Included here is a sampling of what some of our students (and one of our leaders) learned on their most recent mission trip to inner city Cincinatti. The students made me tear up quite a few times as they recounted things that they saw that broke their hearts. Like, for instance, kids coming to the boys and girls center and eating 4 helpings of lunch because it was their only meal of the day.
They also had me in hysterics as they told the tale of a crazy lice infestation. It's not a funny scenario to be found in (63 or so of the 90 some students had it!) but the students were real troopers. Instead of freaking out and taking off, most of them stayed the course, served through it all, and became lice trivia experts. (Like did you know if you are of pure African descent, you can't acquire lice? Huh...) We give a lot of credit to Rob, who held the team together through the infestation and resulting quarintine.
Anyway, enough of me talking. Here is what they had to say:
Rob (the fearless leader):
I really enjoyed being challenged to forgive others, and just as importantly to be mindful of our own flaws and to seek out forgiveness, cause I'm sure I offend people and don't think twice about it. I wish I'd found it at the time, but Acts 14:21-22 was helpful to me. We might've faced challenges, but not the greatest, and we know that challenges help to grow us in faith and our dependence on God.
I have learned so much from this trip to Cincinnati. My favorite lesson though was learning to be unselfish. When things stirred up, most people spent a lot of their time helping others instead of worrying about themselves. It made me think a lot on how much we should love others, even enough to help out when it was unexpected. I guess that true love means that when you're willing to help out until it hurts, your connection with God grows even more.
I learned just how great God's forgiveness is and how much we take it for granted. I know I sure do anyway. I've been challenged to forgive others their transgressions because our trespasses against God are way bigger than others' against us. I've also been challenged to remember how undeserving I am of God's forgiveness and how lucky I am to have been given it.
I know I have now said this a couple of times.... but the fact that God pays just as much attention to the little stuff as the big stuff. Just like one sin is the same as another. Plus, through devos and experiences, I have learned to serve when I don't feel like it, and love when I don't feel like it (and have a VERY long way to go)...