During Spring Break, I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Las Vegas, NV on a mission trip with six other friends with Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, MS. We partnered with a church, Tropicana Christian Fellowship (TCF) and a refugee ministry called Safely Home throughout the week. We worked on various tasks at both places. Being in Las Vegas for a week, was an incredible experience! I could not imagine doing anything else for Spring Break for this semester! Here are eight topics that I learned more about while I was gone for Spring Break!
1. We are the hands and feet of Jesus everyday.
1 Corinthians 12:27 says, "Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it." (HCSB) During the week, I helped organize the closets at Tropicana Christian Fellowship. You are probably thinking, "Well, okay. We all do that at some point every year." I was not only organizing, I was lifting boxes, rearranging various items, and I had the attitude of Christ while doing it. To know that I was helping the church organize items, was an awesome feeling, because not any of the church members were able to do this simple tasks, either because of their age or job. The gentlemen on our team did other various projects that needed to be done around the church that no one else is able to do. I realized that no matter what you do, whether it is organizing, building something, cleaning something, buying someone else something, or even saying something nice to someone else, that is being the hands and feet of Jesus as long as you have the attitude like Christ. It does not matter where you are at, whether it is at your house, dorm, church, school, any public place, or even on a mission trip, you can be the hands and feet of Jesus anywhere.
2. Jesus gives us blessings and privileges as we follow Him.[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F03%2F27%2F6362618801674354161562252559_6362618801638417041418084382_Hershey%2520Store.jpg&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=871&h=37b7a367fe4f9ccc230968c01bb4404503c3004b8cbad499948dc1b00973117f&size=980x&c=1911663885 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F03%252F27%252F6362618801674354161562252559_6362618801638417041418084382_Hershey%252520Store.jpg%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D871%26h%3D37b7a367fe4f9ccc230968c01bb4404503c3004b8cbad499948dc1b00973117f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1911663885%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]
As our team went throughout the week, we would have a Bible Study at the end of the day at our house and we studied. We studied the first two chapter of Ephesians. We learned about how God gives us blessings and privileges every day. God blesses us when we follow Him by giving us various different things. I could talk all day about how He blessed me in my life and how He continues to bless me every day. Some blessings are and can be some of the following; pretty weather, having awesome friends, being healthy, etc. It all comes down to us being blessed with every spiritual blessing that we can think of. We also talked about privileges that we have in Christ. Some of them are; being able to attend church every week and being apart of a congregation that loves the Lord, being able to read the Bible every day, worshipping God whenever we can, praying to God wherever we are at, etc. Some people look at blessings and privileges like they are the same thing and they are not. Privileges are something that we either have access to or that other people do not have the opportunity to do. I had the privilege going to Las Vegas for Spring Break, when I could have went home or done something else. I had the privilege in getting to know the church members from Tropicana Christian Fellowship throughout the week and it was a blessing getting to know them and learning how God has been working in their life.
3. We have to be obedient to the Lord in everything we do.[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F03%2F27%2F636261880023748309-997515840_636261880019836359-714106112_Group%2520Picture.jpg&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=287&h=a23759447d988405efe8506333e394cee23a0a206de395da428f3627c501e6b0&size=980x&c=1972153097 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F03%252F27%252F636261880023748309-997515840_636261880019836359-714106112_Group%252520Picture.jpg%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D287%26h%3Da23759447d988405efe8506333e394cee23a0a206de395da428f3627c501e6b0%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1972153097%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]
As I heard about the trip that Morrison Heights was going to go during Spring Break, I was unsure about going, because I knew I would want to go to home for Spring Break, since I live five hours away at college. I knew it would be weird going back home for the week, since I was used to going on choir tour's every Spring Break during high school with my church from back home. After a couple of months of thinking about it, I finally had to make a decision about this trip. I felt God pulling me to Las Vegas for Spring Break, so I was obedient to Him, by committing to going on this trip. I was scared at first, because I did not have the money to go, but the church assured me that I would be able to go and that they would work with me. I was able to get it all paid off by doing various fundraisers and just simply asking friends from back home. Being obedient to the Lord is not easy most of the times. Sometimes it takes a while to actually realize what the Lord is wanting you to do, rather than what you want to do. Being obedient to the Lord is essential to your relationship with Him, otherwise, what would you be doing every day for the Lord?
