A look at my West Virginia mission trip by the numbers:
6 days with
53 Junior High students and
12 Adult Sponsors split into
7 teams that rotated through
7 different ministry opportunities in
6 small towns nestled between approximately
But looking at this trip strictly by the numbers wouldn't do it justice. It wouldn't tell the whole story. Not even close.
It doesn't cover how so many of those young teenagers grew spiritually that week. How they met the needs of community members while also loving them. How upper-middle class suburban kids piled into vans on Friday moring; far richer for having spent a week in one of the nation's poorest counties.
Simple numbers can't express what it felt like to watch the difference in how these kids worshipped from Sunday to Thursday night. What it sounded like to hear story after story of how Jesus had worked in their hearts that week. Stories about learning contentment in what you have from those with far less than you. Stories about putting the needs of others ahead of your own.
One girl saying, "I learned that old people can teach you so much from their experiences." A typically macho guy recalling how he struggled for words when a little boy asked if he could come play again. "I couldn't tell him 'no' but I knew that I couldn't tell him 'yes' either," he said. And perhaps my favorite report was of the two students with the opportunity to witness to an elderly woman in a nursing home. Two days earlier she had been openly hostile with one of our sponsors. But those two students were able to share their faith with her. And before they left her room she had prayed to accept Christ. Another group of girls decided to take some weed-eaters to a nearby woman's house and do some much needed, yet unsolicited yardwork. Through God's perfect timing they arrived later than planned. Late enough for the woman to arrive home as they finished. At a time of day when she had both the time and the opportunity to talk to a sponsor about what was really going on in her life. And once she saw that they really wanted to listen the floodgates really opened. The woman and her son both prayed for salvation that day.
To someone who has read the first chapter of Genesis, it should no longer come as a surprise what God can achieve in six days. Last week I was reminded again.