Thursday, June 27, 2013

More on the mission trip

I have thought so much about our mission trip and the kids we met and what we were doing "this time last week."  For our 6th graders this was the first time for most of them if not all of them to serve in a way such as this.  They may have been involved in a day of service here and there but never the scope that this trip encompassed.  

It was easier than I thought it would be to talk to and get to know the children.  We didn't need a lot of stuff to capture their attention or persuade them to like us, folks just want to know that someone cares.  It was neat to see how a simple jump rope could bring smiles to faces and draw a long line of children wanting a turn.  I never thought the teenagers would care a thing about our parachute games, but once they got out there and decided they weren't too "cool" to get involved we could see that the "kid" in them was still very much alive and wanting to have fun.
That week we focused more on relationships than we did our phones.  We listened to other peoples stories more than we listened to the TV.  We connected more with each other than we did with facebook.  Why can't we continue that trend now that we are back home?  Why can't I?  Why is it so easy to pick up my phone and play a game just to occupy 5 minutes when I'm not doing anything else?  Our middle school minister recently shared this, "If the devil can't make you bad, he'll just make you busy."  Not many people would be the first to stand up and say that they are "bad," but we are all guilty of being busy.  

When we are too busy with the demands and distractions of everyday life and our focus is taken off God then satan has accomplished something.  He can't have our souls, if we are Christ followers but he can damage our witness by making us busy.  I know this one hurts, when I heard him say this just last night I think I may have said "ouch" out loud.  I am at the front of the line on this one and I know that my kids are taking their cues from me.  I've got to put my phone down before I can expect them to put theirs down...I know "ouch," right?

The value of a relationship, the feeling of connecting with someone, telling them they are loved, cared about and that they are's a basic need we all have and it doesn't take any special skills or instruction to carry out.  It's simply being filled with Christ's love and letting that spill over and out to others.  It's one of the things I will take away from our trip, we all want to feel cared about and loved.

Monday, June 24, 2013


It has taken a week and a day for all six of us to be back under one roof.  We were spread out here, there and everywhere over the past eight days.  Two of us in South Carolina, two of us in Mississippi and two of us in Alabama...we are all back together today.  I have been busy since Cooper and I returned from the 6th grade mission trip (6gmt), but the children we met have not been far from my mind and my prayers.  I have busied myself around the house with things that need to be done by the mama upon returning from a 5 day trip, but I have thought constantly about the children we met and served in South Carolina.
This was the first mission trip for Cooper and I.  One of our counselors pointed out that we have known this particular group since they were babies.  They have "grown up" together for the most part and we have always played the role of telling them what to do, "mothering" them for lack of a better we find ourselves serving alongside of them.
We were with them as they planned out each area of VBS for these, crafts, recreation and Bible story. We were with them as organized and carried out each day at 2 different churches.  We were with them as they befriended and bonded with the children.  We saw their compassion and their love of serving and it couldn't help but spread to us all.
Cooper and I were on the recreation team and I remember telling them before we left that if we had a group of preschoolers then we would play with play dough, sidewalk chalk and blow bubbles like there was no tomorrow and they did just that.
Being in our comfort zone wasn't more important than serving in the way God called us to in that moment.  Being with our friends didn't matter more than showing Christ's love to all we came into contact with.
Wearing the right clothes and having all the latest and greatest electronics paled in comparison to developing relationships and putting others before ourselves.
It was a privilege to serve alongside of the these sixth graders.
 My mind has gone back through the faces and names and stories of each one of these children that I met and I have wondered...where are they, what are they doing today?
I pray they return to the churches where we met, I pray someone tells them everyday how special they are, I pray someone tells them everyday how much God loves them.  I pray our kids never forget how it feels to serve others, to be a friend to someone and to give of themselves when the world tells them they should only look out for #1.  
Thanking God for the blessing of serving with y'all.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mission Trip

Cooper and I on our first mission trip...
What an incredible week we have had here in South Carolina.  Can't wait to share all that we have seen and felt and experienced here, if I can find a way to put it all in into words.  This is our last day here and it will be so hard to leave these kids we have grown to love and care about over the past few days.  

God is moving here in and amongst these communities through the servants He has placed in these churches and it has been our privilege to come here and serve along side them.

Thank you for your prayers for our group this week.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sixth Grade Mission Trip

I absolutely love the beginning of summer.  Everyone is excited to be out of school, there's the anticipation of all the fun things to come like swimming, getting together with friends and family and vacations, there is no schedule, no homework and no one is bored...yet.

