Read Ephesians 5:8-14.
This Sunday the mission team from Reeves will share their experiences with the congregation during worship. I am so pleased these individuals offered a week in service to the community near the Hinton Rural Life Center – a United Methodist related agency – in Hinton, North Carolina. I was unable to join the mission team on their endeavors in North Carolina as I was on my own mission trip that week.
I served as the worship leader for the Elementary Campers at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Youth Camp in Leesburg, FL!
(Well…it’s really in Fruitland Park…but are we going to split hairs over that? Nah!)
I spent the week with an incredible group of rising 4th and 5th graders and the adult volunteers and camp counselors that were with them. They were so full of life and energy and eagerness and energy and spirit and energy…
Did I mention they had energy? Oh yes!
Our theme for the week was AWAKENING and each night in worship we learned what it means for us to be AWAKE: for God, for God’s purpose for our lives, for God’s purpose for creation.
To be AWAKE we have to (be):
A – Aware / W – Wonder / A – Act / K – Know / E – Engage
We have to be aware of who we are and whose we are. In that awareness, God gives us space to wonder about things we do not have answers for or understand…like why there is evil and why bad things happen. Once we are aware and have had the opportunity to wonder with God, we arrive at the critical point to act – that point of making a move towards God and saying “Yes! I want to be part of what you are doing!!” As we act we continue to learn and we come to know that following God isn’t always easy, but it is so worth it. This knowing leads us to engage – engage our journeys with God, engage with our churches at home, engage with our friends at camp outside of camp, engage what we have experienced so we won’t forget it.
Aware – Wonder – Act – Know – Engage
When these combine, we are AWAKE!
I learned so much from the campers during my time at camp. They reminded me of what it means to have faith like a child – to have a simple faith. That doesn’t mean it is an ignorant or uninformed faith. It is just simple, uncomplicated, beautiful relationship. Yes, I can ask questions. Yes, I can doubt. Yes, I can yell and scream if needed. God has created space for all of that. God creates space for me to be me in my faith.
That’s what I learned on my mission week in Summer 2012. God’s message prepared especially for me in those 63 rising 4th and 5th graders was a much needed awakening.
Reflection: Did you have an opportunity to serve God’s people in some way this summer? How did that time of service make you feel? How were you changed? How did you grow? How did God use you? Share your story with someone this week.
And if you’re struggling to come up with an answer because you didn’t have the opportunity to “go” on a mission trip, I encourage you to spend some time in quiet reflection asking God to reveal to you how in fact God did use you to serve this summer. You might be surprised by what God lifts up.