Sunday, July 14, 2013

This Summer

From June 9th until July 7th, I was serving on a mission trip, The Impact Service Project. Honestly, when I had first applied to attend and serve on the mission I really didn't know what to expect. The directors of the mission had told me that we would be "serving" in the city of Raleigh, NC, but at the time I really didn't know all of what that meant. I knew just enough about the summer mission to feel comfortable enough to apply, but I was still feeling pretty uneasy about a lot of things.

One of the things in particular that really placed me on edge and uncertain about serving on the Impact Service Project were my parents. My parents are nice people (for the most part), but when it comes to things that they deem as important - getting a summer job, saving some money, etc - we don't always agree. This summer my parents really wanted me to stay home, but I really felt God leading me to go to Raleigh and serve this summer. In a respectful and God-honoring way, I sat my parents down to explain to them about the summer mission. Me talking to them did nothing as far as them seeing my point of view; however, God had begun to do work in their hearts that even now I'm still trying to understand fully.


I began raising support at the beginning of April, sending out letters of support and talking to people to explain to them the summer mission and how they could help me out as far as actually attending the summer mission. Things slowly picked up, and by the middle of May I had a little over half of the support money I needed to attend the Impact Service Project. At that point, I was completely out of people to get in touch with. Even the people that had given me names to get in touch with had already responded. All I knew to do at the point was pray.


From May 14th until the 21st I prayed that God would provide a way for me to attend the Impact Service Project. It wasn't until May 31st that I actually got two letters in the mail, one from my uncle and another from a church member. Within less than a week after that, I was able to get connected with more people and was able to raise the rest of the support money I needed for the summer mission. God is an awesome God!


After that, I thought God was through with me. I thought He had just placed the icing on the cake for me and the summer mission was just going to be me serving and helping the community out. Boy, was I wrong!


From the time of our first group training session, to learning how to inductively study the Bible, to our small/growth groups I constantly saw God show me how little control I had over my own life and how my life really didn't belong to me. I was understanding things better, but yet everything wasn't fully clicking in my brain. Three of the biggest areas that God showed Himself to me this summer were during my growth group meetings, serving at the YMCA, and my one-on-one time with my discipler. 


Although at times it was painful to in growth groups on Wednesday nights, God revealed many issues that I had built up about myself and about others that had hurt me in the past. Between serving at the YMCA and growth groups God convicted me but ultimately He continually showed His grace and forgiveness towards me. It was like every time I wanted to wallow in how bad of a sinner I was, He constantly reminded me of the love Jesus displayed for me on the Cross and the love He consistently shows me daily, every hour, and every second of the day. In every situation and temptation that I'm faced with, I feel Jesus pulling my eyes back towards the Cross. Serving at the YMCA showed me that everyone needs the gospel, no matter how young or old they are. Just serving with the children and the staff softened my heart towards how desperate this world is in need of the gospel. My discipler also pointed out areas where I needed to grow in pertaining to how I communicate and approach others. 


This summer project has taught me a lot of things. The biggest thing that I've learned this summer is what it means to truly love God and love others. The process of God working in me didn't begin when I got to Raleigh; it began even before I submitted my application to attend this summer mission. What I've learned and the community that I have developed in the past few weeks have had a lasting impact on my life, and only God knows where this summer's lessons will take me in the future.