Monday, August 04, 2008

Just a few things I learned this summer…

1.) Challenging is good, the harder the better in the end.
2.) I am loved by a God whose love is bigger than I will ever know.
3.) Community is a constant work in process and it takes a lot to keep Satan from having a foot hold.
4.) Small things do make a difference.
5.) Encouragement & Motivation go a really long way even f at first they don't seem like it.
6.) There is a big difference between sympathy and compassion.
7.) Love is the key to true service.
8.) We have to want to grow in order to be able to.
9.) Once in a while we need to take the risk and stand on the edge daring to be different.
10.) Failure is inevitable it's what you do after you fail that matters.
11.) God must be at the core or all things will fall apart and despair will set in.
12.) We must continually make space for God.
13.) If we fail to acknowledge & use the gifts God has given us we are not being obedient to the calling God has given us.
14.) We must always continue to be teachable because learning is always a necessity.
15.) Even when we feel we are always in a "God environment," we must continue to seek alone time with God in the Word and in prayer.
16.) Injustice is cyclic and at some point we must stop putting a band aid on a problem that needs a surgery only our God can fix. But isn't the band aid doing some good?
17.) Every person has value and worth because we are all made in God's image and to deny that is a sin.
18.) We must seek to find our identity in God not in others.
19.) There is always an opportunity to love.
20.) Finally I have learned to believe in myself because God believes in me.

I'm sure there are many more things I have learned but this is just what comes to mind. I can't believe the summer is already ending and a chapter of my life is through. I am so grateful for all things that happened this summer, even the challenging ones which made me stronger. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I met, and for the relationships that I hope can only grow stronger. I am thankful for the opportunity to see God at work in the city of Los Angeles and to know that God is always at work here, even when I'm thousands of miles away in Chicago. It's also comforting to know that God is working in Chicago and has a reason for having me go back there for one more year.

This summer for me has affirmed a calling I have long been putting off. A calling to recognize the needs of the inner city and the fact that there are people who need to be loved there to. I came out here with the idea that "real missions" were outside of the US, I heard otherwise but I wasn't sure about that. God has completely changed my heart this summer and taught me how to be compassionate about what I see. He has taught me the response of humility and of willingness. I see Jesus everyday through my groups as they are serving, through the people we are feeding, the kids we are hugging, and the service we are doing. God is all over this city. You can find him in the top floors of the financial district, at the water courts, in the library, out in Hollywood, resting on the beach in Santa Monica, hanging out with sister Luz, playing with kids at Los Familias, Lighthouse, Wyvrenwood, Faith in Christ, Red Shield, Hollywood Boys & Girls, SASLA, at the midnight mission, the LA mission, Long Beach Rescue Mission, St. Francis, and all the other ministry sites we serve. You can see him at 7:15 during a breakfast search or 10:15 during a meet a need. You can find him hanging out down on San Julian in skid row or singing karoke at Central City Community Church on Wednesday nights. You can see him at 5533 Long Beach Ave. over by the train tracks on Slauson. You'll find him down in Compton and on Grape street in Watts.

God is everywhere and his people are everywhere trying their best to be his hands and feet in a pretty messed up world.

I'm sad to leave but I know that God is still here and there are still people here who care about this city and who will continue to serve. My service is for another time and another place for the next 9 months and so humbly I will accept that and go where I have been called, even if it doesn't sound at all like what I want to be doing.

Signing out,
CSM Los Angeles City Host Summer 2008

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