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 special...it'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.