Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. -Oceans, Hillsong United
So many stories. So many moments. So many things God did this past week during our mission trip to East St. Louis.
God gave me a single phrase from a Hillsong United Song when He laid it on my heart to go on this mission trip—“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.” And it took me going across borders and stateliness and out of my comfort zone to see what God was trying to communicate. God wasn’t calling me to be perfect or to do the impossible; He was simply calling me to come and follow Him. It was in my obedience that He moved.
One of the biggest impressions I was reminded of this week is how there is such beauty in a trip that is missions focused. It truly felt like a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like in the way our group bonded, formed close relationships and gave our hearts to helping in the name of Jesus. There is nothing quite like giving of yourself alongside other believers.
East St. Louis become a familiar territory to us as we made our mark, met some local characters, loved on an amazing group of kids, poured out sweat and hard work and hopefully made a difference. One of the greatest rewards about every mission trip I’ve been on is the transformation God does on the inside of us as we are working on the outside to transform physical surroundings. God takes our willingness to do and to help and molds our heart to match our actions.
I could share a lot of moments, but there are two in particular that touched me personally. There was one day that a family of four or five siblings came to color at my Bible Story station and asked if they could have some crayons to take home to finish coloring later on. In that moment I was reminded of how much we take for granted. We easily buy crayons and markers at the dollar store and simply throw them away if they break or dry out a little. Giving was so humbling when the requests were so simple. Our group being there in St. Louis was truly making a difference, even if just one crayon at a time.
On Thursday we had a block party and got to present the salvation story to the kids we had loved on all week. There was one little boy who said he had prayed the prayer with us and I was able to be a part of his acceptance of Christ into his heart as Mr. B lead him through the steps and the decision. It was such a joy filled moment knowing he had made the decision to trust Christ.
This was also my first experience as an adult leader on a mission trip and it was remarkable to see the youth of different ages embrace the people and their tasks and give their all this week with a God focused attitude. There were moments where I saw every single one of them doing something for someone else and be the body of Christ. And God definitely called upon the leader in me this week and pushed me to step out and be bold.
We were also reminded throughout the week that God’s timing is exact. Every single person on the trip was there for a reason, just like we are all where God plants us for a reason. So often we travel miles away to share the news of Jesus when our daily lives consist of mission fields and opportunities every day. What a difference Christ followers could make if we got fired up and lived on mission in everything we did.
Ruth 1:16 stated it like this, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people…” Matthew 28:19-20 challenges us to, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
What a beautiful picture we could create if we all lived in this way. Challenge yourself to live on mission daily! Give of yourself and the greatest change just might come from within.
And to my mission trip group…What an incredible week we experienced together. From the KOA campground to corn blizzards and from whose side are you leaning on to the Gateway of the West St. Louis Arch… I had a blast. Thanks for being a part of this week with me and being the hands and feet of Jesus.
-Only Hope—Meet me in St. Louis ya’ll.