This past weekend we took about 50 high school students on a weekend retreat to the mountains of North Carolina. However, this was not the typical "have a lot of fun, study the bible, play ridiculous games, and stay up 'til 2:00am retreat. (Ok, we did do some of that!) No, the entire point of the retreat was to prepare for three summer mission trips. We have youth mission teams going to Nicaragua, Peru, and the Bahamas. (I promise it is a mission trip!)
If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely love taking students on cross-cultural experiences. Watching their eyes widen and their hearts explode as they experience "what the rest of the world lives like" is a true blessing to me. I believe it is one of the greatest things we can do for our students. These types of experiences, time and time again, lead to life change, ministry focus, and leadership development.
There is something special about loving on those who have great physical needs. This weekend, it became clear again why I need these experiences in my life. They are perfect reminders of the gospel. Some of the people who are in need are in need because of their poor sinful decisions (so am I). Many are blind to the help that is available to them (so am I). Some will reject the love and mercy that is extended to them (so will I). Some will not offer even a hint of thankfulness when compassion is shown to them (nor will I). Some will walk away unchanged by the words and deeds we offer (so will I).
I realize that my spiritual condition was and is just as bleak as the physical conditions that permeate the slums of third world countries. Additionally, I know that I routinely am blind to, reject, and go unchanged by the love and mercy that Christ so graciously offers me. However, the beauty of it all is that the gospel never stops coming. God's love reaches farther than any rejection I have to offer. The gospel keeps holding out hope for my soul, and that is why I will continue to hold it out for those in need.
National Review Children's Books
4 years ago