On A Mission – Day Two

Woke up around 4:00 am and headed down to the hotel lobby. Three teenage girls were hanging out in the lobby, cussing, talking about having sex and basically illustrating how totally lost they were. I prayed God would help them, and considered talking to them, but figured they wouldn’t listen to a old guy like me. It was pretty obvious they needed a good female role model in their lives and God willing, they’ll get one before they cause too much damage to themselves.

We left around 6:00am and had a good drive the rest of the way to Biloxi. Got to ride with Tom, Sue, Carl and Ryan at various points and learned more about them. What great people God has put on this team! We drove through Hattiesburg, home of Brett Favre. Stopped at a gas station in Hattiesburg and Carl struck up a conversation with a fellow whose wife had just been baptized. That was pretty neat to see the gleam in his eyes as he talked about it. Love how Carl can just walk up to anyone and start talking about God in a way that’s not offensive, weird or off-putting. He really has a gift for evangelism and it was great to see it in action. God is good, all the time.

We pulled into the volunteer camp at Biloxi Christian around 5:15pm. Ken Wetzell and Sharon from S.T.E.M. were there to greet us. We had a quick orientation in the sanctuary, a great room with a very awesome feel to it. You can tell lots of prayers have gone heavenward from this sanctuary.

Ken shared some stories and really made us feel like we were part of something much bigger than I’d imagined. They prayed, God whispered, we came. How awesome that the God of all creation would want us to do something for Him!

We unloaded the vehicles into the cabins which were old storage trailers converted for use as voluteer cabins.

Afterward, we went out for dinner at a local Italian buffet. Never seen an Italian buffet before, but it was very good. Lots of laughs and good food. Breaking bread with this group is an honor, as God handpicked each one of them for this trip, which reminds me that he handpicked me too. I miss Angie and Zach greatly, but I’m trying to focus on the task at hand, on my teammates and most importantly on God.

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On a Mission – Day One

We gathered at White Bear Lake at 5:30am. I missed Angie & Zach before I ever even left the house and was homesick before we pulled out of the church parking lot. I was excited to go on the one hand, but anxious to get back home on the other. Dave & Trish Baker were there waiting to send us off. Lynn pulled in a few minutes later, along with several other people I didn’t know who were there for other team members. It was nice to get a glimpse at the people who were remaining here to pray for us.

Pulled out a few minutes after 6am with Ken, Pete and Stefani in the Expedition. We drove off into the darkness to spread God’s light. Stefani and Pete snoozed for the first hour or so, but once they woke up we had some really great conversation, grew closer together and had some great laughs. On the first day the evil one tried to trip us up repeatedly with wrong turns, missed exits, a mysterious coolant leak in the Suburban that never got worse and a lost purse, but God minimized them all, keeping His arms of protection around us. Each of those things could have turned into big trouble, but we were on a mission from God.

Listened to Stefani and Pete’s stories in the AM; they both have great hearts for the Lord. Pete seemed a little quiet and stand-offish, but Stefani is extroverted like Angie and I, so there was no lack of good conversation and laughter. It was neat to see Pete open up slowly as the day went on, he has a great sense of humor.

We stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast and Wendy’s for lunch. Sue lost her purse at McDonald’s and didn’t realize until we were at Wendy’s, hundreds of miles away. At first she thought her medication was in it, which would have been a disaster, but once again, God protected a member of the team and she found her medication in another of her bags. God is good, all the time.

We pulled into Pevely, Missouri around 5:15pm. I was amazed at how fast the day went, especially since I dislike sitting in a car for long periods of time. However, the day seemed to fly by. We set up our room arrangements, dropped our stuff off and headed over to Bobby Tom’s BBQ for good food and good laughs. I roomed with Ken, Pete, Carl and Tom K. Wished I was rooming with Angie, and the fact that it would be more than a week before I’d see her and Zach again weighed on me, but I knew God was sending me down for a reason, so I put the homesickness aside and trusted in Him. I could tell God was going to bless this group and the people we’d encounter along the way, it was obvious after watching Him deflect the attacks of the evil one all day. It was also obvious this group was full of His servants, eager to do great things and He was blessing that. God is faithful, all the time.

Father God,
Your plan is always perfect, always amazing. Thank you for protecting us today. Thank you for using me to bless others & growing me in the process. Please help me to speak encouraging words to those I meet, never harming, but always helping as I get to know those you’ve placed me with this week.
Thank you, Father. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

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On A Mission From God

We pulled into the parking lot at Eagle Brook Church’s White Bear Lake campus about 4:45pm yesterday and the physical portion of our Mission Trip to Biloxi, MS came to an end. While we were down there, we not only served several families, we served one another and most importantly, we served God.

On the surface the trip seems like nothing more than going down and rebuilding some houses for good people who need some prayers answered.

Underneath that surface, however, the trip was about growth, patience, prayer, faith, evangelism, servitude, living as God intended and weeding the garden of our hearts.

Take a moment this morning and say a prayer for the families we served in Biloxi, the family that served us by providing a place to call home for a week and also say a prayer for us that the fire God started in our hearts will never burn out as long as we walk this earth.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for loving us.

You know my heart Father. You know I considered backing out of this trip at the last moment and you know you commanded me to go in spite of it. Please forgive me for even considering disobedience.

Thank you so much for commanding me to leave my comfort zone, leave my beautiful wife and wonderful son and head down to Biloxi so that you might use the time, talents and treasures you blessed me with to bless those we encountered.

Father, I beg you this day to protect the hearts and minds of all of us who went on this trip, so that the fire you ignited over the past week will not only continue to burn, but spread like a raging inferno over our lives back home. Fan the flames, Father, so that we ignite the hearts and minds of everyone we come in contact with to be “Born again, again”. Please show us how to live the lives you want us to live and unsettle our hearts if we try to slide back into the “same old, same old”, Father.

You command us to be in this world but not of this world, instead, remaining rooted in Your love. Please remind us of that every moment of every day, Father. Please use us at all times to funnel Your Spirit over everyone we encounter, not diluting it one iota with sins of the flesh, but instead keeping it pure, as You intended it to be. And, make sure we always remember how honoring it is that You chose us to do these things, so that we do them with a joyful and loving heart.

I ask these things of you in your Son’s precious and holy name, amen.

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