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“Life Changing”

 

These last two days have been emotional. Majorly emotional. Saying goodbye to 26 individuals who were all strangers to me two weeks ago but are now some of my best friends – goodbye to a beautiful country with even more beautiful people in it – goodbye to leaders who have become huge role models – going back home which means being submerged in the world… It’s a lot to take in.

As our team reflects on our time together, the most common words I hear are “life changing”. Most people describe mission trips as “life changing” experiences. I’ve even found myself saying “Wow, this was utterly life changing”. But when a team mate of mine asked me today “how are you different?” I had a hard time answering.

Is it really a life changing experience? How are you different? How will life back home be different? How will your spiritual life be different? I’ve been doing a whole lot of soul searching today and this is what I’ve been able to come up with:

How are you different now from when you started?

2 weeks ago, I was complacent. I was a lukewarm Christian – not coldly against Him, but not on fire for Him. I was lukewarm about Jesus but dead inside about life. I had a hard time finding purposes because to me, life was the way the beginning of Ecclesiastes describes life – “like chasing the wind”. What’s the point? We live, we suffer, we die. Life was a game and I was done playing. I struggled to find a reason to get fired up because I found my fulfillment in the things of this world. When you are fulfilled by the things of the world, you will ALWAYS come up short. This is because everything in life is temporary except for Him. Everything in life is temporary except for the gospel. Everything in life is temporary except for the furthering of His kingdom. Everything is here today and gone tomorrow except for JESUS. This trip has given me a new outlook on life. That life is a gift. This trip has reminded me of my reason for living – for Him and Him alone.

How will life be different from now on?

He is inviting us on an adventure every. single. day. and He wants us to take His hand and walk in that. I can’t sit here and say “From now on I will read my Bible for 3 hours every day and I am never sinning again” because that would be setting myself to up to fail. However, my expectations for myself are much higher after this experience. Because of this trip, I see that I can’t live by His word or teach His word if I don’t know it. Because of this trip, I see that I truly have to rely on Him for everything and I have to rely on Him in every aspect of my life. Because of this trip, I see that keeping God #1 is absolutely necessary. Because of this trip, I understand that I can no longer tolerate sin or find a justification for my sinful nature. Because of this trip, I understand that God doesn’t need me, He wants me. Because of this trip, I know the importance of being the church — loving God and loving others. Because of this trip, I have a deeper understanding of God fighting for me and interceding for me. Because of this trip, I realize that life has to be about God. “Without the potter, the clay is just dirt.” There is nothing more fulfilling than being in God’s will and doing His work. Nothing is more fulfilling than His love.

I’ve had experiences that I thought were life changing but within a few weeks, I’m right back where I started. It is my prayer that this would not be true for our team. That we would take what we learned and take it to our communities and eventually, the ripple effect will have allowed us to touch more people than we could have imagined. I pray that our team would stay close and keep each other accountable. More than anything, it is my prayer that my team would see a radical change in their lives and that Jesus would be their sole purpose for living. I love you, Jamaica Family.

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