Well, it is just past midnight, and over the past week that has meant: it’s time to write a blog post. There were so many stories to come out of this trip, and I am sure students have told them all after getting home Saturday night. God did so much in the lives of everyone on the Philly 14 trip, and I am so glad to have been a part of it.
Over the past week, I wrote (with Rachel taking my place the one night) for the people who were following this trip, especially for the parents of our students. Hopefully what was written helped everyone feel like they were walking right along side us, so they might experience God working in both the lives of the people in Philadelphia, and the people on our team. Hopefully what was read was encouraging and uplifting. But tonight, I’m not writing for the parents. I’m writing to the students on this trip. So, students, listen up!
Let’s look at just a short list of things we accomplished on this trip:
- Staffed a VBS (Kingdom Kids Camp) for over 250 inner-city children
- Passed out over 100 lunches to the homeless at Logan Square and Love Park
- Performed not one but two park programs for even more children in the city of Philadelphia
- Lead over 30 people to Christ! AMEN!
But it is easy to look at this list and think that is all you did. Far from it! God did so much more through you this week.
- Planted the seed of the gospel message in the hearts of countless people (both children and adults)
- Blessed Urban Hope’s staff
- Hopefully grew closer to God through team times, devotions and every other experience on this trip
- Made some new friends and strengthened old relationships
- Some of you really opened up and shared your heart with the people around you
- Blessing the leaders on the trip by always being ready to serve and having a good attitude about everything, no matter the circumstances
Some of you may be at home right now, and maybe you did not lead anyone to Christ. Maybe you had a ton of “problem” children and you feel like you did more disciplining than teaching. Maybe your conversations with the homeless were less than what you hoped they would be. Maybe you miss the people you got to hang out and serve with this past week (I know I do!). Maybe you are feeling like you didn’t make a difference this week.
Well I’m here to tell you that you did. Even if you didn’t make a difference in the lives of children (Spoiler Alert: you did, whether you saw the end result of them giving their lives to Christ or not, you made an impact on them.) and even if you did not make an impact in the lives of the homeless (Shocker: you did, whether your conversations seemed to go well or not, you may never know how God may use what you said to impact someone) and even if you did not encourage the people around you (Secret Encouragement Partners ring a bell?) and even if you did not bless the Urban Hope staff (trust me, they were grateful for all that you did this week) you made an impact and were a blessing in my life.
When the trip started, I was probably just as nervous as some of you were. It was my first time going on a missions trip as a leader, and I was nervous and excited to see what God would do on this trip. So many of you did not know me at all before the trip, yet almost all of you at the very least said, “Hi” to me. I had great conversations with so many of you, laughed with you, watched God work in your lives, and was so encouraged by how you all seemed to welcome me on this trip. I saw so many of you serving every day and it lifted my spirits to see that.
To those in my van, I will always remember fondly our times in The White Knight! To those on my street team, we did not have as much time together as we thought we would, but when we were together it was always a blessing, and the highlight of my day! To the guys on the trip, even though you were messy (Ha, ROASTED! Shots Fired! Bang Bang!), you stepped it up this past week and made an impact, and I am so glad I got to know so many of you! To the girls on the trip, thank you for being great examples of how to love on kids and for really being leaders during Kingdom Kids. Even to the leaders, thank you for all the awesome times we shared, whether in leaders meetings (Sea-Kals) or even with our group messages (my phone still has not quite recovered), you were all so encouraging and you made this week something special! You truly had serving hearts, and you led the students incredibly well.
Trust me, if you students made a difference in the life of one dude from Wayne County, you made an incredible impact for the Kingdom of God in the City of Philadelphia. People are closer to Christ now than they were when we first got there, and that is thanks to you and God. Now that you are home, keep it up. Don’t stop! Bring the mission trip home with you and reach all the people around you! Everyone needs Christ, not just the lost and broken of Philadelphia! God can and most definitely will use you if you let him!
But it is not always easy. If you find yourself getting knocked down and are going through some tough times in the days, weeks and months ahead, come talk to one of us leaders. We absolutely would love to be there for you whenever we can! Being a part of the body of Christ means helping one another, so never feel like you have to go through life alone.
Now I leave you with this, thank you for being a blessing in my life and for making an impact in the lives of those in Philadelphia. My prayer for all of you is that you keep staying in the Word of God, continuing to trust Him with your life, and to stay on mission here in Wayne County! God has given you all so many gifts and talents. Now it is time to use them in your hometown!