Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crazy Training Week in Houston!

Well friends its been a crazy two weeks here in H-Town. Yesterday we finished up our intense two week training. Here is a run-down of a basic day of training for a city host like myself. We start each morning with what we call morning prayer. We have this sheet with some liturgy on it. I've usually been disheartened with liturgy only because I remember when I was a kid it was really boring reciting the same thing every week. However, the Lord is allowing me to open my heart to it. In the middle of the recited prayers there is a time for Lectio Divina, which is a really cool way to interact with scripture. Someone reads a portion of scripture and our job is to let a word or phrase catch our attention in a way followed by silence and meditation on that word or phrase. Morning prayer has been so refreshing to me and gets my heart aligned with God's purpose for me.

After morning prayer we all pile into the van we rented and set off for a morning and afternoon of visiting many..many..many ministry sites. Since I will be in charge of navigating to all these sites at one point or another, these visits are designed to familiarize us with the site and to meet the director at the site. I must say I am so joyful to see the ways God is working in this city to fight injustice, stereotypes and poverty through these ministry sites. I can't wait to go to these sites every week to serve with my group.

After a lunch back at the housing or at a park we go to dinner! This is one of my favorite parts of CSM. Every group that comes for a mission trip gets to eat at a different ethnic restaurant every night. Every night of training we ate at one of our restaurants ranging from Mediterranean to El Salvadorian to BBQ to Vietnamese and so much more. Most of you know I love food so you can feel my excitement...haha. Lets just hope I can manage to not gain 20 pounds this summer!

Here are some random highlights of the last week or so...

1. Got to hang out with people from another ministry called Mission Year. They have a house in the heart of the city and are working to build community in their neighborhood. It’s a beautiful ministry. Check it out.

2. We get to lead a prayer tour of Houston for our groups every week. I've been training on how to give the prayer tour which is intimidating...If you had to learn your way around Houston and be able to know pages of information you'd be scared too...haha. But I love the prayer tour. Seeing the needs of the city and also the ways God is working is just amazing.

3. Had the best BBQ of my life at Thelma’s BBQ in the third ward...delish.

4. Went to one our ministries called Open Door. It’s a site where men recover from drug and alcohol addictions while getting discipled. I met a guy there who was applying to get into the program. He said Jesus is setting him free from his addictions. Praise the Lord for transformation!

5. Got to pray with a man on the streets who was hungry. I was led to buy him some food. Jesus says feed the hungry and give the thirsty something to drink. I am learning a lot about how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a way that is transforming my life...

6. Met another homeless man named John downtown. He approached me because he was hungry and asked me to help him out. I told him to walk with me. I asked about his life and he told me that he is a Christ follower but is depressed from being on the streets and the fact that his mother died recently. Holy Spirit allowed me to encourage him and buy him a meal. He is such a nice, genuine fellow. I introduced him to my team and we all stood in a circle, holding hands praying for John in the middle of a busy street corner. It was beautiful.

7. Got to do a prayer labyrinth. I've never done anything like this before but it was amazing.

8. Went to a Houston Astros game at Minute Maid Park…pretty sweet facility. The Astros weren't so good though...

There is so much more that I could tell all of you. The people I've met, the crazy random things my team and I have done, the list goes on. I want to tell you all what the Lord has been doing in me recently...

I've started struggling with looking at people through my own fleshly eyes instead of through the eyes of Christ. I see this playing out in my interactions with my other team members and other random people I talk to. I have this tendency to see people’s faults and dwell on them. This causes me to think that I have it all together - which is far from the truth. I started to get slightly angry at somethings I heard from people I was around and it was discouraging. I went to the Lord with this and He told me to see them as He sees them. He told me that I should not try to fix their faults but instead I should set an example for my brothers and sisters. This is requiring me to keep my thoughts, words and actions in check and making sure they are conforming to Christ. This is a painful process, but the Lord is patient with me and is already working in me. I've recently started seeing people as people made in the image of God and not merely sinners. I have a desire to pursue holiness and to let Christ refine me by the fire.

I got to spend some great time with the Lord today on my day off. The Lord ministered to me through his Word and in prayer...

Well tomorrow my first group arrives. It should be an amazing week. I am stoked to finally host my own group. Please be praying for me. Pray that I would find time to be with the Lord among the business of hosting. Pray for my strength this week and that I would let Jesus work in and through me.

-Tyler, CSM Houston Summer 2011 City Host

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