So day two of the missions trip, Tuesday, started with an early wake up call in order to get our work out in. After that, everyone showered and ate breakfast; and then by 9am, we went to the sanctuary for a little ministry prep time before going to do our outreach. We had two outreaches this day, the first of which was going to a low-income apartment complex, serving food to the families and the children of the community, and playing games with the kids. I loved it so much.
It was so heart-touching to be able to be thehands and feet of Jesus to these kids, fulfilling God’s desire by letting the children come to Jesus, making them a priority, and showing them that they are not overlooked or overshadowed, but rather that they are loved and important. But the thing is, despite the fact that we were there to serve them and to show them the love and joy of the Father, they ended up filling my heart with so much joy in return. Seeing their faces light up with joy– that is Kingdom work, and it’s so worth running through the mud countless times with kids on my back, ruining my shoes and tiring my legs. It was worth it all.
After we left the apartment complex, we headed back to the church to begin our next outing. Our mission leader James called it an ATL, which means “ask the Lord.” Before this outing, we spent 15 minutes individually spending time with the Lord, asking Him for anything specific that could help us as we go on to the streets of New Orleans and do street evangelism. When we gathered together again to share all that the Lord had said to each of us, it was really cool to see how many things were similar, demonstrating a similar theme that God had in store for us to fulfill. Then James grouped us with those who had specifically similar words from God, and I ended up being in a group with Addison Dunn and Madison Wirth. Madison and I were each given words that related to being a blessing to those who were less fortunate, and Addison and I both received words of peace.
Anyways, we then headed out to the streets to casually start conversations with people in hopes that the Holy Spirit would then lead us into spiritual interactions. Whether that be talking specifically about Jesus and His love or simply giving a kind ear to listen to those who didn’t really have anyone to talk to; either way, God worked in us and through us, giving us the words to say when we were originally afraid or nervous. We prayed with people on the streets if they allowed it, planting spiritual seeds in their hearts. God was faithful and is faithful; and as we continued having these conversations with people, we all became more and more confident. It was a great experience, especially with one lady named Jackie. She was an older lady who just recently was blessed with an apartment, but she had no furniture and no job. She told us that her son was addicted drugs and that her physical body was not in good health. And yet, despite the adversaries, she remained hopeful and confident in God. We ended up praying for her and buying her a soda, but it was just so special to see someone who, in spite of her situations, was still positive.
However, the greatest part of this outing for me had to be on the walk back to the car. It was about a mile maybe, but during the entire walk everyone on the team sung loudly together “This Little Light of Mine.” Sure, there were a few people who looked angrily towards us as we sang (one person even brought us a curse candle from a nearby voodoo store and told us to light it), but so many more smiled at us and danced with us and sang along. Heavenly joy just filled the area around us as we walked down the streets, shining our little light, and I’m positive the people around us felt it, too.
When we got back to the church, we ate dinner and had our debriefing of the day. Something amazing happened here. Georgia shared her testimony with us all, and this struck a chord with everyone. When she ended, there were tears, prayers, and a big group hug. Afterwards, we knew that God was doing things and would continue to do things if only we went along with it. Therefore, we all went to one of the bedrooms, and, until 1:30am, six other people shared their testimonies, as well. We were able to share our stories and our hurts, where we saw God work in our lives and where we felt as if we were completely alone, through tears, some laughter, support, and prayers. What was really encouraging was the fact that so many of us could relate in some way or another to someone else’s testimony; things that made some of us feel alone, we realized, are actually those things that could pull us together. And although most of us were left in tears, we were made stronger than before due to the power of healing and restoration that the Holy Spirit poured out upon us. The vulnerability brought us all so close together; and even though I’m just a freshman and I haven’t known most of these girls for more than a few days, this night was still so special to me and will probably stick with me for the rest of my life. I’ve never been surrounded by so many people who so eagerly love Jesus and love others with accepting and supportive hearts. It’s truly amazing.
God has done some great things this week so far and I know there is still so much in store for this team. I’m incredibly excited to watch it all unfold.
– Tiffany Linser, Freshman, #32