Assembling a team is risky-business. Different personalities with a spectrum of strengths and weaknesses. A lot of times it's a recipe for disaster. Some times it's a mix that works out okay, but not without incident along the way. Rarely is it a tight-knit group that laughs, loves, communicates, and supports each other with selfless abandon.
But our Bolivia 2012 Team was. And trust me, I've been on teams before that had those thorn-in-the-flesh kind of team mates, or those I-love-you-only-because-God-tells-me-to kind of members. Our group was a rare, almost once-in-a-lifetime-kind-of-wonderful, team that just worked. We fit together.
We worked hard together. We sang loud together. We prayed passionately together. We laughed long together. We got dirty and muddy and sweaty together. We nervously, but with a clenched smile, tried new food together. We fixed flat tires and slashed machetes in the jungle together. We tickled kids, painted lots of little fingernails, and tossed frisbees together. We cried together. We shared Jesus' love together.
We really were a team that was together. Not in small groups. Not with best friends. Just together.God didn't seem to think that getting a group of 10 college students together for a week in Bolivia would be a problem. He wasn't phased by the fact almost each member was in a different city or college for the months leading up to our departure. He wasn't overwhelmed with developing unity among a group of people that didn't know each other that well.
Nick. Quiet at first glance, but then you get to know him. I promise there is an unexpected sarcastic tone in that likable and easy-going face! This was Nick's fist overseas missions opportunity and he made the most of all that was thrown at him. From public speaking to impromptu church drama, from changing a flat tire to holding a baby on his hip, Nick took it all in stride.
Grady. My man and my leader. But not just my leader, he was our team leader. Grady makes following easy because he leads by giving and serving and encouraging. He is quick to make decisions and patient to wait for answers. He discerns people well and anticipates needs before they arise.
Us. Grady and I. A team. Partners. Friends. God orchestrated something truly amazing when he brought Grady and I together for ever and ever. He knew that we would be much stronger together than apart. He knew that our abilities together would reach and impact more people than they would apart.
And, I'm here to testify: it is a joyride like no other to serve and lead and teach and share with your best friend and life-partner.