Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back From Russia

Thank you to those who were in prayer for me during my trip for camp and Stuff-a-Stocking. Camp went very well. It is such a great blessing to see young people come to a faith in Jesus Christ. And that is exactly what I got to see a few times on this trip. I wrote one night in my journal as I was lamenting about how tired and frustrated I was for God to make this trip worthwhile. I later wrote in my journal on that trip that God had indeed made the trip worthwhile. He did it through allowing me to see the church being the church; by showing me that the Gospel extents across nine time zones (and a long flight) to people who speak a language that is nearly impossible to pick up on. It extends to people who are from great families, to poor and rich families, and orphans. The gospel is not bound by language or geography. It is bound only by God alone.

In the past, mission trips have been “life-changing” experiences for me, but this time it was not this way. But it didn’t have to be “life-changing” for the trip to have been worthwhile. C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity in his chapter on charity that, “Charity means ‘Love, in the Christian sense.’ But Love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state, not of the feelings, but of the will; that state of the will that we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.” I wasn’t filled with warm fuzzies about this trip all of the time, or even most of the time. But what I was filled with was a sense that I got to see God move in the lives of people. I got to extend parts of myself to people who needed to be loved, not with emotion, but with my will.