Monday, August 27, 2012

Passing the mantle


I love walking around Los Anonos. These days there are always men hauling rocks to the river, women hanging laundry in the morning sun, and dog poop all over the alleys to avoid. Of course my favorite part of walking around Los Anonos are the children. I have become a bit like the Pied Piper of Hamlin. All I have to do is head down any one of the paths to toward the river and a multitude of children come flocking me, yelling my name. And asking what I have in my bag. See, I almost always have my bag with me. Teams call it my Mary Poppins bag. It's one of those bottomless pit type bags where things go in and suddenly disappear. Inside are all the essentials a girl could need: hand sanitizer, band aids, keys, umbrella, chap stick, sharpies, pens, toilet paper, toilet seat covers, sunscreen, camera with fully charged batteries, etc., etc. Evey item has come in handy over the past two years for episodes of team member work accidents, unexpected rain storms, and sketchy city bathrooms. 

The best essentials, though, are the tricket things I carry: silly band bracelets, rings, dinosaur figurines, marbles, stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, etc., etc. The kids always ask if I have something for them. And I almost always do. They get so much joy out of such little things. (Note the bag in each of these pictures. In fact, when I look back at most of my pictures, any time you see that characteristic yellow strap, that's the bag!!)

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And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “ Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “ As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel... Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “ As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho...Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on...

Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “ My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over. 
(portions of 2 Kings 2)

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This is a famous Biblical account of a teacher leaving his protégé not only with the knowledge and information learned over one lifetime, but with an increased measure of blessing, power, and authority. A double portion of it, to be exact. Elijah left Elisha what I talked about in a previous post: an inheritance that furthered the kingdom instead of ending in selfish retirement. 

Elijah left a mantle. In and of itself, it was just a cloak, but it essentially was the trademark of his ministry. In I Kings 19:13 Elijah is in a cave running scared from Jezebel, but he still had his mantle and wrapped his face in it as he went out to see if God was in the wind, the earthquake, the fire, or the still small voice. In I Kings 19:19, he cast his mantle on Elisha symbolizing God’s call on Elisha’s life to begin a spirit-filled ministry. Later on he used his mantle to part the waters to walk on dry ground. Ultimately it was the "inheritance" that was left to Elisha. The mantle, in effect, was a symbol of the anointing Spirit of God on Elijah's life which was passed on to Elisha to continue working for the Lord.
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I am also preparing to leave. There are two new missionary girls here to walk in ministry here in the community. 
The other day I was walking with Jessie in the community, passing out trinkets to the kids as Pied Piperish as usual 
when she turned to me and very seriously said, 
"I want your bag. When you go, I want your bag." 
"Fully loaded, I assume," I asked  her just as serious.
 "If you are up at 4:30am to see me leave for the airport, you may have my bag. Fully loaded."

This was my Elijah moment.

This is the next season of missions in Anonos.
Expect a double portion.
Join with me in prayer for the harvest.
Jessie and me visiting the volcano, Irazú

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