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IMPACT Justice Team Blog #3

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I'm sitting in my athletic office at school currently, trying to figure out how I can wrap up our trip to Streetlight USA in just one blog post. The last four days were a whirlwind of emotions that honestly haven’t hit me fully yet. I’m humbled and grateful for the many God-filled moments that happened during the time we spent with those young girls.

 

Before I continue with our wrap up, I want to share about our final day in Arizona. Sunday morning, we were able to attend church with the girls. The advocates had told us the day before that this church had around 25,000 people. We thought that with their multiple campuses around Arizona, that this church couldn’t be that big. Boy, were we wrong! We couldn’t help but walk through the campus with our mouths agape at the enormity of it all and with each step we were getting more and more excited to worship with the girls! The service provided many moving moments: watching the girls lift their hands in praise during worship, them holding our hands during prayer, or seeing them take notes during the sermon. We walked out of that sanctuary with joyful tears, full of hope that God is moving in their hearts.

 

Finally, we capped off the day at Streetlight with our last devotional, craft, and a farewell ice cream party. Katie did a phenomenal job with her devotional, speaking on John 15:9-15 and Luke 19:1-10. Love was the key word we wanted to focus on that day. God’s love for the girls, but also His command for them to love others. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13 NIV). Katie came up with an awesome idea for the girls to make bracelets that would remind them of God’s love that surrounds them and how we’re called to love others too. It was so fun watching the girls express their creativity.

 

Ice cream was the perfect celebration of the time we spent with these strong, beautiful girls. Even with the never-ending bowls of sugar as a distraction, the goodbyes were just as hard as I thought they would be. Though we only spent four days at Streetlight, it was impossible to not to create a bond with them. We hugged, said goodbye and started our journey back home.

 

Like I said earlier, overall this has been a moving and emotional trip for us. I am still working to process what God has wanted me to learn from this experience. One thing I know is that He was not only working on the girls’ heart, but on my own. Saturday was a day that will stay close with me for that very reason. Danielle mentioned in her day two blog that I shared a devotional over the belt of truth and what God wants the girls to believe about themselves. They are beautiful, loved, cherished, worthy, clean, forgiven, and so many other truths. I so badly want them to take this truth to heart. Little did I know that God also was wanting me to continue taking those truths to heart. I found myself opening up and being vulnerable with them about my own struggles with things in life, the lies I used to believe, and the truths I have been taking to heart over the last two years. This was not only a moment of growth for the girls hopefully, but in God’s amazing ways He was helping me grow as well.

 

This I believe is something that we all can take away from this past weekend. Our worth in God’s eyes in absolutely amazing. Even on our worst days, we are worth more to God than the most precious gems on the earth. The hard part about that statement is believing it. Too many times we let Satan creep in with the lies he tries feeding us. Never forget your WORTH to God, you are LOVED, CHERISHED, FORGIVEN, A NEW CREATION.

 

Please join with us in continuing to pray for these dear girls and their journey to restoration.

Austria Has Moles, Too!

One of my many discoveries of Indiana-home ownership is the problem of moles. Not the facial kind, but the kind that makes those despicable tunnels in your yard. I’ve tried traps, poison (sorry, PETA), water, and even prayer, but in God’s divine providence, He has allowed these loathsome creatures to inhabit my personal space, a.k.a. my lawn.

A couple of weeks ago, Laura (my wife) and I had some R & R in Salzburg, Austria, after two weeks of ministry at Haus Edelweiss, the main European campus of TCM (www.tcmi.edu). We toured the old city, the birthplace and residence of Mozart, Mirabell Palace and Gardens, Hellbrunn Palace, and a number of other delightful sites. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I could stop writing now if I could show you the beauty of these various locations.

As Laura and I walked through the gardens of Hellbrunn Palace, near the main residence of Captain von Trapp (for you Sound of Music lovers), I felt like we were experiencing God’s kingdom on earth. Peace. Beauty. Calm. Serenity.

And then we saw the moles . . . or at least the tunnels they dug. Right in the middle of God’s kingdom on earth, we witnessed those blundering burrows and wondered if that was the real story behind the name “Hell”-brunn.

Laura said, “Austria has moles, too.”

And so it does. Laura’s poignant reflection has become our catch phrase for anything this side of heaven we think compares to heaven. In other words, everything earthbound—amazingly beautiful though it may be—is a mere reflection of what is heavenly. Nothing in this world will satisfy the longing for the world to come.

When you look at your friend’s life that seems so perfect, guess what? “Austria has moles, too.” When you compare your marriage to one that seems flawless, take note: “Austria has moles, too.” When you drive by your dream home, just remember: “Austria has moles, too.”

Our problem is not comparing, it’s the object of our comparison. If we compare our life, lawn, marriage, kids, possessions, jobs, etc. to anything of this world, we don’t have to look for long before we discover, “Austria has moles, too.”

 This is not to discredit those glimpses of heaven as we walk this earth. And this is not to say that God’s creation is not filled with awe and beauty. But the reason it is so is because it merely reflects the awe and beauty of God. All of creation points to the Creator, and it longs for its eternal freedom (Romans 8:19-22).

We were created for heaven and given the privilege of a brief stop on earth. This layover should be used wisely for God’s glory—to rest, work and play in harmony with others through Jesus our Lord. But as the old hymn suggests, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” C. S. Lewis once wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity, 106).

Moles, I’m convinced, will not be part of our heavenly home. Or if they are, they will have their own yard in which to play, and not mine. But until we reach our final destination, we pray for patience and persistence as we deal with the moles of this world. Just remember that as nice as your neighbor’s yard looks, it probably has moles, too.

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