When I first heard about MoveIn, I was sold. Yet if I needed any cajoling then, it was to convince me that a “busy” life should not delay my decision to immediately join a patch. At the time, I was getting ready to start an intense Ph.D program. In part, this meant considerably withdrawing from church ministry and community involvement. Therefore, joining a MoveIn team seemed illogical, even careless.
But then I attended the MoveIn conference in 2014 and not too long after, I joined a patch.
I have since been a part of a team of ordinary Christians who regularly meet to pray for our neighbours. To suggest that these individuals are “ordinary” is only to hint at their full-time engagements at home as parents, as students, and as employees. Yet the indelible marks they have etched on my life have been anything but ordinary. I have had the privilege of experiencing the gospel in action within my team.
Just as I began adjusting to life as a MoveIner while managing the demands of a busy academic program, I was beset by a series of personal setbacks from which I am still recovering. The one which hit the hardest happened in my home country, Uganda. Between October and April I lost four members of my family, with whom I shared unique and special bonds. One is never ready for things like these.
Although outwardly I might have given the impression that I was getting on well, privately the sleepless nights and tears betrayed any semblance of strength through these trials. My team was concerned. Whenever we met, they asked how I was coping. I would say I was “doing alright under the circumstances.” Yet unbeknownst to me, they were doing something that will not soon be erased from my heart’s memory.
After our weekly prayer meeting, my team surprised me with the news that they had pooled enough funds to purchase an air ticket for me to travel home to Uganda! As if their fervent prayers, cooked meals, and encouraging words were not special enough! This was a group of “ordinary” people that counted no cost (financial or other) too high to lovingly stand with me in a time of need. I was gobsmacked! I was able to travel home to Uganda to properly mourn with my family. What’s more, I had the opportunity to share about my MoveIn team, and how it was for the sake of the gospel that we all moved in.
This is the story I tell, because it is a story that illuminates my experience of the gospel. It was love that moved the King of kings to forsake his heavenly throne in order to rescue us from our sin-stained state. It was this love that motivated my MoveIn team to stand with me when I grieved. It is this same love that beckons us into the messy maze of our neighbours’ fragile lives so that we can tell them about a Saviour who alone can rescue them from the precipice of eternal damnation.
This is the story I tell, because of what it reminds me. That I should never be too busy for the sake of the gospel. That I should never be ashamed to share my burden with my brothers and sisters. That life is best lived together, which is why I thank God for my team. That we should constantly check in with and pray for one another. That many of our lost neighbours are privately hurting, and that we should knock on their doors. And, above all, that “the Gospel is the power of God to save” (Romans 1:16).