Monday, August 9, 2010

The Trip of a Lifetime

It's hard to believe that it's already August. School is back in, the days are still long and hot, and most people are getting back into their normal routine. Yet, in just a few days, a group of people will have their eyes opened and their lives changed right here in their own city. A group of young Christians will be pounding the pavement for 7 nights under the hot summer heat, bringing the Gospel to the homeless, the broken, the prodigal sons and daughters of God, lost in the streets of Atlanta. The August Sunday to Sunday team is gearing up for a life changing and spiritually awakening experience, all in the name of Jesus.

I can say with all confidence that the August Sunday to Sunday team, or s2s, will be in for a great experience. I was apart of the team that was on tour in June and since that time, my life has not been the same. I have never been more aware of the sin and pain of this city, nor have I been more on fire and desperate for a revival. In the days leading up to the tour, I asked God to reveal to me to what breaks His heart about this city. Almost two months later, He is still breaking my heart.

When the s2s tour dates were announced this past April, I knew that God wanted me to be apart of one of the mission teams. My very first Sunday at Victory World Church was this time last year. Pastor Dennis had just come back from Africa and gave an update on the wells that the church had paid to build. Something tugged at my heart strings with just the mere mention of people in the church going out into the world, changing the lives of complete strangers, all with the love of God. Taking part in an s2s missions trip would allow me the opportunity to change lives, right in my own backyard. I had the desire to participate, but was wondering how I was going to manage 7 nights of mission work and find a sitter for my 3 year old. But as quickly as I began to talk myself out of what God had intended for me, I remembered a quote from Mike Turner, found of LifeLink International. He said, "When the passion inside of you is greater than the circumstances around you, the stage is now set for greatness." God had something great in store for me and I knew that He would set the path for me to be where I was called to be. With one simple phone call, God made a way for my little one to be out of town visiting relatives and I was signed up for the June tour. The first night of the tour fell on June 20th, my 29th birthday. Couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday than sharing God's love and friendly conversations with those that the city had forgotten.

I had no idea what to expect from s2s. I had heard stories from s2s alumni but nothing that prepared me for the heart transformation that I would experience. From the first night, I was forced out of my comfort zone. When Avery and Dede gave the word, I was to grab a buddy and strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, a stranger who also happened to be homeless. I was nervous because I had never spoken to a homeless person, let alone ask details about their lives. I expected them to be short with me, standoffish almost because I assumed they didn't want to be bothered by some young missionaries asking them about their day. But to my absolute amazement, they were welcoming, engaging, and open. They were regular people, just like me. They were no longer homeless people. They were Melanie and Darren who laughed and joked about movies with me. They had more life and joy in their smiles than people I encountered on a regular basis. Yet, all they possessed was their entire life in a bag and their unshakable faith in God.

For the rest of the week, God slowly removed the veil from my eyes to see life for what it was. He slowly reshaped my heart to pour out love to those I once over looked along with the rest of the world. He taught me that the smallest act of kindness can make every difference in someone's day. He taught me that taking a moment to pray for a stranger can transform a life. He taught me that asking a person their name can help reclaim an identity that was stripped away because we have been too busy to care. He taught me that a simple rose can show a girl how much God loves her, even when she believe she is unworthy of His love. God taught me to still have faith in Him even when my heartfelt prayers went unanswered in that moment. He taught me that He is still moving to reclaim this city for His Kingdom, one Princess at a time.

For anyone that has ever gone on an s2s tour, there are so many stories that can be shared, so many memories that will be embedded in our hearts and minds forever. For those waiting on their opportunity to experience God move in this city, be prepared to have your eyes opened and your heart changed. Jesus did not die on the cross for the sins of the world for us to just go to church each week to hear a message. He intended for His followers to carry on the work that He did while He walked the Earth. He intended for us to continue to heal the sick, cast out demons, take care of the poor and share the Gospel from Atlanta until the ends of the Earth. We have all been given the power and authority to do God's will but, we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone for His glory. Be prepared to be the hands and feet of Jesus to help heal this dying city during the trip of a lifetime.

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