Sunday, July 23, 2017

Our Week in Charleston

I have had on my "to do" for days now to blog about our mission trip week in Charleston.  I have amazing pictures to share and we certainly had a wonderful time, but after such a spiritual experience it is so hard to put into words how God showed up for all 47 of us. After listening to our youth share their experience in Charleston in worship this morning, I knew I was finally read to put it into words. 

Youth ministry is not easy.  At all.  But I feel like this is exactly where God has called me to be for this season of my life.  I love these kids and I feel so privileged to get a front row seat to what God is doing in their lives.
This was  David's first ever mission trip.  Here he is with Miss Mary -our church host.  She prayed with me several times over the phone before we arrived, prayed and met with our group each night after worship and she was awesome!!  She is also a talented worship leader and key board player:) David was able to go becaue Mike was able to take a week's vacation and go as well!  Last year Mike could not go because he was transitioning to his new job and I remember his coworkers told me that last year he was annoyed he was not with us.  Well this year Mike was on the trip!!!!!

This picture makes my heart leap for joy.  We never planned for Hope to go on this trip but God had a different plan and it was amazing to watch her little 8 year old heart worship and serve God.  We had two complete families with us and it was awesome.  These three girls under the age of 12 handled the late nights and very early mornings like seasoned pros.  Their bibles were open, their hearts were huge and they served God like the big kids.  She and I served at a daycamp in Charleston and we had such fun with the toddlers in the morning and the elementary kids in the afternoon.

This picture also touches my Momma heart.  Hope adores Kyle and looks up to him so much.  She loves basketball like Kyle.  She loves Lebron James because of Kyle and my prayer is that her brother will take advantage of her devotion and teach her about Jesus and serving others.  Kyle served at an apartment complex.  They offered kids in the housing projects a safe place to come and play games and connect with them in order to teach them about God.  Kyle's site was outside in the heat all day long.  

Each night we had worship with an amazing band and then a pastor would come preach.  It blessed my heart to see youth with their bibles open following along.  Hope forgot her bible one night and she asked Mike to find the scripture on his phone so she could follow along.
Joshua 24:15 says "as for me and my family we will serve the Lord" and I hope our children know that we are not perfect parents (way far from it) but we love them and we love our Lord.  It was such a blessing to serve together.  We as a family will forever have precious Charleston memories tucked in our hearts.
It was hot in Charleston and one day we were given a free afternoon to do something together as a group.We thought we would go to the beach with the kids during our 3.5 hours of free time to relax .  Well.... the kids had served so well and were so hot and tired they chose to stay on campus and nap, eat at a nearby mall, or swim.  I was such a proud youth leader that they realized this trip was about serving and not about playing on the beach.  I joked that even the pool was hot in Charleston!  We are mountain people and we are not used to the humidity and heat!
Hope corraling toddlers...
I felt so blessed that me and my girl got to spend the week together serving toddlers in Charleston.  I looked over one day and watched Hope put her little girl down for a nap and I almost starting weeping.  She talked so sweetly to her as she covered her up with her blanket and patted her back until she was asleep.

This trip was very emotional for this youth leader.  One night we had prayer stations placed around this beautiful reflecting pond outside of the chapel.  The youth had to write on the prayer wall who had helped them grow in their faith and also who they were praying for.  I allowed the youth to pray first and then I stepped up with Hope to write my names down of who had encouraged my faith along the way.  I then saw that several of our youth had written my name down.  I am teary now writing this.  I came undone.  Like snot flying kind of undone.

 To think that some of our youth put my name down as someone who has pointed them to Christ overwhelmed me.  No matter how much money we will ever make, what size house we have, what cars we  drive or what my bank statement says is nothing compared to seeing my name down on a prayer wall in sticky Charleston SC written by teeangers with colorful sharpies.  It made me realize that God has me right where he wants me.  Youth ministry is not glamourous, profitable or even easy but it is worth every single minute when you can show teens that in the middle of this crazy life there is a savior who is desperate to spend time with them.

This ole gal is not perfect and i have certainly had my fair share of screwups and made some bad decisions, but when I was 19 years old Jesus got a hold of me.  I got saved on a Sunday night at Calvary Baptist Church in Radford.  Since then life has thrown me some curve balls but I know who I belong to.  I desperately want our youth to see that I am not perfect but my Jesus is.  I am not always  faithful to Him but he is.  This song I got Saved is my new favorite song. It so perfectly sums up my night with Jesus back in 1995 ( I think).  I love the line "I've got Jesus how could I want more."  I want these youth to know that true success in life has nothing at all to do with world possessions but has to do with living a life that honors God and serves Him well.

Now you understand why it took me so long to blog about this trip.  This gal went there to show teens how to serve but got humbled when they made me remember that my job not to plan amazing outings. or feed them a lot, or all the other things that distract me in youth ministry.  My single and solitary job is to point them to God and let Him do the rest.  He is after all desperate to spend time with us all.

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