How do we tell others about what we experienced the past week in RIO? That is the million-dollar question! It is easy to recap the events, places, people – taking each day and telling where we were and what we did.
But, what we experienced in our hearts and minds will be a bit more difficult to share. I have been doing these kinds of trips with students for over 25 years – it is never easy to come home and communicate what really happened. But, this one thing I know – it was a transforming experience for each member of this mission team. It was life-changing in that each person went to a deeper level of understanding about who we are and to Whom we belong. Putting that into words is up to the individual team members. God did some mighty and creative work in each life as individuals stepped outside their comfort zone, said “no” to insecurities, became transparent with one another, and threw caution to the wind as they volunteered to share testimonies, present the gospel, and invite children and youth to receive Christ. I, the teacher and leader, was privileged to “step back” and watch them go to a deeper level in their faith walk and talk. God granted the desires of their hearts as they watched and heard recipients of the gospel pray and give their lives to Christ. And, two members of our team prayed during the week to receive Christ! Imagine the joy that engulfed each of us as we experienced God working right before our very eyes.
They played, and they loved, hugged, danced, sang, proclaimed the gospel, prayed, and walked right into the hearts of all who came into their path. They opened themselves up to one another as they created a “safe place” within the confines of team. Their early morning team devotionals were inspiring, encouraging, challenging, and personal. It all began when Coach Bart shared a powerful message on Sunday morning during worship. Players usually feed off their coaches. This certainly was the case as players humbled themselves, just like their coach, and said “yes” to the challenges before them. A beautiful picture of “team” was painted, stroke by stroke, throughout the week. I am confident this team and coaches will draw from the experiences of the work in RIO, day by day, as they prepare for and go through the 2018-2019 season.
Thank you, Bart, for the privilege of making this journey with you, Thank you, coaches Amy and Christine and Joy. A special “thank you” to Amy McGinnis who joined our team right before we left. Your expertise in budget management made “paying the bills” so much easier. Thank you, Sharon Fairchild and Brentwood Baptist, for partnering with us in this endeavor. And, thank you, Kenisha Rhone, for managing the blog throughout the trip.
To God Be the Glory!