I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. (Matthew 25:35)
We’ve been back for a week and a half now, had our team reunion the other day, and to be honest, I’m still processing a lot of my thoughts on our experiences in Jamaica with YWAM. Here are a few random and possibly connected things running through my brain …
The photo above is actually one of my favorites from the trip. I’m not sure why it keeps standing out to me. Something about their postures, the lighting, the man’s focus on the cup, Carl’s simple gesture. I don’t know. But either way, when I took the photo, and every time I’ve looked at it since, the words from Matthew 25:35 run through my mind immediately.
The YWAM Jamaica team did an amazing job of giving us meaningful service to do and exposing us to incredible and challenging ministries in their region they are connected to that pushed us out of our comfort zones and really became incredible teaching moments.
Over and over I found myself feeling deeply proud of the students from our church. I’ve been bragging about the kids from all three trips a LOT lately – but especially the teens who went to Jamaica. They’ve shown me a lot to be impressed with.
I found myself really, really loving the discussion during our nightly team devotions. We went really deep and spent a LOT of time working our way through all of the passages referencing Christ’s prayer life. The last couple years I led the Maine team, which is mostly middle school students with a handful of younger high school students. A lot of my favorite memories from those trips were also the evening devotions (seeing a pattern?), but there was something about the level to which the older students on an international trip can take the devo to that was particularly beautiful to get to see. I hope I never get bored with seeing young people wrestle their way through scripture together.
There were profound and noticeable spiritual changes and growth in several of the students that were just awesome to see. Another one of the fruits of leading a team of older students, most of whom I’ve been working with for the last four years, was being able to enjoy the contrast in who they were when I first met them and who they are today.
In a lot of ways all three of our mission trips were incredibly blessed this year. It came down to the wire, but God provided the funds needed. Despite intense weather and sleeping conditions on all three trips, we experienced a season of mission trips without drama, explosions, or calls to parents. It might sound like an overstatement to some, but to me it’s something from God that 74 people could exist under those kinds of challenging conditions and experience that kind of unity and grace.
The challenge in the coming months? To continue the lessons learned, to see the spiritual growth pursued, and find ways to apply the lessons learned outside of our region to our region.