Monday, August 09, 2004

God's Plan And Junior High Boys

Jasper Speaks:

I love to see God work. It amazes me, the things he can do through a willing heart. Most recently, I saw Him move on our Mission Trip last week. We took twenty-five students to Raleigh, North Carolina. This was our third trip. If you are a frequent reader of my blog you know I really believe in
Mission Raleigh, the organization we work with there. They are changing lives through their unconditional love and fearless commitment.

I had the privilege of seeing God work in the lives of our students. One in particular was an eighth grade boy. When this kid came into the group, he was a punk. He had been King Of The Hill in AWANA and was determined not to let anyone get in his way in youth group. Of course it only took a very little while for him to realize that he was low man on the totem pole now. He was generally disruptive and pretty rude to me personally. I wasn't sure if I wanted to like him. I wasn't sure that God would do much with him.

Over the past year I have been praying for this kid a lot. I have also been praying that we would have a strong relationship. I took him out a couple of times just to talk and he seemed to be warming up to me. So he was assigned to ride in my van on the trip. Even as we started to NC, I could feel that God was building an even stronger bridge between us. We laughed and joked the whole way. It was very nice.

As the week went on, I became the late night leader. I was up until at least 2:00AM every morning. The only bad thing about that was I was also in charge of getting everyone up so I was back up by 5:00AM. God gave me strength. I spent two nights in the younger guys room. It was amazing. We had such a great time getting to know each other. In between the silliness of bad jokes and passing gas, God opened up windows for brief spiritual discussions as well.

By Tuesday night we were reminding the kids that they were there to effect lives for God. Scotty B, the head of Mission Raleigh, spoke to us and shared with us success and failure stories of the ministry. There were lots of tears and God broke us yet again for the children of Raleigh.

Then the kid I had been praying for made me proud. Over the next two days he led six children to Christ. It was amazing to sit back and watch as he opened the door and walked right through. On our night of sharing, the only time I was brought to tears was as I watched that same boy who used to roll his eyes and talk throughout worship, sing loudly with his eyes closed and his focus on God.

I always say mission trips are much more about the change in the people who go than in the people we serve. I think that is so true. This year my heart was touched by seeing what God has done in the life of one regular eighth grade boy. I am privileged to have been a part.

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