One of the most important things when pursuing a goal, is to start off right. Because if you start off right, your focus is fixed on whatever will get you through. But, if you begin with a skewed focus, motivation will deplete as obstacles and adversities pop up.
This is how prayer is suppose to be.
A prayer’s goal is to re-prioritize the one praying from being self-centered to God-centered. We tap into the Holy Spirit whenwe pray to the One Who gives us the guidance on how to seek first the kingdom and the mind of Christ. But most of the time, prayer is used as a time filler. If in the middle of a very awkward transition during a service, the #1 go-to strategy is to pray. When someone is taking his or her sweet time to get on stage—Pray! When the band is having technical difficulties—Pray! When the pastor does not know how to go from announcements into the message—you got it, you just pray.
With this mind set, I began to look at prayer as a joke.
As if it was actually just a trade secret on how to avoid any awkwardness during a service. But, this is not the point of prayer. Prayer should be done in a constant manner because it’s our direct line to an all-knowing, all-powerful Source. Do we take advantage of this all-powerful Source that can fully equip us each day with wisdom and guidance? Nope. That’s because we dumb prayer down to a de-awkward-fyer.
Here in Grand Isle, it was absolutely vital for all of us to start off strong.
Although God can use anything, even my mistakes, it was important for my own confidence that I start off with a productive week. And praise be to God, it was. It really was one of the best weeks.
For this week, a typical day looked like this: we begin at 830 am with a missionary devotion and plunge right into planning for Day Camp that day. We create games for the kids along with a skit, bible study, and a time to memorize Scripture. After re-fueling at the Energy 21 cafeteria that serves some questionable meats but also the best soft serve ice cream this side of I-10, we send out a 15 passenger van which picks up the children for the 3 and half hour Day camp. After returning all the children at the conclusion of Day Camp which is a 6-week VBS, we grab dinner as we prepare for evening activities. Evening activities arrange from youth to girls bible study to game nights to adult bible studies. Every night is something different and is packed with some sort of activity. After evening activities, we missionaries chill at the pastor’s house across the street or head to our long a waited beds.
Not only is it important to have a good first week to jump start the rest of the summer. It is equally important to begin each day strong.
It will be impossible to look at this summer as a whole because each moment I am handling a different situation more unique and more individual than the last. That is because I am dealing with people and to generalize people would be to stereotype and dehumanize. I do not look at them like they are all from the same region and therefore require the same treatment. Instead, they all require, and should expect, individual treatment based upon their needs.
And what made this week a perfect jump start? The kids in Day Camp are perfect angels. Okay, that’s a major exaggeration, but they do have a desire to memorize Scripture (for a free snowball, of course), actively participate in the Bible Study (the section I am in charge of), and eager to pray out loud in the opening ceremony. We also have plenty of youth helpers who either out of boredom or further pursuit of Jesus come each day to assist with the very rambunctious children. Already, all of the missionaries keep me on my toes with their many jokes and one-liners. I couldn’t imagine teaming up with anyone else than Riley, Elizabeth, Caleb, and Andrew. We are five different college students walking five very different walks of faith. All of us have one thing in common—I can school them all in basketball. Or, more importantly, we all want to see the truth of the gospel reach the ends of the earth. This is why the week was a perfect jump start.
Because I am refreshed every day with their enthusiasm and love for our mission.
To remind me to treat each day with a new energy, we, the missionaries, attend a devotion every morning that lasts up to an hour or longer led by Pastor John (the head pastor) and Noah (the teaching/youth pastor). We discuss Scripture and concepts, ask questions, and hear various stories from Pastor John. There is a great need of the gospel in Grand Isle. But, if I rush through the summer, through Day Camp, through a week, or even through a single day—the preciousness of these moments is lost and I skip over opportunities. I don’t want to waste a single moment. So, each morning I pray and let God take control from there.
Week 1 is complete! I hope you enjoyed reading and continue to pray for us here at the tip of the boot as we love God, love people, and I try to love seafood (not so much on the last one).
I’ll post each week!
To be continued….