Every time I take students on a trip like this, and truthfully just about every time I get to spend time with my students, I am taken back by what a blessed man I am. Truthfully, I have the best job in the world. And this trip is the best parts of my job all wrapped up and condensed into one week.
You may not realize it, but building community is an art form. It is something that takes continuous effort and care. It is something that can not be neglected. And building community is my bread and butter. I love, love, love, creating environments, making space, creating memories that draw students together and create a sense of family.
A trip like this can either bring together a group, or the drama factor can kill it right in its tracks. We managed to have zero drama, zero romance, a lot of laughing, and plenty of dance parties. I love these students and I love the community that we have built. I hold sacred the traditions we have built and the larger story of faith and of our student ministry that gets worked out. Our incoming senior class stepped up in huge ways and is ready to lead!
It is so pickin' difficult to get students to slow down, un plug, and be quiet. And without making space for students to be reflective, there is no way they will be able to encounter God. For all the work that we did, we managed to create some peace and quiet, some silence and reflection, and the fruit of that has been overwhelming.
Students have had the opportunity to reflect daily on where they have seen God show up. And in just a short week of daily living into this discipline, I am noticing an increased level of spiritual receptivity. I am watching our students serve and care for one another and some of my most difficult students embrace God or at least be willing to wrestle with Him.
Jesus is grabbing a hold of our kids and giving them a much bigger picture of faith, of the church, and of ministry. It is such an honor to be a small part of these students spiritual awakening as they figure out their faith.
Life altering experiences:
One of the students on this trip was actually born in Guatemala and abandoned at a hospital. After going from orphanage to orphanage he was finally adopted by a family in America, in Marin. He has never been to Guatemala, he has absolutely zero cultural touch points.
It has been incredible to watch as this students' eyes are opened up to his roots. He is soaking up this experience, and receiving endless love from the Guatemalan couple who are facilitating this trip for us. What is even more incredible is that our group decided to give up one of our touristy activities so that we could, as a group, attempt to find the hospital where this student was born. So on Saturday, before we hit the airport, we will get to go to the hospital, and even get to go into the maternity ward and see where abandoned babies are left. It is going to be an incredible and powerful moment! I am blown away that I get to be a part of it.
There is so much more:
However, being that it's the end of the trip and I am officially sleep deprived, I will wrap it up.
The truth is, I could go on and on with all the things I love about my job. I am honored to be called into student ministry, and I am honored to do it at such an amazing church like Marin Covenant. I can not believe that God allows a weak an broken vessel, like myself, to be used as part of the spiritual development of these students!
As we reenter our community and get back to life as normal, please pray that we would continue to be sensitive to the spirit of God and faithful to follow through in the ways and places He leads.
Thank you for your prayers and support this week! I am looking forward to landing back in SFO and getting some much needed rest. See you Sunday at church, or later this week for coffee, or Wednesday night at youth group, or around the intra-web. :)