A few hours ago I rolled up to the Baptist Collegiate Ministry in the co-pilot position of a twelve passenger van after riding in that van for approximately twelve hours on the way home from New Orleans, Louisiana. I thanked the Lord for familiar territory, my own bed, less humidity and kisses from my dogs.
But I want to go back. I don’t want to do my homework or go to class or my internship. I don’t want to be stressed out and anxious like I always am. I want to go back. Not just to NOLA, but to New York, McAllen and Chicago too. Each of these places I have spent only a week of my lifetime in, but they have huge pieces of my heart. I find peace in those places. My worries don’t exist there, and my mission is simply to serve the people there. I decrease while He increases… while the people I’m serving increase. I deny myself and my needs and worries so that I can tend to the needs of the people there, and I love it. I don’t want to be worried about myself all of the time. It’s exhausting.
Something about serving makes those places so real. They’re not just pictures. You see firsthand the brokenness, the pain, the heartache, the darkness but you also see the joy, hope, peace, and light. There’s the good and ugly of every place including Knoxville and serving makes you see both and learn to appreciate both. Serving isn’t easy. Mission trips aren’t a breeze. You leave tired and sunburned and probably in need of being poured into and filled back up. But they have done so much in shaping who I am now, and God molds, pushes and grows me on those trips.
I’ll admit that I can do all of the things I did on each of those spring break mission trips in Knoxville, and I don’t. I don’t treat Knoxville as a mission field. Maybe if I did I would do better at finding peace in my everyday life. In lessening myself and trusting the Lord more. I should be serving the people of Knoxville as boldly and as energetically as I did in each of those cities because Knoxville is just as broken as any other city. Knoxvillians need Jesus just like anyone else. That is something that the Lord really taught me on this trip as the realization of this being my last BCM mission trip sunk in. I am dang sad about it, but if I treated wherever I am as a mission field with people that need to be served, I think I will find the same satisfaction and wonder that I find on each mission trip I’ve been on.
I love to travel, though, which is one of the things that makes these mission trips so special to me. Each time was a new place and adventure. When you’re away from home in a new place, you absolutely have to rely on God and those around you to make it through. I’m thankful for that growth, and it is something that I can’t find as easily here because I’m in my daily routine of comfort and busyness. But I will continuously try to find that here or wherever I end up because I can’t let the comfort distract me. I can’t let the busyness push evangelism, praying or serving off until later. It’s an urgent matter, and I can’t forget that. Oh goodness, it’s hard though.
I also love the servant’s heart that explodes out of the people I have the privilege of exploring these places with. I love my BCM family. I honestly don’t know how I made it through life before I met them. They have pushed me and challenged me in ways that no one else ever has. They have loved me unconditionally and sacrificially. I think watching them serve and love on others is my favorite part of my college spring breaks. They are so passionate about the gospel and Jesus’s love literally overflows out of them. They inspire me in ways that I hope to continually see after I graduate because it teaches me so much. I have grown one hundred times more in my faith and as a person by knowing them for four years than I did in the eighteen years before I met them. They are so incredible, and I would brag on them all day, every day.
To be real for a minute, I’m scared of what will happen when I graduate. The thing I will miss the most about college is the amazing community of believers that God gave me at the BCM. My brothers and sisters in Christ there are in my favorite life memories, and I know I’ve found forever friends with them.
You might have expected a little bit more of an update of what I did in New Orleans in this blog, and I’ll be glad to tell you but this is what I needed to say here.
I love to serve especially with my BCMers beside me. It may just be my favorite thing on the planet.