Almost 24 hours ago, I arrived home from my first missions trip. While my return marked the completion of one of my most challenging 101 list items, it also marked the end of one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. There are not enough words to describe the impact this trip had on my life! God was present just for me!
We spent our time beautifying the church, sharing gifts with the community, and sharing with a HIV/AIDS orphanage for children. Each experience was memorable in its own way. Working on the church was fun because I got to hang out with my Dad, but it was good for my soul because I observed a group of people who were so eager to help make their church look more inviting. While my Dad was on the roof strengthening its structure, I worked with a team who repainted the exterior of the church. I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful lady who is about my age, Miss Denise. Denise had a horrific life story, she was attacked by a man with a machete at 17 years of age. As a result, her hands and legs are deformed, but she does not view her life as a loss or waste. Denise worked all day and into the evening painting alongside us. When we would stop for a break, she kept on working. She shared with me that she gets so tired of people overlooking her abilities because they are so distracted by her physical disability. Her response to life was simply a song, “Look what the Lord has done!” What a beautiful spirit and testimony…where some of us, perhaps even my own self, would have given up on God, Denise lives to honor and serve Him with her whole life. Miss Denise has 3 beautiful little girls and loves the Lord with her entire being simply for His faithfulness.
I wonder what my response to my life would be if I slowed down long enough to think deeply about what the Lord has done in my life. Yes, God is faithful, He’s provided food, clothing, shelter, and employment, that’s the easy testimony, but God has done so much more for me! He spared my life when I knowingly did wrong and should have been punished, He covered me and protected me from harm when I decided church and faith weren’t for me, He allows me to live every day despite making poor health choices and being disobedient to His command to take care of the temple He has gifted me, He keeps His hand on me when I make deliberate choices to be sinful! Despite my desire to do things my way, God holds on to me from a distance so I won’t ruin my life. He saves my life daily for my good! That’s what the Lord has done and continues to do for me. This trip showed me that every once in a while I should step back and look solely at what the Lord has done and give intentional thanks!
If I’m completely honest, I thought I was going to Jamaica to serve others, but as I think more about my experience there, I’ve come to realize that this trip was really for me. God used the cover of a missions trip to take me away from my every day life to work on me and to teach me. It was a time for me to be challenged in my thought process, my discipline, my faith walk, and my insecurities in this life. I had moments to just reflect on me that were totally unexpected, and I left with so many questions to answer in my alone time. There are so many things to write about this trip, and I’ll be posting more over the next week, but the one thing that I’m so clear about is simply this…this mission was really just for ME! The time spent helping others was a blessing and a joy, but God ministered directly to me in my area of need in Jamaica. My time away was just the beginning of stepping out of my comfort zone…the real mission is just beginning!
Until next time…look for God doing His work in you in unexpected places!