Praise the Lord!
What a week! Praise after praise after praise. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 wraps beauty and glory around what our middle schoolers did this week in Washington D.C: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those is any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
The longer I live in Indianapolis, the more I’m amazed at our church and the way the Body of Christ nurtures the faith and fun of our youth. Did you know not every church has members who take off weeks of work to participate in camps and mission trips? Did you know our kids on these trips stand far and above other groups in attitude, behavior and faith? We are a body of believers who live out Psalm 78:5-7: “He commanded…to teach their children so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they would in turn tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” I stand in awe as I’ve chaperoned this group. They would not have been able to live out their faith, the Gospel and the comfort of God, had you all not been praying, teaching, mentoring, loving and supporting them throughout their lives and this week.
As I stand before the throne amazed at what He has done and at the comfort and love He has provided to others through these 12- to 15-year-old vessels, I invite you to glimpse their experiences. Below, you’ll find short testimonies of the week the Lord gifted us in D.C.
“This week was full of different experiences. One particular ministry our serving group went to was Our Daily Bread. This was a place where people in the community, no matter who, could come enjoy a meal and a Bible study together. We got to prepare the meal and serve the people who came. We also got the pleasure of talking to the people. It was a really neat experience because once I began talking with a man that I met, I learned that he had recommitted his life to Christ because of Our Daily Bread. He also showed me his Bible, his first Bible.” —Mo Hart
“This week we encountered many new people. One person stuck out to me in a special way. I met a man named Mike at Our Daily Bread. I greeted him and served food to him, but I was too nervous to start a conversation with a stranger. Then I felt God’s presence when Mike walked up to me and showed me an article in the newspaper. We talked about the article, which led to me asking him some questions. Eventually, I learned all about his life, his kids and his walk with Christ. He even asked me questions. He asked me what job I wanted to pursue and about school. The whole 30 minutes we talked, I felt God speaking through me. The fact that I cannot physically see God has been hard for me the past couple years, but this experience opened my eyes to see God in a new way. The faith He has given me has revealed Him in a new way!” —Sydney Davis
“Going into D.C. at the beginning of the week was pretty nerve wracking. Traveling to an unfamiliar place and being trapped on a bus for 12 hours with a ton of other middle schoolers was not the best. I became nervous, yet hyped, to be in the Nation’s Capitol. Little did I know the following days would get harder for me, with a grumpy stomach, headache and sore throat. I kept taking medicine and praying that I would not have to go home. Day after day I repeated this process, but on Day 5 I woke up feeling perfectly fine, no sore throat, nothing! I was surprised and shown how God actually does answer prayers! He got me through!” —Ben Massey
“Through my D.C. mission trip, God really pressed on my heart that this trip was much bigger than me, and that God already had this trip planned out from the beginning. With stress and sweat and headaches, God showed us that He had us in His hands and was answering our prayers just so we could serve Him. We prayed for energy, and God gave it to us in the least likely of ways … kids. Simply by driving up in the parking lot, kids were trying to get into the car, trying to hug us and were just thrilled that we were there. Though we had gotten up and been serving at other places all day, God let the kids’ joy and excitement renew our strength and joy. Overall, God has held us in His hands and provided for us with His divine and well-planned trip!” —Rachel Hoffman
“Washington D.C. taught me a lot about myself, the city and the incredible people who call it home. One of the biggest and most impacting moment was when a man named Adam was sitting at a table in Charlie’s Place. He was minding his business, and I just walked by him. Then he asked me, ‘What did you do to your leg?’ Little did I know this simple question would spark a lively conversation and the start to a relationship. I could see God speaking through him, and I saw the Lord in His eyes. He emphasized staying away from those friends who tempt you. He encouraged me to focus on school and, of course, Christ. Despite his fairly heavy accent, it seemed as if God made his voice clear, and the meaning in his words stood out boldly.” —Colin Badgero
“This week we went to a daycare/VBS. It really made me have to get outside of my comfort zone. I say this because the moment we pulled in, the children were screaming happily and climbing into our van. It was a really cool experience getting close to the kids and learning some of their stories. It was hard to tolerate that quite a few kids did not have a good home life. God really opened my eyes to life outside of Indianapolis. These kids had so much joy and spirit and brightened my mood every time I entered the daycare. They helped me realize why I like serving: joy. I say joy because whenever I helped someone, it ended in joy. I feel blessed that God brought me to D.C. to show me this.”
Isn’t it so like our God to reveal more to the hearts serving than to the hearts being served? We often enter these trips expecting to be used and make a special impact on someone, yet day after day I heard from our students about how loving the way Christ loved us had more impact on them than anything else. Rather than going to change and love D.C, we returned changed and loved by our good and gracious God.