They say you don’t truly appreciate something until you no longer have it. In my Abante Experiences I have found this to be truer than I would like to admit. I don’t believe that this comes from a lack of appreciation in the present, but something that naturally happens. Unfortunately, we don’t know the things that will affect us the most in life, so we live only noticing how impactful events were in the rearview mirror.
Last year, I experienced so much growth and gained understanding that I never had before. I not only learned things about myself, but also made deep connections with my team and communicated with them on a level I never experienced before. Those relationships would help forge who I am today and equip me with relational skills I didn’t know I would need in the future.
My role has shifted this year; I am interning as the Assistant Director, and overseeing the Leadership/Services and Academic aspects of the team. A lot of things have changed for me personally, but my mission and the mission of Abante has not. I still want God to use and shape me to best suit what he created me for— going where he sends me and making disciples. Abante is still the leadership & discipleship program that I went through last year; the focus is still on equipping young adults to be marketplace missionaries in whatever field they want to go into; God is still in the midst of this, and that is where I find my motivation and drive to engage new cultures and share His Word.
Now the past year is gone and a new team has come. I have the memories of what we achieved, the stories we shared, and the ministry we accomplished. However, I will not let my nostalgia keep me from connecting and forming new, deep relationships this year. This team is completely different than the team I was a part of last year and I’m sure we will face different challenges.
This transition reminds me of the time the Israelites began to rebuild the temple in Ezra 3. The Israelites had just finished laying the foundation and a shout began to come from the people. The young men who had never seen the first temple shouted for joy because they knew that they were building the house of the Lord and knew that God would be pleased with their work. However, the old men who had seen the glory of the previous temple before it was destroyed began to weep. Looking at the foundation brought great sadness to them. It is written,
So the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.
How often do we let the things that used to be affect how we view and enjoy what is? I understand and appreciate the progress that God helped me through last year, and I will certainly look back at those times with a smile on my face. However, I don’t want to be like the old men who are weeping even in the midst of rebuilding something glorious for God. I will look ahead to this new team, experiences, and challenges that we will face this year knowing that God is orchestrating it for our good. I will not let my past experiences limit how I view the new things that God is going to do in the team, myself, and in the people and places that God allows us to touch.