Posts by mallorymishler

The Burden of Fighting

August 14th, 2018 Posted by Immersion Internship – 2018 0 comments on “The Burden of Fighting”

As a long-time-lover of justice, I was beyond myself with excitement to spend a whole week with Micah and Toran learning about the very thing that has wrecked me, shaped me, molded me, and driven me to actions as crazy as flying across the world to spend a summer in Zambia: learning about and fighting for justice. Years ago, the Lord began breaking my heart for what breaks His and showing me in so many ways how this world does not reflect the peace, righteousness, and beauty of the Kingdom of Heaven. I began saying to myself and others throughout my college years, “Once you know about an injustice, you don’t have to do anything about it, but you can never again say you didn’t know.” This kind of thinking pushed me to do a lot of fighting – and I mean a lot. It was good, but it was exhausting, reflective of the weakness of my own flesh trying to hold a burden that was never meant for me to carry alone, desperately aching to fight a battle that I will always be powerless in if I am not walking in step with the One who created all things, the One who created justice, the One who has already won the battle and is waiting restlessly for the day we can all come peacefully to His kingdom, free from every burden that shackled us in this world. Although I have been passionate about justice for a long time, I have also been exhausted, powerless, and overwhelmed with the messy giant of injustice and an altogether incompetent opponent.

At Poetice, you will find people who tell you that the only answer to injustice is Jesus. They will tell you that although there is illiteracy, although there is oppression, although there is hunger, the first answer is not school fees, nor safe housing, nor food, nor business loans. The first answer has to be Jesus, otherwise, there will be no transformation. Ultimately, He is the only one who can transform hearts and lives, who can bring change, who can bring justice in the midst of pain, oppression, and who can fight the long fight without burning out. When we surrender everything to the King of Kings, not only are we free from the burden of fighting an impossible fight, but we get to co-labor with the One who has already won the battle and wants to use us in the process of making all things new on Earth. Not only this, but we have the responsibility as His Children to step out of the comfort of our lives and stand against injustice with God, whenever and wherever He calls us. When we look at the world, it can be easy to cry out, “God, where are you in all of this mess?” The truth is, where God is in this mess is exactly wherever we are, as we are His hands and feet on the Earth and are the ones who get the joy of working together to bring the Kingdom here in every way, today, tomorrow, and every day until our Jesus comes back.

When we see injustice in the world, we as Christians do not have the right to look the other way and hope someone else will do something about it. We must lay down ourselves, our lives, and even our picture of what the right answer might be, and let the Lord use us to bring change, freedom and hope to our broken world. My approach to injustice has been transformed by my time as an intern at Poetice, much in the same way that my life, heart, and personal brokenness has been transformed by the love of the Almighty God who leaves the 99 to go after the 1, who wants to see all of us whole, and then use us to change the entire world. I can rest in the knowledge that it is not me alone who could even begin to heal the wounds of this world, but also stand up with eagerness to be used, knowing also that my life will be a waste if I am not actively working to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth, right alongside my good Father.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mallory Mishler – 2018 Immersion Intern

Kingdoms and kingdoms

August 1st, 2018 Posted by Immersion Internship – 2018 0 comments on “Kingdoms and kingdoms”

When my alarm rang off at 4:00 in the morning and my sleepy team and I piled our earthly belongings into a bus that would become our home for the next 38 hours and take us all to a world we had never experienced, I had no idea what to expect. Trying to keep an open mind and an open heart, I prepared myself for our ten days of ministry in Lesotho by asking God what He had for me in a place so far from my home in the States, and even so far from my comfort zone in Zambia. The message I received was loud and clear: “Come and see all the work I am already doing in Lesotho.” I know the Lord sees my eagerness to always be a part of the work being done, and my desire to get my hands dirty and put on my shoulders the weight of “doing something.” I sensed He was bringing me to a tiny mountain kingdom to teach me something more about the work of His Kingdom, which is far bigger than anything my personal abilities could ever encapsulate. What followed in Lesotho was a beautiful time of my eyes being opened to God’s light in the darkness, to His faithful hand hard at work in the valley, and to the humble hearts that have been called to serve in love, like Godfrey and Elizabeth. 

Seeing that God’s plan for my time in Lesotho had more to do with serving humbly and observing His work rather than expanding the Kingdom myself, it came as no surprise that on our first opportunity to go out in the community and “do ministry,” my team and I happened upon an uncommonly faithful woman named Mama Tidili. We had a joyful time of studying the Bible together and sharing stories about how God had been working in all of our lives, and although we were able to speak life into her and call out the beauty of her joy and compassion, her encouragement for us filled me to the brim and I walked away feeling as if this woman had poured into me far more than I could give back to her. I can almost imagine Jesus walking with me through the village, proudly exclaiming, “Look! Here are my people, here is where my heart is, here is where my followers are, here is where my love flows freely!”

