If you are involved in any way with ministry, you probably have been on a mission trip at some point locally, nationally or internationally. I've been on plenty of mission trips doing construction, VBS and more. A lot of work goes into planning a mission trip, but every second is worth the eternal return of God working in and through each person that you encounter.
As I think about this past week in Costa Rica with 40 from Church @ The Springs, my heart is full. God revealed to me once again that I need to continually love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.
I learned that God is at work outside of America. Yes, it is true. To put it in perspective, the Costa Rican missionaries prayed for our group for a long time before we showed up at the airport. When we arrived, we weren't "bringing God" to them, but we were joining them in what God was already doing in their country! I am grateful to be an American. But when it comes to the kingdom of God, America is a blip on the radar of God's vision for the gospel. Jesus has called ALL of us in Matthew 28:19-20 to "Go and make disciples of all the nations..."
I learned that this generation wants to make a difference in the world. I watched student-after-student share God's Word, share their testimonies, listen and pray for the Costa Rican children. Not one complained to me about serving all week. They were happy to do it. I listened as they worshipped together as they sang loud each evening. Some were on their knees praying for God to work. I watched them pray for one another. I truly believe that students are the church now and not the "future."
I learned that spending quality time with God matters more than "doing." I read my Bible and pray. I'm sure you do as well. As I spent MORE time doing that on the mission trip than I usually do in everyday life, it revealed to me how I must slow down. I journaled more and wrote out prayers. I stopped. I wasn't looking through my to-do list. I learned to allow my heart to open to God, and I prayed that I could continue this within the busyness of being a student pastor, husband and father of two children under two years old!
An excerpt from my journal:
"God thank you for humbling me and so many others this week. You are working in every heart and I pray that it will take root and last long beyond the trip. Help these students and adults continue to grow as leaders and to be on mission everyday. Help me to lead well and to stay close to you everyday and not get caught up in the the busyness of life. Pour out your love and power upon my life. Give me your passion to carry out your plan. Help me to be faithful and willing to do whatever it takes to make You famous. Break my heart for what breaks yours heart. Thank you for calling me and using me."