Friday, June 22, 2012

LFR... Giving you and those you serve my heart!

Being a short term missionary has it's ups and downs. We all know the enemy attacks whenever we are on the brink of doing something amazing for the kingdom. It comes with the territory. So while experiencing missions can be very fulfilling, it can also be very draining. But THIS... this experience is like nothing I've ever experienced. I am humbled and in awe of the amazing works of our God.

Instead of going back to Haiti... like last year, or going to Kenya... as was originally planned... I followed what I felt was the Holy Spirit guiding me on this journey that would lead me to Lighthouse Family Retreat in Florida this summer. Equipped with His love, comfort, and the support of so many of my family and friends, I embarked on an adventure of co-leading 21 rising 8th graders and 20 of their parents on a trip that would change each of us forever. We spent months preparing this young group to do laundry, love on children who are/were on treatment for cancer, show support and enthusiasm for those in the family who are well, and to show the love of our Heavenly Father in ways that only He could do through us. And boy did they represent our Lord! I am so incredibly blessed to have been able to witness the workings of these 21 students. I didn't hear a single one complain! They did laundry, cleaned up after other people, filled drinks before family members had a chance to ask for more, and some of them even carried around children who were weak and tired throughout the entire day (Susannah... you're my rock star!) I am incredibly encouraged by this group of young students... who will one day change the world. They can do it! I know they can! I've seen them change the lives of 15 families already! It just goes to show you that if you put a little faith in our younger generations... they will take charge and make waves in a messed up world.

The week was full of fun, laughter, talent shows, ice cream parties, movies on the lawn, and yes... even questions and tears. It's hard to be in a situation with children who have been diagnosed with cancer, and not have questions. One of the children in treatment told one of my students they aren't afraid to die. Of course this brought up questions for my student, who thankfully opened up to our small group and began to discuss this. It's a hard concept for any human to understand... not being afraid to die... but the faith and love for our Lord and Savior answers and brings peace to the idea, because for that child... and for each one of us... when that day comes... we get to BE WITH our Savior! That's nothing to be afraid of my friends! A parent on the retreat even told me: "I can't wake up every day wondering if my precious son is going to relapse. I have to have faith in God." Another parent told someone on our trip: "I believe God gave up His son, so I wouldn't have to give up mine."

The lessons I have learned, and will continue to learn, from the people on this trip are more than I could have prayed for. Missions are funny in that way... you leave to serve others and always find you feel they are serving you more than you could ever give to them. Thank you to Lighthouse for reassuring us that "He doesn't call the qualified... He qualifies the called."

It's interesting... I don't shed tears or get a little sad now for their situations or for fear God doesn't have planned to heal each child with cancer. Reality tells us He doesn't plan to heal each child while they are on this Earth, but when they meet Him... they will be healed... AND He has a perfect plan for each one of us. However, I do shed tears because I miss them... Each person I spent that amazing week with. I do shed tears of joy for having experienced a perfect week and for thankfulness for the amazing people God allowed me to meet.

God has been working! I mean... we know He always is... but it's really amazing when we get to see it play out.

Here are some photos from Retreat 3 - Gulf Place, FL: 

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie, thank you for sharing about your experience with the Lighthouse Family retreat! I have never served on one but have several friends who have. It sounds like the kids and their families weren't the only one who got a blessing out of it.