On my trip, I would jot down haphazard notes of things I thought may be worth sharing in a blog post. My original plan was to update the blog more often during the trip, but that just didn’t happen.
So here are the culmination of those jumbled thoughts! I tried to elaborate just enough so you’d all catch what I’m talking about 🙂
Everyday missions trips
At one point on this trip I had the thought, “My life is a mission trip.” I should be holding out on ministering or a willingness to serve or show love to other just for when I get on an uncomfortable plane trip to another time zone and smack the “missions trip” label on it. Striving to live like Jesus everyday with the same intentionality and awareness I’ve had this past week should be my everyday. I don’t need to go on missions trips. My life is a missions trip.
“If your vision for your life doesn’t intimidate you, it probably does insult God.” – The God Ask
Pride and good intentions
There were times at midway through the trip where it felt like pride crept in, riding on the back of good intentions. And what I mean without going into detail is, basically, I was being opinionated about over people’s opinionated-ness. I would catch myself about to text a complain to someone, then erased my own complaining attitude by literally deleting the text. This thinking helped me to become more conscious of the fruits of the Spirit in my attitude.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24
Positivity on display
Everyone has mentioned what a blessing it is that my whole family was able to come on this trip together. And it was. I saw how respected my dad was in a different group of people. I saw a new side of my brother and was able to spend more time with him.
But what stuck out most to me was the experience I had working with my mom. Her and I are unfortunately not very alike when it comes to personality. I was on the same team as her serving in the dining area. She is so extremely kind, patient, and positive. there were time when I would be getting frustrated because my Type A feathers were being ruffled. She would always point out the silver lining or give others the benefit of the doubt regarding their intentions behind their actions and choices. She’s friendly with everyone and everyone loves her.
She’s known as being a sweet encourager by everyone who has talked with her and she always stays positive. That experience was truly a blessing.
Great faith is not always getting all your prayers answered; great faith is loving and serving God no matter what happens – Daddy, aka Randy Blankenship, Sr.
This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen
Something struck me deeply on this trip. Sometime towards the very end, reflecting the the beauty I had witnessed, I somehow thought of allthe people who speak often about how hard one must work and how much money one must have to live their dreams. Then it occurred to me:God takes care of me and takes me to beautiful places without me having to “earn” the finances. I’m already experiencing typical people’s “dreams” – even when those aren’t my own dreams!
My dreams are and always have been to be a wife to an amazing, godly man, a good mommy to a multiracial family, and impacting lives for eternity. Two out of the three I’m already doing! Then God threw this experience in as a cherry on top!
Reflections on what it means to lead worship
We had the opportunity to visit a baptist church on a Sunday night while we were there. The style of the service was unlike anything I expected – and I’ve been to baptist churches before.
There was, who I think was, an associate pastor who opened the service with a welcome, announcements, then a short talk about worship and how the first song related to their theme for the evening. We sang a hymn together without any vocalist singing into a mic. Then he came back up again to talk about the meaning in the words of the next song. Once again, he backed away from the mic and we worshiped together. We then listened to a missionary share about his calling and future adventures. At the end, the main pastor leading the evening came back to the mic and prepared us to sing the final hymn of the night.
He didn’t lead one song or stand in the front and center of the room while the songs were being sung, but he was more of a worship leader than many I’ve seen in a long while. He prepared our minds and hearts for worship by tying together all the songs and explaining the depth and excitement of their meaning with us.
These preparations stirred my heart and mind to engage more fully, rather than simply reading words off a screen or following the usual motions of worship participation.
God gives you wisdom if you ask – believe and don’t doubt. – Dale Sommers (James 1:5-6)
Where would we rather be?
One of the leaders was talking with his small group of guests. There was a steeple in the distance on the horizon. He pointed out at it and asked, “Would you rather be here or there?” They all said they would rather be right there were they were.
The leader proceeded to ask, “What are we going to do to make ‘there’ more like here?”
What an inspiring challenge! When did church get boring or daunting or discouraging? Why can’t church be a place we look forward to? Are the only people who look forward to church the most “godly” among us? If we dread church, does that mean we’re horrible people?
There are definitely circumstances where our heart is not right and it needs to be checked. But why can’t church be fun? When did we forget that meeting together is all about celebration – about the joy and hope we have in Him? About a loving and awe-inspiring Creator?
God wouldn’t call us to be holy if it wasn’t possible. – Ted Merrell
A thought on real revival
One of the key prayer words surrounding this weekend and this ministry was “renewal.”
We pray often for revival. We feel don’t see revival happening because we don’t see the “signs” we’re expecting – we’re chasing signs instead of realizing that signs are to follow us a Christians.
Revival is when the Body of Christ comes together and acts like the Body of Christ. Revival is happening in Kokomo. Revival is happening in Northern Ireland.
I didn’t go to Ireland with a denomination. I didn’t go with an organization. I went with a group of average people from Kokomo who all love Jesus and wanted to come together to show His love to people in Northern Ireland.
We are Your church. We pray revive this earth. Build Your kingdom here. Let the darkness fear. Show Your mighty hand. Heal our streets and land. Set Your church on fire. Win this nation back. Change the atmosphere. Build Your kingdom here. We pray. – “Build Your Kingdom Here,” Rend Collective
Well, I’ll end with the entirety of the lyrics for the week’s theme song. The lyrics are all just too good to not include any one section.
Thanks for reading the random tidbits I had leftover but not strung together from my trip! Thanks to all who supported me and the trip in various ways! God is doing exciting things!
In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—This is the pow’r of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home—Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.