Hey just wanted to tell you once again how thankful I am to be sharing such real, life-changing God Gold with you. It’s been such a wild week following around the stories and catching all the highlights of this mission trip. It truly is incredible the learning that’s taking place for myself and each student as we step into the unknown of missions work. Like I’ve told you, it’s really difficult to put all the God is doing into words but by His grace, I hope I can give you a message that touches and teaches your heart along with makes you feel like you were literally here with us.
So, here we are, DAY #3!!! The day started like any other, breakfast and devotion time. What was neat to see during devotion time was how before a leader was even in the room, without being told, the students were in their Bibles and journals getting started. The students have been learning and recognizing the power of this quiet time to start their day and it’s awesome to see them living in this new habit. It also blows my mind how seemingly everyday, the Word discussed in devotion time is SOOO fitting for the day and the perfect type and amount of fuel needed for our hearts to serve. Day #3 was the same, the devotion fit to our day like a glove, the main verses being discussed were;
“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
And on top of that Gold, some verses about how Jesus tells us we should “take up our cross daily.” Its this idea of sacrificing and letting go of yourself, sacrificing our comfort for others around us, to serve them and share the love of God with them. It’s a powerful truth from God’s Word and as you’ll see throughout the day, this application was the theme for all of the students. And Pastor Matt was able to continue challenging the students in the question; “what does taking up cross and serving like this look like back home?”
That’s has been the overall challenge for the students since day one, how can we take the lessons and experiences gained here and bring an eternal impact to our community? It’s going to be fun to see how this question is played out as we return home but for now, let’s see what else happened in day 3.
After devotion time, a group of guys went out to mow grass, weed eat, and pick up trash. This group was able to work together and get a lot of grass mowed that the Dream Center leader, Steve, had been needling to do. They got to mow one house in the community and then right beside that one, one of the leaders noticed how the house beside it needed their grass cut too. So as he was prompted to serve them, him and one other guy went over there and began helping these two older people out with their grass. It was wild how random and divine this moment was. The guys had no idea how much their obedience to serve, and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even if it was out of the guidelines, just how much that helped this older couple. After finishing their yard, just as the students had been doing all week, we asked if their was anything they needed prayer for, the woman looked at us and immediately said oh yes!! Please!!!! It turns out the old man sitting there was in really bad health and his keeper had been diagnosed with a tumor in her heart, she had been in the hospital for quite a minute so the older lady was having to take care of him. It was definitely a situation that needed prayer and amazing how God sent the guys there in front of people who truly needed the power of prayer and Jesus in their life. Stinkin amazing!
While the guys had been mowing another group of students were going through and organizing school supplies for the Kid’s club give-away coming up this Saturday. They were hard at work and learning what true “team work” looks like as they helped each other sort and organize, packing the supplies into little boxes to be big time blessings for kids in the area.
On with the day, the guys finished up mowing and the school supplies were packed up, we headed to lunch. After lunch was over another group of guys were sent out to mow another houses grass and a group was sent to organize and clean up the tool shed. The shed work didn’t take overly long but it did require a high amount of team work as kids learned to lean on each other and work together. I think they are really starting to grasp how truly untouchable and powerful they are when they are together. They got the shed looking a shined up and went back inside to wait on the next task.
The team that had went mowing, well their job was a little wilder than the shed clean up. I saw a couple of the guys get back just drenched with sweat, with that “I’m about to die” look on their face. Come to find out the yard they worked on today had not been mowed in quite some time so they had their work cut out for them. They had to mow knee high grass with push mowers so I’m sure you could imagine. But once again the team continued to sacrifice theirselves for the benefit of others.
What was awesome to hear about too, after challenging the students to ask God for opportunities to serve, one of the girls prayed about sharing the Gospel. And gosh it’s crazy how God never seems to let ya down! While at that house mowing grass she was there picking up trash and had the chance to play and talk with this group of kids. She began playing with them for awhile and building relationships with them and when the opportunity came, she jumped on it. She opened up and shared the “3 Circles” which is the Gospel with them and with them being younger she was able to see how to bring it to their level and really connect with them. Many of the kids in the groups were were heavily connecting with it and asking really good questions, she even challenged them to share this with their friends and there they went!!! They were off, running to their friends to show them. Truly amazing how God is working in the lives of our students and teaching them how to live on mission for Christ!!!!
