So, I have these grandiose dreams of writing an entry for every day we were gone to Budapest and filling you all in on all of the cool things that happened every moment we were gone. Buuuut, that ain't going to happen when I still have 400 e-mails to catch up on. The sheer weight of the guilt prevents it.
It seems a shame to gloss over the midyear, though, it was really an amazing experience. I loved working in ministry together with Krista, and it was great to work with Carolyn, Beverly, Tommy and Debbie on the design team. Now I could basically do an Oscar acceptance speech saying nice things about all the people who were there... but let's just pretend I did that already. A special thanks to anyone I forgot. ;)
Here's the part of the midyear that was most amazing for me... on our last night the Lord showed up in a really powerful and effecting way. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly, and it's the sort of thing that I feel a little weird and vulnerable sharing with people. But that's the advantage of a blog, I just pretend there's no one out there reading! Ha ha ha!
Anyway, basically it's this. As I was talking that night I wasn't sharing anything revolutionary... it was just responses to some things I had sensed or heard throughout the week interacting with our stinters. You can see some of the content here.
The difference this night was that I really felt the Holy Spirit on me in a palpable way, a way I have only previously felt in quiet and intimate moments. This was the first time I felt like the things I was saying up front were all from God. Except for the jokes. The jokes were mine.
As I got to the end I felt a sort of internal expansion, a feeling that something had changed. Maybe an increased capacity for the Holy Spirit. Or something. I've never felt anything like it. There was also this strange (simultaneous) moment where I "saw" something, a sort of golden person maybe eight feet tall overshadowing me. Now I sound like a total fruitcake. But it didn't seem strange at all in that moment. I don't know what that was. In the moment I thought it was connected with the feeling of expansion, maybe a sort of envisioned analog to the internal feeling of growth.
We had some prayer/sharing time and then worship time. John shared about some things the Lord has said to him recently, and others shared about things the Holy Spirit was putting on their hearts in that moment. You should all put notes on John's blog asking him to share what the Lord said to him because it was really cool. The worship guy decided to stop singing and just had people share some more. It was, overall, a pretty profound time for me. Lots of people seemed to be getting specific messages from the Lord... I was actually pretty surprised by the number of people who had strong, clear messages from the Lord during that time.
Two other observations from that night: one, I found that I really did not care what anyone said or thought about the message I shared that night. I knew that I was only saying the things God had told me to say, and the response really didn't matter to me. Two, I realized that this whole thing had absolutely nothing to do with me. It actually seemed ludicrous to me when people said "good job" later, because I realized I didn't really do anything. If the Holy Spirit hadn't been there it would have been a dead, lame night.