The team is back in Texas and some are repacking to take family vacations, thanking their mothers for doing endless loads of their laundry, and most are sleeping. It was a fantastic week, the Lord did so many incredible things.
Our last day included a concert at The Arkansas Correction Center in Little Rock and a six hour trip home. It was a great morning at the Correction Center and a sweet way to wrap up the trip.
When we arrived back at The Heights, everyone was glad to say goodbye to the 15 passenger vans and hello to their own beds.
Over the course of the week we asked several students to write their stories down and tell us what they saw the Lord doing.
Austin Tye, an upcoming sophomore at Allen High School, wrote about how the Lord prepared his heart for the Reach Trip and how he saw God move at the beginning of the week…
” When I received the opportunity to share the gospel in Nashville, I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to go. I eventually decided to take part because a lot of my friends were going. In the months leading up to the trip, God really got a hold of my heart and convicted me about why I was going on the trip. I knew I was supposed to go on this trip to serve God, not for myself or to hang out with friends. I was listening to the radio one day and a song called “If not us, then who?” came on. God used music to help me realize that I am on earth for one purpose, to make God’s name known and to bring him glory. I am asking God to do big things through this trip, and big things in me. I am ready and asking God to reveal to me what I should do, and praying I do not ignore his commands. We have spent a short time with the people at the Nashville Rescue Mission so far, and I can already see the Lord moving. God has reminded me that I am not any better than any of the people that I am spending time with this week. I am just as broken and in need of Jesus as they are. It is only the beginning of the trip, and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store. “
Austin wrote this at the beginning of the trip, and it was such a neat thing to watch God answer prayers to Austin, and to others on the team.
Jack Spitaletto, an upcoming sophomore at Wylie Preparatory Academy, wrote this during the middle of the trip.
“One of the men at the Nashville Rescue Mission that we were serving with shared his testimony with us today. The guy was very humble when he talked. He started by saying that he lived a fortunate life and grew up in a church home. He went on to tell us that as he got older he became an alcoholic and struggled through that for years. He did not make any excuses for his sin, but always pointed back to God. He mentioned humility a lot and the way he delivered his story was very humble. That really connected with me because pride is something I have always wrestled with in my walk with Christ.
He mentioned that it was only his second time to share his testimony and that he had been praying for an opportunity to get to tell his story to someone. God is answering prayers all around us and I can’t wait to see what else this week has in store.”
God used the people we were serving this week to remind us that our stories matter and that God is always in control. It was an incredible thing to see how God brings his people together and how he writes all of our stories.
Natalie Russell, an upcoming sophomore at Williams High School in Plano, wrote this on the way home yesterday.
This week in Nashville the Lord has revealed a lot to me. This was my first mission trup, so I was not really sure what to expect throughout the week. I learned more than I ever imagined I would.
I was super nervous to go to the mission because I has always thought of homeless people as scary and dangerous. The first day at the mission I was scared of what to expect and completely out of my comfort zone. I was really praying to God that I would have the courage to talk to the people there and not be as nervous. As I met the people at the mission I realized there was so much more to them. They were beautiful and full of God’s joy and it amazed me.
The first day I sat with a man at lunch named John, who told me about how he was teaching himself to play guitar. In that moment of regular conversation, I realized that all these people weren’t below me and that they weren’t poor. They were so rich in God’s love.
As the week went on God humbled me and showed me that these people weren’t just people, they were my people.
We are all equal in the Kingdom of God and I am no better or worse because of where I come from. We are all broken and in dire need for Jesus. This week showed me how important it is to love others no matter what your curcumstances are. These people who had nothing some of the most loving and genuine people I have ever met.
When we performed for their chapel on Wednesday Night I watched a crippled man who could barely walk, stumble to the front of the church and drop to his knees in praise. God has really used this week to humble me and show me how the love of Jesus changes everything. The people at the mission really demonstrated how we need to stop looking for joy in worldly things and instead look for it in God.”
Sara Spitaletto, an upcoming freshman at Wylie Preparatory Academy, wrapped up her trip like this…
This week in Nashville has been truly amazing. I came into this week with low expectations. I expected that I already knew everything I needed. God made me do a 180 and tranformed my mind with a new perspective.
At the beginning of the week, I was afraid to sit with the homeless people at lunch and start conversations, because I had always thought of them as full of harm and brokenness. As the week went on I found myself listening to them give me advice about life and the Lord.
Songs that we struggled through before, became better because our team stopped singing like it was a choir performance, and we started to worship.
From homeless people, to elders, to prisoners, the Lord showed me something different through each one. He showed me that there is a joyful spirit that can only come from the Lord himself.
This week my heart was changed because the Lord showed me that everything I do, from singing to folding towels, is worship. “
Reading these stories over again has reminded me how big our God is.
“Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than all that we ask or think.. to Him be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21