After all the team got back together, we split up into two groups again and went out canvassing for the Kid’s Club ministry, handing out flyers and spreading the word about the big “back-to-school bash coming up this Saturday! It was another great experience for our students to be pushed out of their comfort zones, in some pretty rough parts of town, going door to door, sharing this news with strangers and praying for people. I don’t care how old you are, there is a lot of uncomfortable in that, but the students were handling it like champions. What was starting to take shape though which was easy to read on all their faces, after being outside in the HOT Florida heat all day, the heat even hotter now than it had been, the students were getting tired and hot. But although you could see how worn out they were, the devotion continued fueling truth into their lives, “pick up your cross,” the students were literally picking up their crosses and pushing through the pain and heat. As we went house to house it was so cool to see how much of a presence the Kid’s Club ministry has built in the community! There was a couple of kids that wanted to walk with us that are long time kids club followers, we got to hang out with them and they pointed us out to every kids house in the neighborhood. We had been given a list of possible kids houses that had been to kids club before but it was so awesome to get what kids club and the Dream Center is doing to even more families and kids.
The neighborhoods that we were walking through were definitely on the rougher end. It was obvious to see some of the hurt and need in that area which raised up the magnitude of why we’re doing what we’re doing even more. There was a few houses that completely rocked some of us, walking up to one door and randomly knocking on the door without knowing if it was on the list or not. We knocked and when realizing it wasn’t on the list, the door opened, a mother standing there with her 4 kids. What a God ordained moment that led us to that house when we could have so easily went by the list and passed by it. Now these kids have access to the resources of kids club and the Dream Center where they will be completely surrounded by Jesus! The next house we went to after that huge blessing took place was one of the kids addresses on the list but there was a master lock on the door. Signs that they have been evicted. It was a huge perspective changer for all of us and thankfully we had the chance to pray right there in front of the house for that family!
Also, on the canvassing, it was wild watching some of our more quieter students stepping up to the plate and embracing the opportunity to share about kids club with the community! Instead of being forced to go knock on doors and talk to people, these kids were embracing it, one in particular that these tasks go WAY out of his comfort zone. The dude was going door to door, not slowing down or thinking twice but just getting after it and getting it done. I had walked up to one door with him and was preparing to help speak when he says, “I’ve got this, it’s way out of my comfort zone but I’ve gotten pretty good at this.”
Daggum, stinkin incredible!!! I can’t tell you how much we’ve seen stories like this taking place over the last few days in kids lives.
Later, last night we had the chance to join the youth at Victory church to worship and hear some good Word. It was a cool experience for the students to experience youth group in a different atmosphere and meet new people their age. The time there was very special and welcoming from everyone at Victory. The main point of the message was “trust issues”, referencing to Matthew 14:22-30 where Jesus walks on water and Peter does the same. It was a message that really hit home with a lot of our group, learning what trusting in Jesus can bring to our lives.
After church, the team headed back to the Dream Center where we had pizza, ice cream and got involved in some WILD games of hide and seek!
To end the night we finished up in reflection as usual, like always it was the highlight of the day. Getting to hear from students hearts on how God is moving in their lives. To share just a few of the many highlights and lessons learned here we go: the biggest challenge of the day was the heat and everyone being tired and in this time of reflection it was obvious how the students continued to push through all day despite how they felt for the sake of others they were serving. It was amazing watching students surrender themselves and attack the mission Christ has given us to spread His goodness into the world around us.Another lesson learned was how powerful worship can be in pursuing God. With students being young in their faith, there was a chance to challenge some of them in their worship. The students were able to really get a better grasp of how powerful worship can be in their relationship with God.
Once again, we touched on and heard from students how they specifically prayed for things with God such as, “boldness to serve”, “sharing the Gospel” and so much more. Then last night we got to hear how God has brought those opportunities into their lives and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the students were able to recognize just how limitless and powerful they can be when backed by the power of God in their lives.
One last thing is just how in only 3-4 days, students lives are literally being transformed before our eyes. It’s one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen but it’s a product of what happens when we are pushed out of our comfort zone to serve and live in mission, then having no choice but to lean on God, it opens up the door to know and experience God at work in our lives in even bigger ways. Students and leaders too, their lives are being broken down and completely changed right now and it’s so awesome to watch. But I want to challenge you in this, to step out of the comfort zone, whatever that looks like for you just faithfully step out and do something for the Lord that is way out of your “usual.” It doesn’t matter if you are at the grocery store, working a job, or at school, if you step out in obedience, that’s when God is going to open you up to the fullness of life with Him, trust that God has you and watch Him change your life too.
Seriously I’m calling to you today to step out, you don’t have to be on a mission trip to step out, you just have to be obedient!