Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Letters Home

These are excerpts from letters I wrote to my mom and Grandma after returning from the mission trip last week:

Yes, being back in the “normal” world is strange. It’s hard for me to sit and work for 10 hours now…without moving. I was a bit anxious and antsy all day…I wanted to get out and weed some more or something. Actually, the hardest thing for me is not getting back into my habit of not praying or doing a devotion of sorts. I’ve noticed that I’ve been more content with how things are in my life since coming back. Prior to the trip I was pretty frustrated with my job because I haven’t gotten to learn a lot of new things and grow and I was frustrated with myself because I didn’t see any growth there too. The mission trip was refreshing because I saw my life from a different perspective. I saw God’s work from a different perspective. The sermon at church on Sunday was about coming home…using the prodigal son/daughter as the primary example. It was about how we’re prone to wander away from God and how when we come home while we’re welcome, we have to work hard to not wander again. That each day we:

  • Sow with a view to righteousness – How am I going to live differently, the positive steps we’re being called to take
  • Reap in accordance with kindness – what are the gifts of God you will notice, we’re recipients of gifts from God that are all around us each day (big and small)
  • Break up the fallow ground – we can harden into behavior patterns and that we have to break those often unhealthy patterns

Something that stuck out to me was the phrase “The return home must affect what is done with my resources.”

The second half of the sermon talked about observation, waiting and confession. So after we return home, we observe the kindness and justice that are around, but we’re often waiting for answers and in the meantime we do things on our own. Pastor Dahlstrom reinforced that God is enough and that we always need to come to that conclusion while we wait for answers or wait to hear what God has planned. The last point was confession and he talked about how we should make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Often because we don’t want to deal with our faults or are afraid to bring them up we stay in darkness and refer to our faults with more positive words. An example he gave was a person being angry and having a temper while they themselves might label that problem as being passionate and that it’s emotionally healthy to let out those feelings. After all of this though, comes healing and a changed person.

It was definitely a little hard for me to hear this sermon after coming back because it felt like I was coming home. I know I’m a work in progress and that this was something I needed to hear, but it still struck me to the core. I’m glad it was the sermon topic. All of this has been a great reminder and has reinforced my faith and reliance on God to take care of me and to see me through whatever comes my way.

It was a great opportunity to serve and learn and while the trip wasn’t everything I imagined it would be, it turned out better. It’s funny how God turns those things around on us each day. How we think we have things figured out only to come to the realization that we don’t.

and to my Grandma:

I had a lot of fun on the trip even though the trip was cut short, we were able to do a lot of work. We shaved macadamia nuts, made brittle, weeded the orchard and played with the children at the orphanage. Due to all the flu stuff we didn’t get to do any work in the surrounding communities. Church was cancelled during the week and all outreach programs were cancelled at the beginning of our trip. Every small task there was crucial to the mission.

I think one of the coolest things while there was seeing how passionate everyone was and how reliant upon God they were and how loving they were to everyone who entered the mission. It was incredible to see each other supporting one another and lifting everything and I mean everything up to God. I often find myself lifting only the “big” things to God and often attempting to do things on my own. I keep re-learning that I’m not supposed to do that and that not how my relationship with Christ should be; instead in everything I do and say I should be lifting everything to God. He will provide and it’s incredible to see the blessings given when one lives their life like that.

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