April 1, 2005
Psalm 143:8 “Each morning let me learn more about your love because I trust you. I come to you in prayer, asking for your guidance.” (Contemporary English Version)
Even in January, mid summer in Chile, it takes the sun a long time to rise over the forested slopes of the Andes Mountains and wake up the sleeping participants at the camps, retreats, and workshops of the Shalom Center. This summer, we invited all to try out a new early morning activity. After the morning devotions, we paused for personal journaling, meditation, prayer, and reflection time. At first, we weren’t sure how our boisterous and activity oriented youth would handle these quiet times, but after the first morning where each found a special spot under a tree or next to a rock, they asked us if we could schedule more 5 to 15 minute pauses during the day. As part of our community covenant, everyone including children, teens, adults, cooking staff, drivers, and facilitators, agreed to stop any pending tasks or activities, sit still, and write or draw our thoughts and prayers in journals that each designed and created. Sometimes we were asked to reflect on a game or a particular theme in our journals; other times we were to process what was happening in our groups or within ourselves while at the Shalom Center; still other times, we were invited to simply open our senses and hearts to what God might be saying to us in the embrace of nature’s beauty. Many of us felt called during these quiet pauses to commit ourselves to being an instrument of shalom bringing healing to a broken relationship either with God, oneself, others, or nature.
Prayer: (Translated and adapted from a song sung at the Shalom Center)
Jesus, I know that every day beginning is an opportunity
to open doors, to play, to run ahead, or sit beside.
Every day beginning is like the start of a song
a melody of faith and hope and dreams.
So, Jesus, I want to
Thank you for the storm and quiet breeze.
Thank you for the mountains and the sea.
Thank you for the echoing laughter of children
Thank you for pulsing life and friends.
Thank you for the night rest and sunrise
Thank you for the music of birds and insects
Thank you for the quiet place where I sit
Inside my soul and meet you face to face. Amen.
Journals also provided a great place to write down each other’s addresses
Elena Huegel is a missionary with the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She serves as an environmental and Christian education specialist.