Friday, August 31, 2012

My life for the gospel


On July 5th, this is the first thing I wrote in my journal. HELP!

Papa wanted to make it very clear to me that I couldn't do anything with out Him this summer... but at the same time, I didn't need anyone else to affirm me or guide me. I can hear His voice and His leading, and that's all I needed.
My time in training in Texas was probably the most difficult part of the whole trip for me. At times I was certain that I needed to pack up and go home- this Team Leader thing was NOT for me!
I pushed through though and it ended up being fantastic... after it was over anyways! HA!

I learned so much in those days in Texas. God wanted to give me a crash course in trusting him and trusting myself. And crash course I took. If I were honest, I would have to say I think I passed! :)

I think that the thing that made training so difficult for me was that the first half of it... from the 4th-7th at lunch time... I was pretty much alone in it. My Project Director (PD) and the other Team Leader (TL) who were going to be with me had to debrief with the trip that they had been on for the month of June. There was going to be a second PD, but that ended up changing last minute. Thankfully, another guy was able to step in and help me at times... It made the process less hellish. Even though the process was extremely difficult and I had moments where I was sure I was going to lose all control, I am so thankful for that part of the trip. I am so thankful for that time. The struggles that I had really set me up to win on the trip. I realized how much #1 I needed Jesus and #2 that Jesus wasn't going to leave me to fail.

That time ended up being more than worth it as I began to really get to know the precious missionaries who God entrusted to me and my CoLeader, Jacob.
Me and Jacob, my co leader
This next picture was taken on one of the most difficult days of my trip. It was Missionary Advisor Candidate (MAC) arrival day. Just before session. I am so thankful for these women. They are all excellent leaders! Every one of these girls have so much potential. They all love Jesus so much. I know that they each carry His heart for people and for the nations of the world.
Missionary Advisor (MA) Candidates

Our country mixer... Game time!
The next two pictures are of the moment I was most excited about during the whole process. I got to meet part of my team! Rather, they got to meet me... since I had the list! :) Looking in to each of their eyes was so humbling for me. As I shared the vision with them I pleaded with God in my heart to help me lead them well. I had no idea what the next month held, but I trusted God to bring his promises to pass. This is the moment that I had waited for with great anticipation... When it finally happened I was so humbled. It was such an honor and a privilege to get to lead this team. Who am I to be trusted with so great a task? Jesus, thank you for your grace upon grace!

Talking with (part) of my team for the first time! 
I love my team so much. This is one of my favorite moments! 

Right before a session
B Trippers before we left for India
Our team (minus 2) after the trip
At the end of the trip, the missionaries that sat before me were completely different teens. I have never seen a greater, more drastic change in a group of teens in a month as I did in that moment. Jacob and I had the opportunity to look into the eyes of beautiful young women (and man!) who are the perfect example of overcomers. These young adults really did rise up and overcome this summer. It was an honor to get to watch them overcome and be who God created them to be. I will never be the same because of them.

Our first drama site
Our first day of ministry was very stretching for me. I was faced with a several decisions that I did not feel equipped to make. I had to make several decisions by myself without being able to consult Jacob or Bee, our PD. I was so stretched and challenged and overwhelmed. But guess what... Jesus didn't fail me. I made the calls and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED! It ended up being perfect. Who knew... Jesus is on my side and I am led by His Spirit! HA! He wanted me to win just as much as I wanted to win! Wow. Crazy huh!!?
The drama portion of the ministry site was almost a disaster! Really, to man it looked like a total disaster. Our music didn't work, we had to use the English version of the music and a Pastor translated for us. (Huh, funny... I happened to bring the sheet that had all the words on it with me that day "just in case we needed it" Jesus? You.Are.Good.)
The picture shown above shows a (very drunk) man being grabbed before he tries to "help" one of our missionaries. In this scene of the drama, Tommy, our Journey Man, has turned to pleasure, alcohol, partying to find purpose in his life. He is sitting on the ground acting drunk/hungover when the Indian man tries to help him up. (Always an adventure in India!) This day we did the drama right in front of a Hindu temple. It was a beautiful, powerful site. I shared the gospel (the net) and many were saved. Jesus, You are simply beautiful. You use the weak. Thank you for using me.

The next picture was taken at a leper colony. This precious man was a believer who was blind and had leprosy. He was filled with so much joy. I know that this picture will forever be engraved in my heart. Hearing him sing changed my life. God, who am I to be so blessed with this life changing opportunity? You are too good to me.
Leper colony
 This beautiful girl's name is Joy. She loved that we had the same name! She lives her name out loud. So precious. She is going to change her village. Joy was a member of the church that we were working with this day. She lives in a village that is filled with suicide and depression. Her village is right by a huge lake where many people come to commit suicide. She shines hope in the most hopeless place. My favorite memory with her took place after our team did the drama. One of my missionaries, Julia, asked me if there was a translator available because she needed someone to translate for her. I looked around and all of the pastors and translators were busy with other groups. Joy had been hanging pretty close to me and talking to me. She knew English well. I continued my frantic search to find an available translator for Julia when I heard Jesus say "Joy." I paused and realized how foolish I had been. I had overlooked the most precious in the kingdom. I overlooked the young... why? Because she had no title. She had no recognition as a translator or training as a pastor. Who am I Jesus? I repent for overlooking the ones that you have called and gifted. I repent for thinking that the young, untrained, are not able to be used by you. Joy may not have had training, she may not have had a title... but she was willing and she was available. I grabbed her hands and looked her straight in the eyes. I said "Joy, will you translate for my friend Julia? She needs your help." The look in Joy's eyes about brought me to my knees in tears. Joy was so excited to be used by Jesus. She said "Yes! I will help them understand."
Jesus, don't ever let me forget that moment. You use the foolish to shame the wise. You use the weak to shame the strong. You blow me away time and time again. Thank you Lord for lessons learned from a young indian believer who is willing to be used by you. May my heart echo her heart, "Yes, I will help. Yes, I am available to be used by God."
Joy and Joy
Overwhelmed. That's what I feel when I reflect back on my trip. I could share (and slowly will share) so many more stories and videos and pictures. I had such a good trip this summer. I absolutely adore each of my missionaries. I have no doubt that one day I will return to India. Jesus, My life for the gospel.

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