Sunday, August 1, 2010

Unintentional Enrollment - Missions Trip Recap

While driving to Mississippi on last summer's missions trip, I vividly remember writing up some five year goals. Among other things, one of them was 'to be more comfortable ministering to people of all ages'. Well, little did I know, God was going to answer/fulfill that goal this summer. Have I ever told you I'm deathly afraid of middle and upper elementary age children? Okay, deathly is a trifle strong, but it was definitely a viable fear in my mind.

I signed up for the Colorado Springs trip, thinking I was going to be working with preschoolers. I'd worked with that age for the past four years. No biggie, right?

Because I'd signed up late, I had a ton of paperwork to wade through rather quickly and that added to the sense of dread and negativity I had as the trip approached. As I felt my heart push out against the trip, I could hear myself literally begging for prayer from anyone I talked to about the trip.

Well, I can't recall precisely how, but at a team meeting, I got reassigned to middle elementary and also agree to teach two of the five lessons. That sort of freaked me out. Funnily enough, it was that one step into deeper water that set me on solid ground. My negativity didn't go, but my dread had almost completely dissipated. I knew this was a God-thing.

The roadtrip to Colorado was fun, except almost every phone call we got was a team member dropping out. I wrote in my journal.

We kept hearing that people couldn't come. Rachel got shingles. David Livingston was precariously rethinking coming because of a case of the flu. Lydia Bode broke her arm and Johnny got mono. We say, "Not by might, not by power, but by the word of God we will conquer." We are Gideon's army. We are subdued but fearless. Our hearts bound with an otherworldly joy. All our prayers will be answered.

Once we got there, sans shingled Rachel, I discovered there was a lot more depending on me than I thought. Praying that God would give grace to restrain my control freak side, I managed to work through my feelings of insufficiency and inability and carry out what was needed. I was so thankful for Karin, David's wife. She gave perfect doses of direction and encouragement. Also a gal named Shannon joined us once we got there and she pretty much ran our joint small group of eight to twelve year old girls. That was nice, 'cause then I could spend more time freaking out about teaching. ^_^

The night before my first lesson, I had a talk with my dearest Bekah and was encouraged by Mr. Ayers to just speak from my heart. Reviewing the lesson, I realized it was all about idolatry, which is what God has been teaching me lately. How perfect! I wrote in my journal.

teaching today. i was super negative last night about doing it. but it seems okay now. read morning dedication from vov (valley of vision) even if I do it badly and embarrass myself, perhaps God will plant something I say into a little heart. I trust in You.

If I said the kids were just well-behaved or the curriculum was really good - although both were - I would be misapplying credit. God was there. And he evidently had something he wanted to teach these darling children. Looking back, I'm incredibly humbled he chose to use me. I am reminded of the words of the Bebo Norman song, "Take these hands and lift them up, for I have not the strength to praise to near enough."

The days were spent in the awe-inspiring Colorado Spring valley, surrounded by God's glorious stacks of descending blue hill-fences. Another treat was a horse-back ride through Garden of the Gods. My horse Sage. We also went hiking (or clambering as Shannon aptly put it) to the Punch Bowls, a series of waterfalls and natural pools in the Colorado foothills. I spent my mornings helping build castles with 'God Always Wins banners' and trying to explain what heaven might look like. Afternoons, after a lovely lunch at the castle, we played on the lush green lawns of Glen Eyrie, with the lovely castle looking down on us, as if from another century. In the evenings, I chillaxed wid some of the coolest cats on the block. Adrienne, Haley, Bekah and the one and only Gigi!

"Anyone who sees an emo bedbug in skinny jeans - that's an instant win!" -Bekah

"Yummy Mushrooms Are Walnuts?" -Adrienne, trying to figure out what YWAM meant

Counting Gigi, I had ten lovely ladies in my group. Our last night together turned into a rather emotional farewell and as I rode back to the YWAM where we stayed, my heart was full. I was going to miss my team, our busy, lovely days and my dear girls. As I processed it all, I realized there was no place I'd rather have been. Although there was definitely lots of stress and planning to do (hate planning!), I was surprised how enjoyable 'doing hard things' was.

There, God, I learned my lesson and am closer to meeting my goal, plus I had fun doing it! Can I just say, you are the best Teacher ever? I'm enrolled in your school for life!


Listening to The O.C. Supertones - The Shepherd Is The Lamb


  1. Yaaaaaaaaaay! I'm so happy for you. I'm glad it went well, even though it was freaky. =) I love you and I will continue praying.

  2. I felt exactly the same way about leaving SE Asia. I ended up working with JH/SHers and loved every minute of it. But so so so hard to leave.....I want to get together and swap stories soon!

  3. yaaay God! He is awesome! and what a blessing that He gave you such a tremendous glimpse of His character, and His work in these children. it sounds like He did beautiful things. i'm excited to hear more and i'm praising God for the evidences of HIS grace in your life that are all over this blog post. =)

    colossians 1.28-29