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How Did I Get Here?

If you’ve never stepped foot on some Ohio dirt, I can introduce you. It grows endless corn and runs straight to the horizon, never mounding into any significant hills or impressive scenery. We have our moments of Ohioan glory, such as when the setting sun spills liquid gold right in the path of a monstrous thundercloud, and the two wage a war; but I’ve been filling my lungs with the same mild, earthy air for my whole life. God knew that I needed red Brazilian dust, warm compound bricks radiating equator heat and a good spiritual shaking. He gave it to me.

On the first day of Interface, I hung my hammock from some cabin beams and prepared for the week of training in Pennsylvania. By that night, swinging with a small notebook under a single lightbulb to the serenade of crickets, all I could think to write was, “How did I get here?” It wasn't in frustrated befuddlement, but in wondrous mystification. 

Then, over the next three weeks in Brazil, I was immersed in each moment. While I tried to absorb everything that could be felt and smelled and tasted, the thought hit me over and over. Listening to the nostalgic creaking of a tire swing, drinking in the way orange bled into purple on the South American horizon: “How did I get here?” Sitting on streetlight-lit concrete, hearing Portuguese swirl with English while a volleyball shot into the midnight sky: “How did I get here?” Perching at the edge of an Amazon River tributary, drawing circles in Brazilian sand and letting the warm wind curl my half-dried hair, glancing towards the opposite shore where an unreached people group were milling from hut to hut and where drying piranhas glinted in the sun: “How did I get here?” Almost a month after coming back to the States, I’m still not sure. What can I say? God’s ways are infinitely higher. His blessings are scandalously bountiful.

During Interface, every day was brimming over with vivid tales of the Lord’s faithfulness. In His mastery, God wrought stories more elaborate than any wordsmith or screenwriter would ever dare attempt. In one, God wove together a feverish canoe trip through a pitch-black Papua New Guinea jungle by a young family bearing a dangerously sick child. He decided when and where their radio would jerk to life, and He authored in just enough mysterious tribal medicine to postpone the symptoms, buying time for a small plane to be boarded while torch-bearing humans lined up to light the midnight runway. Missionaries, students and teachers sacrificed a slice of their day to share their testimonies; their lives overwhelmed and overflowed. As Interface students, we had the opportunity to begin living our own lives with abandon. We each began opening our tightly clutched hopes and dreams and taking the first step into future adventures which the Master Talespinner had for us. 

Together, our team experienced so many new things, but we only had time to get just enough to tantalize. I longed to freeze the sun and the clock, to stay in a moment until I could get my arms around it and experience every angle ten times over, until it became a piece of my soul and ingrained in my bones. Blue smoke corkscrewed into the sky during each sunrise, reminiscent of last night’s bonfire. I watched the moon and stars at two in the morning through an old camp bus window, pondering conversations and marveling at the created majesty of the universe. There were countless shining eyes, contagious laughs and incredible moments. I wanted them all in a frame, but the frame falls far short. 

Have you ever felt small? Gloriously small, free from having to bear the weight of the world, a contented mite joyfully contributing your tiny bit to God’s intricate story of the world? During Interface, each day brought me to that smallness. There I was, thousands of miles away from the cornfield war of sun and thunder, standing beneath a perpetually cloudless sky, bearing witness that the God of Ohio was the same God of Brazil.

Tags: Ethnos360 Magazine, Interface,
POSTED ON Oct 13, 2022 by Abigail Tighe, 2022 Interface Participant