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Just visiting

When we lived in Malawi it was custom to welcome visitors that were in your church.  And not just a handshake and a "hi," but you had to have them come to the front of the church, have them tell their name, why they were there, where they were from, who they knew at the the church, etc.  It always seemed like overkill to me, as a person who would have preferred to stay tucked away in the back row (also not allowed - especially as a white visitor!)  But it would have been offensive to them if the whole thing had not been played out.

Personally, I hate being a visitor.  We have been "visiting" a different church at least once a week for a couple of months now.  And please don't get me wrong - most of these churches have welcomed us with open arms and warm hearts.  It's not about the host.  But inside me I cringe at the term.  "Visitor" implies that you don't really belong there; that you are not part of the daily activities there enough to know what is going on, or to be a part of something.  In short, it implies that you are on the outside looking in.  And I don't know about you, but I don't want to continually be on the outside and on my own.  Everyone wants to belong to something somewhere.  It's one of those amazing things about being part of a church family!

Yet God reminds me again that I am just a visitor.  I am an alien and stranger in this world. And it's not just because of the life that I have signed up for - which is one, admittedly, of never fitting in no matter what country I live in.  But because this world is not my home.  I know I have written about this before, but my limited brain power sometimes refuses to believe this and live as though it is true.  I want to grasp on to something here and believe that it is forever and will never change and will always revolve around me.  Amazingly selfish (and sounds like a 5 year old) I know, but true.  It's just another way this long process of support raising is pointing out those things that I like to ignore most of the time.  So today my prayer is to remember who I am for real - a citizen of Heaven and a child of the King of Kings.  To remember that this world is temporary, and that I want all those people around me to be a part of the forever kingdom with me.  To pray to and love the Father that will never call me a visitor in His house.  To be an ambassador to this strange and foreign land that I am visiting.  

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