I had the privilege of traveling to a 410 Bridge community called Ngaamba in November of 2008. Kristin and I were there as part of our vision trip in preparation of the first Journey Internship. I didn't remember a lot about the community as we only had about a day and a half there, but here is what I did remember: Dry - The dirt road on the way in to the community was thick with dust and it consumed the vehicle we were riding in
Dry - We spent time with the "youth" of the community and we weren't able to dive very deep in conversations about God or spiritual matters
Dry - I'm telling you, the place looked like it hadn't seen rain in months! The plants that were there were weak and dying and the rest of what we saw was covered in dust
You can imagine my surprise when Kristin and I arrived in Ngaamba this month to see flowers, fields of crops, and green plants everywhere! It's a 30-40 minute drive into the community on some pretty rough dirt roads and there were moments that I didn't even recognize where we were. The air smelled sweet and you could feel the moisture from recent rain, the earth was damp, and the people looked healthy. To others on the team we were traveling with who had been to Ngaamba during the 6 year drought, it was a tangible experience of the importance of water to the survival and growth of a community... to me, it was an intimate look into where I am in my relationship with God and a powerful visual of the impact of spiritual growth.
Like many, I have grown up going to church and believing in God but until recently, I don't know that I have ever experienced the growth and renewal that comes from an active relationship with Him. The dangerous thing about growing up in a culture that is fast paced and full of distractions is that you can survive in the "Christian world" without growing for years and no one really even notices. Surrounded by so many programs, classes, levels, or environments within churches, it's pretty easy to coast along without ever really being challenged or invested in to the degree that you even notice growth is not taking place. The people in Ngaamba were suffering and living in a place where growth was rare and every day was dry. The Ngaamba that I experienced this month possessed new life and renewed energy.
I have never been more passionate about what God is doing through Invest and now I have a new picture of the value of growth... spiritual growth. I’m convinced that God is burdening the hearts of many who have just survived in and out of church but now realize what kind of life God has truly called us to live. A life FULL of growth, where everything is green and thriving, and with a level of health that can withstand the drought and dryness of this world. There is a new generation that is pushing for something different and is willing to live radically different. I refuse to sit back and allow death and suffering to win over this generation. I’ve experienced the freedom that comes with growth and now I have this mental image that God is using to spur me on to invest in the next generation.