Aaron and Hur
"Everyone put your hands up in the air. Great, now how long do you think you can hold them there?"
About three of my year seven and eight kids dropped their arms at this point. "So not that long for some of you." A few more confidently told me they could do this all day before I told them the story of Moses needing to hold his arms up while the people of Israel fought the Amalekites.
Every time he lowered his arms, the Israelites started to lose the battle. Moses couldn't win the fight on his own strength; it was a team effort in the end as Aaron and Hur held up his arms while Moses sat on a rock and watched God fight for the people.
It's probably not the Bible story I would have picked to demonstrate God fighting our battles, but it was the story laid out in the Bible in Schools curriculum, so I jumped in to tell it to my students this week. I actually really love the stories throughout the Pentateuch when Moses needs help. My favorite is when his father-in-law tells him to stop hearing all the complaints of the 600,000 people and to delegate to other wise people in the nation. I don't always do the best job of delegating or asking for help, so I'm reassured when I see biblical heroes - leaders of the faith - falling short and getting help. We're all human, after all.
I finished reading a book this week by an artist that was about asking for people for help. It sparked a lot of thought as I realized I still struggle to ask despite learning to ask so often. I need a lot of help, and I've come a long way in shrugging off shame to ask when I need it, but I only ask when I really need it. Just this past Monday, I was going to a leader meeting at church, and it wasn't until I arrived at the bus stop that it occurred to me that my neighbors down the street would also be attending this same meeting, and they could have easily given me a ride if I'd just asked. Once I got to church, I figured I could ask if they'd give me a ride home, but I didn't really prioritize that as a need, so when I was catching up with another friend after the meeting, I didn't notice my neighbors head out without me getting a chance to ask if I could tag along. Instead, I just headed to the door to wheel down to the bus stop, knowing my bus would arrive within the next ten minutes and I'd only be a ten minute ride plus a ten minute wheel back to my house. (It's less than a ten minute drive.)
As timing would have it, Phil held the door open for me and commented an expectation that I'd naturally be going home with the people who live on my street. "Oh, I think I missed them. I forgot to ask for a ride. I'm just going to catch the bus."
This was a ridiculous proposition to the four people within earshot, and I was immediately offered a ride home from two different cars while Phil went to confirm that my neighbors were actually gone. These people are way too nice to me, but I realized this wasn't actually a huge inconvenience to anyone. The couple that put me and my wheelchair in their car were driving close to my neighborhood anyways. They were hardly put out to make a two minute detour for me, and it saved me an extra twenty minutes from the bus route and wheeling.
I was struck with this strange paradox as I know I'm good at asking for critical needs but not recognizing the way I rob people of the ability to help me when I stubbornly refuse to ask for help for something I can do with three times the length of time and effort. I actually love to help people too, and I love when students ask me for things. Just last night, a youth group student messaged me for advice on how to start her paper on Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet because I'd mentioned to her how much I loved that particular film adaptation and she knows I'm trained as an English teacher. Guys, that made my day.
I have a weird job, and this year it involves spontaneous online tutoring sessions alongside hearing occasional drinking confessions or answering one student's dating questions while supporting another with major depression. I love my job.
I also love that I'm not alone in all the responsibilities I have. I've got people supporting me here in this church community I'm resting in for the year, but I've also got friends and family on different continents offering me regular encouragements with the myriad of big and little things I'm dealing with. Additionally, I have the unique "missionary" element where dozens of people generously support me financially. I've been incredibly blessed by my financial support team that have kept me on the field for over five years, and I'm grateful for every partner. I also reached out to many people on my support team back in December to let them know my financial situation has changed with adjustments in German wage law, and I needed an increase in contributions before returning to Germany. Within two months, I've seen several people step up with generous one time gifts and almost half my estimated monthly need met.
My job isn't quite a Moses level responsibility, but the book I read convicted me about how I withhold community with people when I refuse to invite help. I have the incredible privilege of helping young people learn how to listen to God when they pray and how to carefully interpret Scriptures written in an ancient Middle Eastern context to find relevant applications in their life as a university student in modern America - both things I did just this week. I can't do this without a lot of help. I need people to pray for me, and I need people to give to me financially to continue this work. If you'd like to partner with me in prayer, you can bookmark this page or subscribe to updates as I'll always post relevant needs here each week. If you'd like to partner with me financially, you can go to the website below or email firstname.lastname@example.org for those using a currency outside North America.
Thank you to all of you Aarons and Hurs holding up my arms each week. I'm humbled to watch what amazing things continue to happen in and through me with the support of the amazing network of people around me.