Hey! How are you doing?
Wow. That’s all I can really say right now as I take a short break from daily life to write this post. Taking a deep breath to just absorb this moment of relaxation, I want to reflect on my past weekend. I drove six and a half hours on Friday to Zion National Park with a group of five other guys to spend the weekend camping and hiking in the midst of God’s glorious and majestic creation. Now this group of guys weren’t just some random people who were feeling extra adventurous this weekend. This group of guys also isn’t my closest group of friends here at Biola. This group of guys is a special, chosen bunch who were all hand-picked by God to accomplish one goal: to bring the love of Christ to the people of Argentina. I mentioned these guys in my last post, and we are all on a team through Biola’s Student Missionary Union, or SMU for short, going on a short-term mission trip to Argentina for the majority of the month of January. I mean, just look at these studs:
Just a side note, the SMU is an organization that is completely student run that sends teams out into places ranging from downtown Los Angeles to different countries that are scattered across the world. They also put on the largest student run missions conference in the whole country during the spring semester, which is always incredible from what I’ve heard.
Anyways, back to my awesome team. We are going to be going to the mountains in Patagonia in Argentina to minister to and share the gospel with the hikers we encounter along the way. When I heard about all the amazing teams that were going out, this was the only one that I felt God highlight in my heart to apply for, so I took a step and applied in faith that I was listening to his prompting correctly. By God’s grace I was placed on this team, and I couldn’t have been more scared and happy at the same time. I was stoked to be going on this awesome trip, but there were so many variables that I couldn’t account for. Am I physically capable of doing everything this trip will require of me? Will I have the boldness and confidence to be able to walk up to people that I don’t know and talk to them about Jesus? And one of the biggest questions that plagued my heart was this: was I going to connect with my team? After my first team meeting, I started to worry that the answer to that last question would be no. I didn’t really know any of the other guys, and, at first glance, we all seemed so extremely different. Fortunately, after a few more meetings and especially after this weekend-long retreat to Zion, I can confidently say that I was wrong. I was right about the fact that we are all very, very different. We all have different strengths, interests, and passions. But I was wrong about not being able to connect with my team. Because while we are all different, just like two hands fit perfectly together when you intertwine the fingers, we all work so perfectly together. All of one person’s strengths are able to compliment another’s weaknesses and vice versa. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about how perfectly God orchestrated this team and how perfectly he led each team member to this exact point in life to even apply for this trip.
This weekend to Zion with these five guys, who I am starting to see as my brothers, was a total and complete confirmation that this is what God wants me to do. It’s funny because if I had it my way, I would not have picked this weekend to drive six hours each way, sleep outside for two nights, and hike a total of thirteen miles in two days. The prior two weekends were packed with activities and business as well, so I wasn’t completely looking forward to devoting a whole weekend to another event. But my way a lot of times isn’t God’s way. He knew what I needed most—rest—and I haven’t felt like I’ve gotten solid rest in a while. So almost ironically, he sends me on a retreat to Zion, which is a Hebrew word that means rest and relaxation. God knew that this trip was exactly what I needed. While my body was physically drained because of the activities we were doing, my soul was filled through the rest and relaxation of being in his wonderful creation around some of the best people I’ve ever met. I mean I don’t understand how people can look at views like these and not, one, realize that there is a creator of the universe, and two, have the depths of your soul be completely filled:
I just want to end with the encouragement to trust God with every little detail in your life, whether it is with the unknowns of being put on an unfamiliar team, or if it is with the stress of all the assignments that you have due tomorrow. He wants to lift these burdens off of our shoulders because he loves us enough to do so.