One main part of our team’s time with LXP was to run their kid’s program on two occasions. Much to my surprise, the responsibility of planning and teaching a lesson to the pre-teen kids fell on me; certainly not something I would have volunteered for. However, the Lord prepared my heart and showed me what to say, and the result was incredibly gratifying. Through stories and skits, we spent the time sharing with the kids. We explained that because all of our lives had been radically transformed by the love of Christ, He had thought it worthwhile that we travel for two days to come to them and let them know that the same God who saw and loved the woman at the well, the same God who raised Lazarus from the dead, the same God who loved each of us so dearly also loved them with His entire heart (and so did we). It was a sweet time, and I learned that in my challenges, God is always waiting to work and show up with his knowledge, power, and strength to show his love when on my own, I fall short. 

As ridiculous as it sounds, especially coming from a Michigander, the most challenging part of being in Lesotho was the cold. Without central heating and in the middle of winter, existence after the sunset was hard to bear. We slept most nights with all our clothes on and cocooned in our sleeping bags, yet still found our bodies shaking and feet frozen nearly solid. Those braver than me managed to shower routinely, but the thought of emerging from the water into the tundra was too much for me to bear (much apologies to anyone whose nose got too close to me on the later days of the trip). However, the Lord is faithful and doesn’t allow difficulties without somehow showing up right in the middle. I found that my body naturally woke up in the wee hours of the morning from the cold, with little hope of going back to sleep. Even though the temperature outside was much the same as inside, standing and moving at least allowed for the flow of blood to bring me back to life a little bit. So, I found myself crawling out of bed to the silence and solitude of the mornings in a way I never would back in my comfort zone, opening up the sweet silent space of a sleeping world to be with God, and hear His voice. He showed me many things during this daily time with Him, in addition to the casual perk of breathtaking mountain sunrises. Even when He wasn’t speaking, the palpable reality of His presence made me want to stretch the mornings longer, brave the cold again and again, and show up every day at the foot of His throne. This is a practice I’d like to continue in Choma and back in the States, and in no small way I expect it to continue gradually transforming me and filling me with the Love of God before my day even begins – something I imagine could infiltrate every word, every action and every conversation. Even in the bitter and unbearable cold, God is simply looking for more of my heart and more of my soul, gently urging me to surrender more of myself to Him so I might become so full of his heart and love that it can’t help but spill out all over the world, like a colorful palette of reds and greens and oranges and blues that fill the cracks of brokenness and paint the glory of His Kingdom where it has not yet been painted.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mallory Mishler – 2018 Immersion Intern

Chasing Freedom

June 26th, 2018 Posted by Immersion Internship – 2018 0 comments on “Chasing Freedom”

My name is Mallory Mishler, and I come from a small town in West Michigan. When I was in High School, God planted within me a dream of stepping my feet on African soil, which I carried with me until I felt the pull that it was finally time to go. That pull led me to this internship, where I believe God has placed me and all my fellow interns for some specific reason, which I am excited to find out more about!

Simply being over 8,000 miles from home and immersed in a culture so different from my own, I feel like I am in the perfect position to be broken and rebuilt, to lay a strong foundation that will stay with me even when I leave. Although I have learned so much already from the teachings and this culture, the one thing that has impacted me most was Dave Swensen’s teaching on freedom. For many reasons, I have spent the last few years adamantly chasing freedom, viewing a life free from any kind of bondage as more important than relationships, than community, or setting roots. When Dave walked on stage the first day, the first words to come out of his mouth were, “Freedom is not actually what we desire – it’s belonging.” To someone like me, those words were like a slap in the face. But, throughout the rest of the week, I started to see how the beliefs I have told myself over time stem from fear and lies, and are actually setting me on a pathway that will leave me all by myself. The fear attached to belonging rests, in me, in some core lies I have believed for a long time that tell me I am not worthy, not enough, to receive the love I’ve convinced myself I don’t need.


Zambia is many good things, but one of them is that it’s a place of healing for me and for many other people who have brought hearts full of baggage. Whether they’ve lugged it from the community next door or all the way from America, God doesn’t wish for us to hold pain and lies in our hearts and is just waiting for us to give Him some time to come in, break down and banish everything that is not from Him, and replace it with truth, with light, and with love. I feel that change taking place in my soul, and I know that already I am not the same person that stepped off the plane almost 4 weeks ago. She was angry, confused and afraid. My anger is being replaced with joy, my confusion with contentment, and my fear with perfect love. The Lord is walking with me each step I take here, not because He is more present in Zambia than He is in my home, but because I am finally becoming able to turn my heart towards his light like a sunflower looks to the sun.

There aren’t enough words to speak what I’m learning that is changing and challenging and growing me, but I do know this: this season is exactly what it is supposed to be, and me and every single intern around me are here together for a reason. I am growing deeper into the kind of joyful intimacy that allows me to love people fully and receive the same love from others. I am excited to see how else God will work in me, my peers, and the surrounding communities throughout the summer, and to continue falling deeper into this love that I can’t understand, contain or control.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mallory Mishler – 2018 Immersion Intern