I think there are moments, moments when the weariness of this world weighs, where the day to day the normal becomes stagnant. Faith can feel at times like a day to day grind something I do, not something I live. But then something stunning, something incredible shakes us out of it. If we choose to see it, it can opens our eyes to all that God is doing, all He will continue to be doing. The stress of life falls away and life is full and joyful. We can be present in the moment, being aware of God throughout my day. Mission trips for me are exactly this. They are the best week out of the year. I spend a week on little sleep, incredibly busy, but fully of excitement and joy. It’s like the Joy of the Lord for an entire week. This mission trip, this one blew me out of the water.
We joined God in his passion for people and care for others. Before we left for the trip I was asked one question quite a lot: it’s been almost a year is there anything left to do? I didn’t know how to answer, was there work for us to do? Could they have gotten everything cleaned up?
What we walked into I did not expect. Families are still displaced, families who’s homes are still destroyed and can’t be lived in, and families who have nothing left. It’s been 9 months and the homes we worked on, the owners still were not living there. They hadn’t been living there for 9 months. One lived in a trailer and another with their parents. The houses had to be torn down to the studs, nothing was left. It’s been 9 months and these families homes are just now starting to be rebuilt.
When we joined Next Step Ministries for the week it wasn’t about us coming in to save the day. We joined in all God was already doing, all the ways God was moving, and changing lives. We joined house projects, we joined the community, we joined the family in the work needed to be done. We were not the saviors, we were the humble servants to come along side. Many of us were able to work with families side by side during these projects. It was an honor to spend the week as partners.
Our youth worked on 2 of the 7 homes as building projects for during the week. They drywalled, mudded, and sanded (repeat) all week. We would get to the site around 8:30 am and stay until 4:00 pm with a lunch break. We worked in incredible heat and humidity, and even many times without air-conditioning. One group didn’t have a The work was hard, long and hot but we loved every moment of it!
You would be proud you know, of how they handled themselves. These youth they are incredible, they are a force to be reckoned with. When they join with God and put their faith in the work they do, they are unstoppable.
One drywalled a bathroom with another leader in ONE day. Other students worked on drywalling a closet and did it to perfection. Still, others mudded and sanded, mudded and sanded, oh and mudded and sanded. Not once did they complain about the work. Not once if they were bored did they ask to do something else. They worked tirelessly throughout the day and cared deeply for the homes we worked on as if it was their own.
They worked in stupid hot weather, they gave their all, and they did it in the name of Christ. We worshiped every night together learning and growing in ways we never imagined. We learned what it means to love recklessly, to love without worry, to love with abandon for ALL people. They wrestled with hard questions, they supported each other, leaned on each other, and gave their hearts to God.
Thank you for all of your love and support! These life-changing mission trips could not happen without all of you! Thank you!