Remembering the past, but looking forward

I have gotten to the stage in my life where I have become my parents.  My mom was always talking about the past. Now I find myself reminiscing about the past from time to time.

This past Sunday I traveled to Lugansk, Ukraine.  I spent three tremendous years of ministry in Lugansk from 1994-96.  As I drove in to the city, I noticed right away many changes.  I haven’t been in Lugansk since 2006 so I did expect some changes.  However, I was not prepared for all that I witnessed.

Lots of new places have opened up.  The old theater where I watched several movies has had a dramatic makeover and a new shopping center is being built right next to the theater.

I had a Ukrainian friend with me and like a proud “papa” I drove through the neighborhood where I used to live.  It didn’t look like much had changed there.

Later that evening I had to drive to the airport to pick up some colleagues who were flying in to teach at the Bible college.  As we drove by the place we used to call the mission house, I was saddened to learn that the land between the highway and the house had been developed and a car dealership was there.  No longer can you see the house from the road.  I thought about all the produce that had been grown on that piece of land.

On Monday, around thirteen men arrived to spend the week learning about church planting.  While Sunday was all about looking back, Monday was thinking about the future of church planting in the Lugansk oblast.  To know that these men are hearing great church planting principles from one of my colleagues is definitely exciting!

I guess it is okay to look back from time to time, but with your eyes always on the future.