I had the amazing privilege to spend spring break in Nashville with some classmates for a mission trip this past week. The following is the final reflection I wrote for my university’s blog:
This past week has been an amazing week full of service projects, community cultivation, and unexpected works of the Lord. As our team spent spring break in Nashville, I believe each member of our team encountered the Lord in new and exciting ways, probably in forms and places we never expected too.
I’m certain that going into this week, we all had our own expectations of what the week would look like, what it would hold for us, and those we encountered, as well as what the Lord wanted to do in our own lives through the experience. Though I knew it before, I know even more now, that these ideas are no limitation or hindrance to God’s greater vision and plan. His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. They are so much better…
I personally had several expectations of what the week would hold. I thought I knew what the Lord wanted to teach me through this mission trip, and I thought I had an accurate assumption of what to expect from each of our outreach projects. However, as the week progressed, I realized, again, that my thoughts are but a spec in God’s great plan.
We were privileged to partner with several ministries focusing on the homeless, inner city children, and at risk young women. Going into these outreaches, I thought my previous ministry experiences would have prepared me for the things I would encounter. I quickly realized, though, this was not quiet an accurate statement. I soon began to feel inadequate and ill prepared for the tasks before me. I found myself discouraged by the lack of fruit I was seeing, and became frustrated with what I thought was failure.
It was amazing how God used these moments of discouragement and weakness to build me up in ways I did not expect. It was in these moments that I began to grasp my true level of inadequacy, but yet in a way that paralleled beautifully with God’s overshadowing grace and sufficiency.
The Lord imparted this grace and sufficiency to me one night during our worship service. He revealed to me that He was pleased with me regardless of the progress I felt I was, or was not making. He reminded me that every task I put my hands to, and every individual I encountered, had already been pre-determined and ordained by His perfect plan. There was a purpose in all of it, and as I sought Him out in this, nothing I did or failed to do, was going to hinder what He had already orchestrated.
These realizations really ministered to my heart in a way I was not expecting. Like most, I went on this trip expecting to be an influence in the lives of others. While I know the Lord surely used the things I did while in Nashville to influence those I encountered, it was hard for me to actually see this fruit throughout most of the week. However, I saw abundantly more fruit in my own life than I could have ever expected. The Lord poured blessing upon blessing to me through the whole trip. He did this in spite of my discouragement, failures, and the many distractions trying to pull my focus away from service. He continually poured life into me. He did this through our service, He did this through our prayer and worship services, and He did this through the amazing community I was blessed to build over this past week.
I went into this trip only knowing a handful of the individuals going. I was astonished at how fast a strong since of community was built in our team. Never in my life have I built such strong and deep relationships so quickly. Being that strong, Christian community is something I have prayed for to the Lord for a long time now, this was truly a blessing to my soul. As He has recently began giving me this sense of community, this trip only solidified in my heart all He has already begun.
I am so grateful for the experiences we were blessed to encounter in Nashville this spring break. I am so thankful to have been able to share in these experiences with my Regent classmate. Like many others on our team, being back from this trip only leaves me longing so much more. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us in the future.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20