4. God is the God of every city.
You may think of Chris Tomlin's song, "God of This City." Some of the lyrics go like this, "You're the God of this city. You're the king of these people. You're the Lord of this nation. You are." When we think of the phrase, "God being the God of this city," we often think about a specific city that we may live in or have been to. In reality, God is the God of every city and place around the world. I have known for a while that God is the God of cities around the world, especially in the United States, but it never hit me until during Spring Break that God is over and still doing awesome things in the cities that do not know Him. For example, Las Vegas is known as the "Sin City" because of the casino's and gambling and just because of what the city is known for from the past and present. It was made evident while we there that God's presence is there and that He is doing awesome things for His kingdom. We were able to meet some casino workers that are church members with the church that we were working through for the week. It was evident that God is working in their lives and they are trying to get their co-workers to church or at least to where they will be open to listen to God's Word. Even in a city that you think is bad or not as good as another city, they are in need of hearing the Gospel. Who will do it, anyone who is a believer.
5. God gives us encouragement throughout every day.
God gives us encouragement throughout each day. It could be with friends, from the Bible, or through however God wants to encourage you! Sometimes God encourages us with little things, especially when we are having a stressful day. Some encouragement may be a sweet note from a friend, a hug from a friend, a simple "Hi!" when passing some friends, or even a conversation when you have time with someone that you know. I have always known that friends, especially when they are close, are special because they know when to encourage you and they know when something is going on. I realized after going to Las Vegas with the team from church, that we became family, whether we knew each other or not before going on the trip. During the week, we would make jokes and laugh about whatever was going on and we would make sure everything was good with everyone. When we came back from the church and I was able to get settled back into my dorm, I realized how much I was already missing them because I had gotten used to being with them all of the time, even for just one week. After going on the trip, I know I can rely on them whenever I need something or when I need someone to talk to. Everyone needs friends who will encourage you and bring you closer to the Lord.
6. In everything that you do, glorify God.
It does not matter what you do, everything should glorify God, because at the end of the day, God is going to get all of the glory. It is something that is hard to do, but when you start having the mindset of Christ each day, things seem to go better than expected. While we were exploring the strip in Vegas, we made sure that all of our decisions while walking and exploring were glorifying to God. That area is filled will several bad people and people who make poor decisions every day in their life. The strip definitely has a lot of exposure to so many types of people. I now have respect to the casino workers, especially with what they have to deal with every day! While we were doing various projects in the church throughout the week and while we were playing with the refugee children a couple of afternoons, we made sure that what we did glorified God and not ourselves. Yes, some of us were good at organizing, making a flower bed, and other various things, we still tried to not draw the attention to ourselves, because we knew that, ultimately, God was the one to give us the strength, talent, and wisdom to do it. We would accept the compliments and encouraging words while we were there, but we knew that God was the one doing it and not of ourselves. So, in our every day life, what could glorify God? Some examples are, when you either make a good or bad grade on a test, when you wake up first thing in the morning, or when you are sick.
7. You have to trust in God with what He is doing.
When we were going into the trip, we really did not know what all we would be doing while we were staying in Las Vegas. We knew a rough idea of what we would be doing, but we did not know the full detail of what we would be doing each day and the various tasks that needed to be done while we were there. We trusted in God that everything that we did would be His will and not our will. I trusted that God would do everything on our trip for a specific reason, whether we saw the end of the result or not. I even trusted in God when I decided that I was going on the trip, because I knew He had a plan and I trusted it. Towards the end of the week, we went hiking on the Red Rock Canyon, and on that day, we all had to help each other while we climbed up the mountain and as we hiked back down it. While and after doing it, I realized how much you have to trust in other people that is doing it with you, because sometimes you might slip and fall, or need a hand when you could not reach for anything else while coming down the mountain. Whenever one of us would fall or be uncertain about stepping on something, they would either lift you back up or guide you in the right path. That is just like what God does every day in our lives.
8. Prayer is powerful.
I knew that prayer is powerful, but throughout the week, we saw God working like never before! At the end of the week, we put 300 New Testament Bibles and some other information, including a survey for the church to connect more to the community, about TCF and how to become a follower of Christ on the community's doorknobs. We prayed over them the Sunday before we did it, the morning of, and the church members were praying for us and the community when they had during the week and while we were passing them out. We went back out the next to pick any survey's that people completed, and out of the 300, we only collected four, which is fine. We know that God is working through the community by just giving them a Bible. We are continuing to pray that the community would be drawn to His Word and that more people will start coming to TCF, even if it six months or two or three years from now, just from putting Bible's on their doorknobs. We also had several people praying for us while we were traveling and ministering to Vegas. God works through prayer, even if it is a simple prayer. For example, blessing your food before you eat. God is going to give you the nourishment and strength that you need to go through the day. Is going to God in prayer a daily thing for you?
I hope this encourages you in your daily walk with the Lord. I just want to put out there that I am not perfect and everything that I learned during Spring Break, I am still realizing how to be like Christ and less of me. All these things that I have mentioned, I struggle with every day! Yes, it is hard to live for Christ every day, even when we are at our lowest point in life, but let me tell you that it is so worth it! God is the only one we can look up to for strength and guidance in life! God is sovereign and worthy of our praise!