"Being a summer missionary is..." Go ahead, finish the sentence in your own mind. Maybe you completed the sentence with the words unique, difficult, weird, fun, crazy, hard, impossible, exciting, or any other adjective you could think of to place there. I'll tell you that just about every word you could put in the sentence would be an accurate one. This life is hard, unique, difficult, weird, fun and crazy all at the same time. No two days are exactly alike (although many of them share many similarities). It is hard to get out of bed every day and constantly remind myself that it is a new day, it is a new day to love, it is a new day to work, it is a new day to teach, it is a new day to be present, it is entirely new. The Bible tells us that God's mercies are new every day (see Lamentations 3:23) and that means that every day we need to serve, work, love, be present with everything we have. Our hearts should be renewed everyday to serve, even in a world we do not understand. Every emotion, every tear, every laugh, every hug, every prayer, everything is new for that moment and I have to be extra careful to not miss it.
The world I live and work in is one entirely different from my comfortable suburb life back home. Yes, I am still in America, yes I am still working with Americans, and yes I understand the traditional customs, but nothing about living here is the same as being at home. I work in an inner city housing community-a world light years away from my own. I see gangs huddled in the corners, I hear girls as young as eight talk about what has been taken from them, I see broken beer bottles smashed against the concrete, hungry children, fighting adults, houses that seem to be falling apart around the inhabitants. All of this only twelve hours from the comfort of my own home. How could this be? Does God love these people less? Did they commit some type of terrible sin to deserve all of this? The answer is a deep and emphatic NO! NO, God does not love these people any less-but maybe God's children do not love enough. NO, they did not (mostly) commit some terrible sin to deserve living like this-they were born into this life, just as I was born into mine. And, unfortunately, too many people write them off from a very young age, saying they will never be more than drug dealers or living off welfare and they do not try to invest in them. It absolutely breaks my heart. Maybe I am old fashioned but I believe in John 3:16 "for God so loved THE WORLD". NOT GOD SO LOVED THE WEALTHY, THE PRIVILEGED, OR THE EDUCATED BUT THE WORLD! So, what has gone wrong you might ask. Why do people have to live like that if there is a God who loves them so deeply. Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers, but what I can tell you is that he didn't create the world and then turn away. He is still actively involved in what happens here, He left his children here on earth to reach out and show love to a forgotten and hopeless world. I am so guilty of sitting on my rear at home, satisfied with what I have, but that life is empty, and it is a life I never want to revert to. I want to love with abandon, I want to serve until I don't have the energy to stand, I want to teach until my voice is gone, I want to see God back in his rightful place as Lord of my heart that controls my life.
So, how could this be? How could a a nineteen year old girl reach out and make any kind of difference? Only through him. I wake up every day and realize that even if the kids I work with do not look like me, talk like me, or think like me they are still God's creations and He still longs to know them. That means we are one family. So, even if their world seems light years away from mine we belong to the same Father, and when I learn to function inside of that realization my life becomes so much easier.
I greatly appreciate your prayers, as does my team. Specifically we would appreciate prayers for energy, safety, and boldness as we are reaching the end of our journey.
In His Love and Service.