I love the things in life that come out of nowhere. The things that you never expect. The ones that are so random and out of the blue.
My favorite part about these experiences is that they tend to make the most significant impact. This summer was a huge collection of those kinds of moments. Serving at Group Mission Trips was not even on my list of possibilities for how to spend my summer break, but boy did God use this ministry to transform my life for the better. He took something that I could never have dreamed up and taught me more lessons than I knew I even needed to know. Here are a few of the most impactful parts:
- Campers, campers, campers- Jesus used every single camper who walked through the doors of Liberty Grove to help me see more of him. It amazes me that middle and high school students who are in so many different stages of life, who have come from so many different circumstances, and who struggle in so many different ways can come together (with other students they don't even know!!!) to learn, serve and grow as one body in Christ. These students gave up a week of their summer to come serve a community in efforts to spread the gospel. Talk about selflessness. Burtonsville week of hopers, you guys really knocked my socks of.
- Youth leaders- getting to know youth leaders was one of the coolest parts of my job. It was so eye opening to see the way that these men and women of God love their students. They also took a week out of their busy lives- away from their families, jobs, and all the other craziness of life- to lead students at week of hope. I loved seeing them invest so much in their youth. To pray for them, talk with them, have fun with them, and most importantly- to model Christlike obedience to them. Youth leaders are some pretty impressive people who give a lot, so say thank you next time you see one.
- My crew- I got to have a summer long sleepover with two of the craziest gals I have ever met. God sure knew what he was doing when he put them in my life because I needed it. He used Tori and Niki to teach me that I can't do everything alone. We had to rely on each other for so many things, and they for sure turned me into a team player. They were the best encouragers, the funniest friends, and the greatest crew mates I could have ever asked for.
- Liberty grove-ers- the staff and members of Liberty Grove United Methodist were the most welcoming people I have ever encountered. They showed me what it looks like to love, accept, and serve a complete stranger. Anytime that we needed anything, they were there. Broken air conditioner? Fixed within 30 minutes. Sound equipment won't turn on? Working before it's time for the program. Alarm going off at 2 am? All the right questions answered. I saw so much compassion, grace, and sacrifice in their day to day lives that continually pointed me closer to Jesus. It's such a privilege to call LGUMC my home away from home.
This summer was filled with so many surprise blessings, and I am so thankful for all of the experiences and memories that come with it. God used this summer to teach me the fact that he has called me to this earth to serve others for his name's sake. Not to build up my name, my fame, or my fortune but to use what he has given me to glorify him and point other people closer to him.
Thank you God for this summer and all that came with it.