*pictures were all taken on a phone so will best be viewed on one
We are coming to the end of my not being able to post very often phase. Today was our last day in Quimby, Iowa so I wanted to share 5 things I have learned or that God has blessed me with on this trip.
1. Grace is necessary and powerful
Yes absolutely God’s grace, without it we wouldn’t have forgiveness from our sins or salvation, but I’m talking about us carrying out that grace for those around us. When you live for a week in tents far from home with people you like but don’t know very well, it gets difficult very fast to see more than the worst in them. When there are whiners, complainers, and people full of arrogance it is even harder to show patience and compassion. Yet when you continually take that struggle before God and are able to consistently show grace to these people your attitude changes as you seek to love and serve them, then many times this week their attitude has changed too.
2. God Provides
The old hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, described my week perfectly. “All I have needed thy hand hath provided.” Money has been short lately with a car payment, insurance, and just life. I thought I had given my youth pastor all the money I needed to, to come on the trip. The day before I found out that I was still $200 short. I still felt God calling me on this trip so I told my youth pastor, Justin, and he told me not to worry just come. So I did. From that moment and for the rest of this week every time I needed something He made it obvious that He was taking care of me. All I needed He provided and I was blessed to see it happen.
3. Fellowship is the sweetest vacation
Day and night being surrounded by people who love God and serve Him has been priceless. They have encouraged me beyond words and lifted my spirit with their humility and willingness to serve even when they were sick, sleep deprived, and falling apart themselves. We watched out for each other constantly asking if each person was doing alright. At the campfire before bed every night we would go around the circle and share the positive things God had done for us that day and what we had struggled with. Then we prayed for each other relentlessly. Oh! What an incredible difference did that make!
4. People are bigger than projects
Often when we go on missions trip here, we go with a project as our purpose. It may be building houses, painting and other maintenance, Vacation Bible School, giving out medicine, food or clothing, or maybe digging a well. All those things are great but they aren’t what give the people we serve a vision for eternity. If we complete the project and don’t show Jesus to the people around us then we have failed in our true mission. If we share Jesus with even one person and the project is never finished, the mission has been used for God’s glory!
5. Serving the servants
The best surprise blessing of all was how welcoming and loving our receiving church was. Sure we helped them finish a few projects and share Jesus with their community, but they showed us perseverant service in a difficult region and humbly took our instruction for a week as we took over their regular routine. Some even took time off work to serve alongside us! Their love for us, each other and their community made me wonder how much more I could be serving and sacrificing at home to serve the people around me.
I will start posting again daily sometime this upcoming week when I get back to a computer and the internet!