn’t surprise God, or catch Him off guard. It didn’t cause Him to worry or feel defeated. We can trust Him with the outcome.
Mongolia is a successful failure, for example. Originally, the team went in to share technical expertise with a church planter there who already had a successful band and enough good equipment for a recording studio. Two CDs were recorded and the team thought the supplies they brought would support all the churches in Mongolia. But the dream slowly faded as the local situation changed and privatized. It was disheartening.
But that’s not what God had in mind. That DVD has become part of the ethnodoxology movement worldwide. The studio that seemed like such a solid foundation fell to the side, but the vision and passion for worship has flourished there. When the team was there, they encouraged people to write their own songs which has resulted in a national worship council. So the trip actually changed Heart Sounds from a technical focus to one that not only records but encourages music and the arts.
A trip to Thailand is another example. Heart Sounds was scheduled to do a workshop, and the date was planned around the seasonal schedule of the local people. As the time of departure grew closer, the funds had not materialized for the team to go. The local people had invested time and energy toward the project, and to tell them “it’s just not the right time,” seemed daunting, so much disappointment. Just at the time that the team would have been there, terrible floods struck, resulting in shutdowns and interruptions throughout the country. The workshop was rescheduled for a year later, and now there is a strong partnership with FEBC and the local people. 2015 will bring a songwriting conference where the locals lead and the team just assists - the third trip for Heart Sounds.
Check back next week for the second half of this encouraging article!