Being ‘sent’ is not just for mission trips – this is resounding theme that has been played out with the High School students from First Baptist & LifePark this week. Today will be our fifth and final day on-site serving and loving others in Jesus name. Here is a short overview of what has been happening.
Our homeless team has fallen in love with a group of people who are very different in appearance and life circumstance than them, but there has been a connection that’s been formed that has made an impression on everyone. Each day our students have spent time giving out water, praying for people in the park, and talking with numerous people in a homeless situation in downtown’s Finlay Park. Our new friend Oscar, who leads ‘Keepin’ It Real Ministries,’ sets up every day in the park to give out ice cold water to the homeless and others in the park. This interaction that starts with a simple act of love (giving cold water in Jesus name) has led to many conversations and other opportunities to share Christ with others. The homeless team has let God send them to many people and it has been beautiful.
The inner-city kids ministry site was held in a small community called The Reserve. Each day the students would arrive at 9:30am to see kids waiting for them on the playground. Students and kids spent time playing sports & games, painting faces, dancing, getting their hair done (Morgan has a tender head, so say the kids!) and enjoying the company of each other until 11:45am. At noon every day the community provides lunch for the kids (sometimes as many as 40) and after lunch our group led three stations for the kids to participate: crafts, games/music, and Bible story. The theme of the camp this week was ‘Superhero Camp’ and the main focus was to teach students about Jesus and how He is God and the Ultimate Superhero of all time who has rescued us all. Yesterday our students did a skit that illustrated the death and resurrection of Jesus and the crowd of kids, many who had never heard the Good News, and some children accepted Christ as their Savior. All the Glory to God!
Lastly, our Elderly & Disabled Team spent their time at an adult daycare facility called Helping Hands in Cayce, SC. Some of the team walked into Helping Hands reluctantly, wondering how they would connect with older people and some who were not very responsive. However with the strength of the Lord and much courage the students jumped in…and they have been fantastic and a huge blessing to the people there. Each day our students have participated in the activities with the clients and our students have led in skits and music. I truly believe that the students have seen that all people are created in God’s image and because of this truth we are all important to Jesus. It’s been awesome on site there…just ask one of the students and they’ll tell you…”GOT IT!” (Inside joke, sorry.)
On Tuesday & Thursday afternoons we sent students out to give out cold water in Jesus name to people in downtown Columbia. Another team took flowers to people who work in retail and told them about how much God loves them. And another team went to the mall to take down people’s prayer requests and talk to them about the Lord. These afternoon sites also stretched the students and they had fun doing them!
You see God purposed this trip to inspire and motivate our students (and the leaders I might add) to live lives that are ‘on mission’ every day while we’re on earth. Four of our nights here in Columbia we have had worship gatherings that have moved our hearts through worship music and the preaching of God’s Word. It has been God’s story through the book of Jonah that has pointed us to see our own sinfulness, recognize God’s goodness through Jesus, and how the truth of His word should move us to action. One of my favorite moments was the worship music last night after the preaching and the decision time. It was so amazing to see our students worshiping unhindered as some knelt and prayed, some jumped around, some shouted to the Lord, and many had their hands held up high in surrender as they sang. And that’s the goal, right? That we would all be surrendered to Jesus’s call on our lives and his commandment to us to be ‘on mission’ with our lives. Whether we are a stay at home mom, business person, minister, teacher, administrative assistant, healthcare profession, etc…God has put us where we are to be on mission. So are you on mission with him? Are you seeing where you are as a mission field, because it is…and you are the missionary.
If you are a parent reading this, please know that your child is coming back changed by God’s Spirit. Encourage them and help them as they embrace the next step God has given them in their relationship with Him. Thank you for the prayers, may God receive glory and continue to send us all out to be on mission.
Until He returns, send us out Lord!