I woke up grateful this morning. Grateful for the rain, the puddles and soft soil, the cool air. Grateful for breath and life. Grateful for the sound of small feet pattering on wooden floors. Grateful for a partner who adores our children. Grateful for each of you! And for this community of faith: growing, changing and evolving.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to gather online with the 5 other leaders from the high school mission trip. I know you may be asking why such a trip was important, why we put so much time, money and energy into a trip that only 3 of our youth were able to participate in and that so many of us ended up getting COVID on.
I was reminded of all of those why's yesterday. In a way, they are summed up in our core values:
- Extravagant Welcome (received by us over and over again!)
- Life-long Journey (we learned alongside one another)
- Ministry of all Believers (as we served the larger community and as each of us had the opportunity to reflect on our experience and lead worship for our group)
- Engaging the World (God's world is amazing! Engaging it opens up not just our minds but also our spirits)
- Authentic Community (we created safe, loving and authentic community together -- this does not just happen, it takes intention. And it is so rewarding!)
Our faith is only as powerful as its ability to transform us -- to change our perspectives, our behaviors and our very being. Our inclination (mine, at least) is so often to stay within our comfort zone and not mess with something that appears to be working. But that's not how faith works. How often does Jesus compare our faith to a fig tree, a vine, a mustard seed -- these are all things that grow! Things that produce fruit! Our faith needs to do that, too.
That's what mission trips do -- they grow us. And not just the 12 people from 2 churches who got to go this year. If we do this well, then the 12 of us bring back what we have learned and experienced and share it with you! We share our growth and our learnings: our experiences of extravagant welcome, of being part of God's ministry serving the world, of engaging with God's creation and experiencing what it means to belong to safe and authentic community. And our sharing of all of this makes the experience, the learning, the growing not just ours but all of ours -- our congregation's!
I hope you will join us this Sunday to hear me share more about our amazing trip. We don't have our video ready to share yet, but you can look forward to that as well. Please take time to talk with Mya and Jeslyn Haux, Chloe Ogle, Noe Cantu and Daniel Gardner about their experiences as well -- what they learned, where they saw God, what they are bringing home with them and how this trip has changed them.
Because their transformation and growth is not just for them -- it is for all of us! Thank you again for all the ways that you helped make this trip possible and that you are open to learning as we did.
With love and so much gratitude,