Every year for the past three summers I have gone to the Cheyenne River Reservation to share the gospel and grow relationships with the kids living there. Feeling like a “veteran” approaching the trip this year, I felt the need to be an example and try to prepare the new folks as much as I could. As we loaded up 15 passenger vans to start our trip, there was something settling strangely in my heart.
It wasn't until I had, in the eyes of others, "failed" by my duty that I realized what that feeling was. There were days our crafts supplies were not present or visual aids went wrong, but greater things happened than I could have ever expected.
We had multiple children accept Jesus as their Savior, discipled those we knew were believers in ways we couldn't have anticipated and made new relationships with adults. I realized as we left the reservation and looked back on everything that my tainted, human view of perfection is not worth the time of day in comparison to what God can accomplish. In anticipating the trip I was becoming spiritually equipped for what God had in mind for our team. Multiple children accepted Jesus as their Savior, we discipled kids we knew were born again and taught them how to spend time with God, and we made relationships with those we never expected. I was humbled that I was surprised by these things.
The God that can move mountains can obviously do all these things, but I was not expecting them. Instead of anticipating a harvest and time for growing, I was too worried that we'd not have enough Mod Podge.
I learned to anticipate our Mountain Mover to move.
I’m reminded to Jesus speaking to the disciples in Matthew 17. He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
I expressed to someone that I feel like I started living on this trip. Everything before it wasn't the same. I know now it is because I realized that my own love for the kids and attempt at effort will never be enough. My so called "love" for God and His Gospel wasn't enough.
The freedom I found in giving up my goals and anticipations and letting His Spirit be my guide was enough.
The night before we made our journey home we went star gazing. As I looked at this spectacle so much bigger than myself I thought of a song that goes:
"I found a love greater than life itself...I once was lost now I'm alive in You."
Sometimes it takes God sending you 26 hours away to realize that a passionate heart and love for Him gives pure life. Maybe it's an answered prayer of a son coming back to his foundation of faith. Or a new transition in life.
Whatever you're “ah-ha moment”, realize that a true love for Jesus and His mission starts with the heart that is willing to be willing.
Check out Abbey's pictures below of their trip!