All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go

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With my final count of passports under my belt and the last email sent to parents, all that is left to do is wait until my alarm rings at 3:00 am tomorrow morning to get this show on the road!

In less than 24 hours, I will be leading a team of incredible students and adults on a mission trip to Guatemala. This week we will be doing some construction projects, vacation bible school, and teaching english during the days and partnering with our host church in the evenings for all sorts of ministry, food, fun, and our annual soccer game. (They usually smoke us!)

It has been a long time since I have been this excited for a mission trip. For many reasons this has been one of the hardest trips to prepare for. The logistics were off the charts, the financial cost was quite high, and some of the personalities quite strong. Because of these factors I found it quite difficult to get my head and heart around this trip. I spent the last month having crazy dreams, and anxiety induced sessions at local buffets.

Truth be told, I was a little concerned that I was simply going to spend the trip spinning out of control about things I am trying to control, but know I can't. I lowered my expectations to the absolute bottom as I simply wanted to return with every student I brought. (This is still one of my expectations by the way)

As I reflected on this, I had the awful feeling that maybe I am rounding the corner into the final stretch of my student ministry career. I mean why would I lead a trip of this sort to simply countdown the time for it to be over? And then this realization got to be one more thing to freak out about. But what I have found, is that as we continue to walk with Jesus we never stay in the place we find ourselves right now in this moment! This truth became a reality for me!

By continually wrestling with Jesus, I have died to my anxiety (most of it) and am anticipating God to move in huge ways in and through our group!

I am so thankful to God and his faithfulness and graciousness towards me. The preparation for this trip has again proven all the more how much I am in need of God in every area of my life! Because of God's grace and because of the incredible people who have partnered with me, specifically Amanda, my right arm in ministry, we are ready to go!

But even more than being logistically prepared to go, I am finally spiritually prepared to go. My fear of having such low expectations for this trip has been exchanged for incredibly high expectations for God to show up in huge and awesome ways! I am counting on Him rocking our worlds, blowing our minds, and grabbing a hold of our hearts. I have a renewed passion for my students and for my call as a youth worker.

When we just get from point A to point B we only get to point B. No matter what, in a week this trip will be over and we will be home and accomplished our building projects, vbs, and english classes. But I am convinced that the real ministry that we are to do and the real work that God wants to do in our lives in not at point B, but is all along the journey to point B.

Today, I am looking forward to being present, to keep an open mind and heart, so see what God is up to in the individual lives of our students and my friends in Guatemala. I am looking forward to being sensitive to the subtle movements of God in all the individual moments that will make up this trip!

Please pray that I will practice the ministry of presence this week. I am convinced that getting to point B is not the purpose of this trip. It is the unknown ministry that will happen on the way there that is going to rock our wolds! Pray I don't steam roll those moments in my knee-jerk effort to simply get to the end!

Time to pack!

bk

We are taking a little detour . . .

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Dear faithful readers of this blog (i.e. mom),

In just under a week I am taking a team of students and leaders on a mission trip to Guatemala.  For the past few months we have been managing mountains of paperwork and endless logistics combined with team trainings and meetings.  And now, in just under a week we are hitting the road and going to do some incredible ministry alongside an amazing church in the little town of Santa Apolonia.

In an attempt to embrace this new world we live in where access to information and technology is no longer an option, but a way of life, I am coming up with an entirely new social media strategy for this trip.  I am going to intentionally use Facebook and Twitter to share pictures and updates throughout the day.  On top of those updates, I am planning on  using this blog to post a daily summary so that our church (and parents) can be encouraged by all that God is doing in and through our group.  My hope is that our church community would be able to pray specifically for what is going on within our group and in our village, and for me to reflect daily on the places where God is showing up.

For many of you who are younger youth workers, I know you are probably laughing and shaking your head with how slow I am on the uptake with these initiatives.  But for me, who cut my mission trip teeth on CB communication and mixed tapes, I am pretty proud of my progress. :)

All this is to say, that for the next week or so this blog space is becoming an arm of the student ministry of Marin Covenant Church.  So, if you were expecting some sassy blog post about the inner workings of youth ministry, have no fear, those will come back online on the 24th of June.  In the que are posts about over sharing, preaching like Francis Chan, loneliness in student ministry, and a couple of book reviews. Who knows, I may even re-post my epic blog on bikinis.

If you are a parent who is sending your child with me to Guatemala, this is the place for all the latest and greatest regarding the trip.  (Also, don't forget to check out my Facebook or subscribe to my twitter.)

I could really use some extra love and prayers this week as we put together the final details and I find myself wrestling through my heightened anxiety regarding every and all things about this trip.  I do not want to get lost in the details or spin out about what's next.  I long to be present with my students and my friends in the village of Santa Apolonia, and mostly to be present in my walk with God.  God is at work, and I don't want to miss it!

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support!

See you in GUAT!

bk