We have jumped in with both feet, grabbing hold of our fun, busy summer with both hands.  We won't let go until it is pried out of our tight fists some time in August when that school bells rings once again.  So here we go...last week was VBS and next week is the 6th grade mission trip.  Plans have been in the works since last summer for me to work out a way to go on this trip with Cooper.  We have prayed and have asked friends and family to pray for mountains to be moved in order for me to be able to make this trip happen with my oldest son.  

I have heard about this mission trip that others in our church have taken with their 6th graders and what a wonderful thing it has been, but mountains needed to be moved. The requirements to go on this trip are as follows: regular church attendance, memorizing the Bible verses of the Romans Road, earning half the money for the trip themselves, doing devotions, writing their testimony and planning everything we are going to do from Bible stories to crafts to recreation.  These 6th graders are planning, running and doing this mission trip themselves.  They are transitioning from being served to serving, how neat is that!  They are learning what's is like to not only say you're a follower of Christ but to live it out as well.  

Mountains are moving, plans are taking shape and I am thrilled that I am going to be able to take this trip with him. Things you can pray for:
*That God will be glorified in all that we do
*That hearts are already being prepared and tendered to hearing the Gospel
*That we are obedient to what God wants us to do, that we are led by His direction and His agenda not our own
*That we all stay healthy
*SK and those who will be caring for her
*Cooper and all the other 6th graders going on the trip

The logistics involved in such a trip can be overwhelming. As the time approaches for us to leave so many things fill my head, so many lists and concerns constantly running through my mind, so many things competing for my attention.  I have never left SK for this long before. Not in her entire life have I ever been away from her for such a stretch of time, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  It's not that I don't think she will cared for, I know she will.  It's not that I think others are not capable, they's just a Mama thing.  

I pray and I hope you will too that all these things will be settled in my mind that I can be who God needs me to be on this trip...for Cooper, for the other 6th graders, for the children and families we are going to serve and for the One who called us on this trip and made a way through family and friends for Cooper and I to be able to go together.

The song that has been chosen to be the theme of our trip is "The Great I Am" by Phillips, Craig and Dean.  There's a line in the song that says "The mountains shake before You..."  Going on this trip seemed an impossible task last summer and it is when I try to take it on myself, but nothing is impossible with God.  Mountains crumble in the presence of the Great I Am.  Humbled, thrilled and anxiously anticipating the great work God is going to do as we seek His will and His way with one spirit and one mind.

Luke 9:23 "Then He said to them all, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'"

Friday, June 7, 2013

Christ's Love in Us

We've just finished a week of Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church...that has been the reason for the silence on the blog this week.  It has been all I could do to get us up and out the door at 8:30 everyday, because after school lets out you think you're done and then VBS hits and it's like you forgot how to get everyone up and ready to go all of a sudden.  It was so worth it though, it always is to see God work and move in the lives of our children.  

I didn't work with Sophie Kate's group, but each day I tried to find some time to pop in just to make sure everything was going well with her.  One morning I snuck in during the Bible story.  Sophie Kate is in the special needs VBS class and the teacher of that group has such an ease about her when it comes to these children.  She knows how to talk to them, she told the Bible story in her own words in a way that they could understand and in a way that they could participate and respond...and they did, it was a wonderful thing to see. 

Let me tell y'all what's got my attention these days, what's running over and over in and through my mind, what I am fascinated by are those who don't have care that do care. Does that make sense?  Those people who don't have to reach out to us, who don't have to include us, who don't have to love our girl and our family, but do anyway.  The volunteers in SK's VBS class who don't have to serve in special needs but want to...what makes them want to?  The folks we met just this week that said, "Hey we just put a pool in and we want to see kids in it every single day, come over and swim with us," what makes them open their home up to me and my group?  I got a Mother's Day card in the mail last month (no signature and no return address) with a kind note in it as well as money that said, "Hope you can use this for your family this summer." Who does that? What compels those folks to give and offer and include us and think of us in such a way?  

I know by asking these questions it just brings my own selfishness out even more because I have to admit I'm not like these people.  I didn't do things like this for others before SK came into our world. I don't get these people who do things for others with absolutely no expectation for anything in return because the world tells us to live for ourselves, put ourselves first and our wants above others.  

So what compels these people to do what they do?  It's Christ in them that compels them.  They don't just say they care they show it.  They don't just say they have the love of Christ in them and then go about their life as they see fit. The love of Christ in them is active and living and doing. They love others because God loved them first.  They serve others because that's what God calls us to do.  It's not even something they think about or would feel comfortable being praised for, it's just who they are.  Christ's love is active and alive and touches others and looks different than anything that could possibly be offered by this world. What a testimony to Christ living in us and through us that we do for others when we don't have to...we are blessed by His people doing His work.

Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."