The biggest impact of my entire trip has been spiritual growth. Living in a Christian community has done great things for me, but it has been a constant, personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ that has opened my eyes and heart the most. Before beginning this adventure to Africa, the thing I looked most forward to was not actually to help the poor. No, it was to become closer to Jesus. And I know that I didn’t have to come all the way to Africa to do that…but I guess that’s what it took. It’s all in God’s big plan.
So, for those of you who get freaked out by spiritual stuff, I will not be offended if you stop reading this post right now. But I do encourage you to read on a bit just to get a tiny glimpse of what the God of this universe has been teaching me. These lessons will last me a life time, and most of these “life lessons” came about through some extremely hard struggles. I know that I’ve managed to keep the majority of my posts relatively positive…but I want for you to understand that Mercy Ships aint no cruise ship. There were many tears & several times where I had to ask myself, “What am I doing here?” But, having come all the way to this point, I can tell you that it has all been worth it and I wouldn’t take back a single moment of my suffering for the spiritual lessons I have learned. Here are just a few of the big ones…take them or leave them (I don’t want to preach to you):
- God is my daily planner. He has been leading people’s lives since the beginning of time. But this is my first time & I’m bound to make endless mistakes. So why risk living my life on my own account when I can give it to a perfect God who has had plenty of practice? I’m sure (and I have come to find out) that his plans are much more exciting than mine…therefore, I give my life to Christ. I think he’s doing a pretty good job so far : )
- My heart hurts so bad for my friends who don’t know the Lord. I can’t even tell you how many tears I have cried for them…and I’m really not much of a cryer, so that’s a big deal. But through this struggle, I have learned to let go of the fact that I can’t save my friends all by myself, and let God work his miracles. I just keep praying that I’ll be able to be involved in the process…and I can’t wait to see what happens!
- If I don’t know what to pray, but I know that my heart is troubled, I just let the Holy Spirit pray for me (found in a passage in Romans).
- My relationship with God is like my relationship with any other friend. I have found that spending time with him has made me feel closer to him. And the more time I spend with him (in the Bible and in prayer), the more I begin to act like him. He’s SO REAL.
- Being a servant of Christ is hard work. But working for Christ is so much more rewarding than working for money…it brings a smile to your face and a joy in your heart.
- When you pray for compassion, or to be humbled…watch out! ‘Cause he sure will give it to you.
Wow. There is so much more that I have learned, but it will take me forever to type them all out…and I have to go to bed now. It’s my last night sleeping on the top bunk in my cubical. Tomorrow night I’ll be on a plane, then in Paris, then I’ll be having sweet dreams in my GIANT bed at home sweet home : )