Every night while at Rehoboth, we had a group devotion time in which one of my team members lead us to reflect on God’s word, and what we were doing in the Philippines. It was a great time that helped me reflect on what I was doing while there, and back at home in the states. I spent my days and nights writing in my journal about the events of each day, but I wasn’t taking the time to reflect on those events. Sometimes it can be hard to do that while you are in the moment. That is why I am here now writing to you. I have found myself over the past few days, since my return, reflecting on everything that God showed me. The last night at Rehoboth, Josh McKenzie lead us in a night of reflection. This was a great time as we heard from everyone. It was inspiring to see what God had brought to everyone’s attention while on this mission trip.
Josh asked us three questions. 1) What did we see in our travel buddies over the week that inspired us? (look at my blog post entitled “Day 8 Jess’s View” for my answer to this question) 2) What had God done in our hearts throughout the experience that changed us, or what did he point out to us? 3) How can we take what we learned home with us and apply it to our daily lives? I want to touch on the second and third questions. For now, I am just going to talk about how God gave me a realization in my own heart when it comes to serving him and others. There are many things that God showed me on this trip, but we will leave those for another time.
When I am in Bozeman, I am involved with the nursery and youth group for junior high and high school. I don’t always serve with a willing heart. I do it because I know that there is a need, and someone has to fill it. I have the time, so why not help so that I can tell myself that I am involved in the church and helping out where needed. To be honest, I started helping out in the nursery because I didn’t want to be helping with something else on Sunday morning during the service. It was a way for me to do something that I would rather be doing, instead of something that I wasn’t so necessarily willing to do. I was first in with the toddlers. I quickly learned that it is not so bad to be in there all the time. I had fun with the children and was able to get to know a few others in the church by being in there. I still wasn’t serving with a good heart. I moved over to the babies and instantly found myself alone. We were losing people that decided to switch churches, or no longer wanted to be involved with the children’s ministry. People seem to only want to help out if they can teach the older children. This made me want to have more of a servant’s heart as the need was growing bigger. I still found myself complaining and not wanting to serve.
On Wednesday nights, I find myself at church again, but this time I am helping out with the youth group. I have been enjoying getting to know the teens and hanging out with them. Sometimes I feel that I am there to be a babysitter, or just to be another adult in case anything goes wrong. I want to build relationships with these youth, but I don’t always show it or walk in on Wednesday nights with that attitude. I find myself not paying attention to some of the lessons and trying to figure out how I can get more involved or make youth group more fun. I don’t want to be a burden to these youth. I want to help lead them in a deeper and closer walk with our Lord. How can I do that if I am not always paying attention or having a servant’s heart? Some nights I found myself wanting to be elsewhere and could list a million different things I could be doing instead of being at youth group. I would complain when I had other things that needed to get done, but I had to be at the church instead.
When I was at Rehoboth, I never once had a complaint in my mind about serving. I served freely and willingly. I felt bad if there was nothing I could be doing. When there were enough workers at the clinic, the babies were all taking naps, or the other children in school, I was anxious as I wanted to be doing something to serve. I didn’t want to be standing or sitting around. I came to Rehoboth to help with a need and wanted to always be fulfilling it in some way. As I look back, I see that this is the kind of attitude that I need to have here at home. I should be always wanting to serve and not make it feel like a burden or something that I have to be doing. I was filled with joy serving in the Philippines.
That is one of my answers to the second question. The third question is quite simple to answer, but harder for me to put into practice. It is the whole “easier said than done” issue. I can apply my servant’s heart in the areas that I am already involved in at my church. I am already linked in now I just need to have God soften my heart here at home. (This would be good for me to apply at work. I don’t always work with the best attitude. It may not be shown and sometimes it is, but I feel myself tugging away when certain tasks come my way.) I pray that God helps me to continue to have the joy of a servant’s heart here in Bozeman. I don’t have to be a world away to help others. I am serving for the Lord and not my own selfish reasons. This is what I needed to apply to my life yesterday.