I took a small group of youth to help out one of our senior adult ladies today. We did some yard work, dug a few fence posts and put up a ramshackle fence. Oh yeah we even put a couple of 7th grade girls up on the roof to do some painting.
It wasn’t much of a thing, just a couple of hours, enough to need a shower, but not much hard labor by any means. Not a whole bunch of people came either (there were just six of us, 4 girls, 1 boy and me) and honestly I didn’t plan enough time to get the work done with those few people. But it was one of the biggest successes of our youth ministry in a long time, at least it felt that way to me.
I forget from time to time how powerful serving together can be. It has a way of helping people to form new bonds and to break down walls. It helps to open up conversation and create new relationships. Serving others is so fundamental to being who God created us to be so I can’t understand how I often forget important it is for students to serve together. It changes us, changes our focus, and changes our group.
For a few years we were a larger youth group and to do any sort of service I needed to have multiple chaperones and multiple weeks worth of planning. Who we are now is a smaller, but much more flexible group of students. I am very excited at the possibility of more “micro” mission trips like this. I think they can go a long way towards re-energizing our group.
Here is why I know I am a youth pastor. The first time I ever fly over the Atlantic, the first time I ever go to a different continent, I take a group of people with me.
Lots of things are happening for this trip, and I know that we are going to be living out the mission of Jesus while we are there, but right now my biggest thought is weight and baggage. Seriously, I sit here and imagine places to stick stuff, ways to make things weigh less, even to the point of trying to get all of the air out of everything because air has weight.
And of course we have a great church who loves to bring stuff so we are still getting little things to take with me which is amazing, but it also means one less shirt that I get to take for myself.
Just to catch you up on the particulars we will be going to Ethiopia next week. We will be working with a medical mission team to provide basic medical care for the people who live there and specifically the orphans who are part of Project 61. If you would like to help out with this trip feel free to click the “make a donation” button in the nav-bar. And thank you to those who have already given. It really means a great deal.
You never imagine how much you will miss the little things like throwing toilet paper into the toilet when you are finished, so it is very good to be home. My trip was amazing in so many ways and I will try as soon as I can to come up with some pictures and a more complete report. Let me just say that if your group is looking for a great place to do a medical mission trip for not a whole lot of money comparatively speaking drop me a line and I will tell you about a great little place in Ethiopia.
We are studying Jonah tonight because I thought it was a good story to talk about when you are talking about being sent. The more I got into the story the more I found myself identifying with Jonah, not at the beginning of the story, but at the end when he has gone and done what God told him to do and is whining because of God’s mercy.
Jonah had no love for the people he was supposed to be going out to see. I wonder if I have lost my love for lost people. As I search for passion again, I have to remember that part of that passion is a passion to help people who “don’t know their right from their left” find the path towards the one true God.
When I look at my life and the things that I am passionate about so few of them are things that actually make a difference in the grand scheme of things. When I look at the things that I decide to be upset about and get bent out of shape about in light of who God is and not only what He has done for me, but also what I have done to Him I feel like Jonah on top of a hill lamenting about my dead vine.
I feel like God is looking into my heart and saying, you are whining about your own comfort when there are thousands upon thousands who don’t know my name. Yes, I love you, but those are the people who I am calling you to reach. Those are the people who you should be passionate about as well. God is looking at my heart and telling me that I have been the 1 lost sheep, but now I am one of the 99 and I need to be a part of the search.
Wow, that thought just resonates with me. It is so easy to preach that I am the one sheep that God is willing to search for. It is a whole different part of the story when I realize that I am one of the 99 and I should be passionately searching after what God is searching after not simply my own comfort, amusement, and safety.
Below is a letter from my wife, Meredith, about the mission trip she is taking this summer to Guatamala. I thought I would ask you guys if you would like to support this mission as well. You can make donations 2 ways. 1) You can click the “donate now” button in the sidebar or 2) if you would like your donation to be tax deductable you can send a check to
Calvary Baptist Church
107 Baker Drive
Eufaula, AL 36027
As a young child my mother taught me in Mission Friends about the missionaries God sends around the world to tell people about Jesus. As a college student God placed a burden on my heart to be one of these international missionaries. Now as a mother of two small boys it is not easy for me to say, but “Yes, I still want to be one of these missionaries.”
And this year I have the opportunity to serve with a team from our church in Guatemala the week of July 11-17. We are working with the organization Happy Feet International based out of Gardendale, AL. We will be going into the mountain areas and taking shoes for the children – children who have never had a pair of shoes on their feet. More importantly we will be taking the gospel of Jesus Christ – to people who have never heard the name Jesus.
The cost of the mission trip is $2,225. If you would like to provide financial support for this trip, it would be greatly appreciated. Please make checks payable to Calvary Baptist Church and on the bottom of the check in the Memo section indicate “Meredith Mission Trip.” The trip must be paid in full by June 3.
If you cannot help financially, please be a prayer partner for me as I prepare to journey to Guatemala. I am excited about this opportunity to serve our Savior.