South Asia

I was a normal college student making normal plans for my summer like getting observation hours in and hanging out with friends and family.
But somewhere along the way I realized that my plans for the summer were not God's plan for my summer.
The next thing I know I'm raising support and packing up my things to spend 6 weeks halfway across the world. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself spending my summer in South Asia alongside 17 strangers... It's funny how God works sometimes!

We all met up at briefing and quickly these strangers worked their way into my heart and before I knew it they became my family and we bonded in a way that only God could have done.

They supported and encouraged me, they challenged me, and inspired me with their faith, boldness, passion and love for our savior. They pushed me when I wanted to give up and patiently listened when my words were jumbled. Never before had I experienced such an intentional, caring, and selflessly loving community.

The days were long and hot and sometimes seemed like they would never end. Many times I crawled in my bed with the weight of discouragement crushing down on me. This city was broken, dark and full of so much pain and suffering. It felt as if I was helpless to do anything and all my efforts were in vain!
Yet as the weeks went on God reminded me that yes I couldn't fix this city, but that I didn't have to, that wasn't my job! God had called me here to love this city and it's people and to share his amazing grace with those he placed in my path. I didn't have to carry that burden because that was God's! I cannot change hearts or the devastating poverty and injustices that I saw, only God can do that!

But what I did have was his amazing unrelenting love and the message of hope found in the gospel and that was what God was calling me to bring to the city and share with the amazing people he placed in my life! He showed me that if all I did was give one person hope through the gospel that was enough! That's how deeply he loves his children, that he would send people halfway across the world just so that they would know his love!

Through the brokenness I saw first hand the effects of sin and the consequences of choosing our own way over following God. It's heartbreaking to see, but it's even more amazing to know that God has a plan of redeeming and restoring the whole world to himself! That even though we made the brokenness, God made the way of redemption throng the cross and he
is actively restoring everything to himself and that brings so much hope to my heart!

I'm grateful for the friendships I was able to make with students and the ways that I saw God slowly begin to work in their hearts as they heard the truth of who God is and his unconditional love that's not dependent on our works! Barriers were broken down in their hearts, as many of our friends for the first time began to understand who God is and his life changing grace!

I came to South Asia thinking that I was going to come and save the world, but what I didn't realize was that instead God was going to work in my heart in ways that I could never have imagined and work to build my character and make me more like my savior!
Yes, I was able to help with human trafficking, tell students about Jesus for the first time and love on street kids, but they showed me what joy in all circumstances looks like, what it means to be in awe at the idea of forgiveness and grace and what it looks like to have a foundation of faith and hope even when you work  in a place full of darkness and injustice.

So while my summer may not have played out exactly as I had planned I'm kind of glad. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to share the truth of the gospel to those who desperately needed hope, to learn to love radically and selflessly like Jesus and to have my heart wrecked in the best possible way!

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