For the sake of brevity, I quote myself, from a letter to my supporters:
Though it seems that we accomplished a lot in one week, if you were to ask me to elaborate on just one experience I probably would not be able to because God worked so much within me. I feel blessed to have been a part of these different projects, and that ability to take part in such services is what I attribute most to missions. It’s not the doing but the mindset and state of mind and spirit that is found at the center of such works. I feel blessed to have been a part of something so clearly under the sovereignty and direction of God’s hand, 24 hours, 7 days a week. A team member of mine articulated this sentiment so well as he shared with me and a few other people during the week, saying that this experience [the mission trip] is our glimpse of the kingdom, where we are literally immersed in God’s presence so visibly and tangibly and get to joy in that fellowship – this in and of itself is kingdom building through missions.
For me, this trip was somewhat revolutionary in reshaping my faith. The realization of who the Holy Spirit is and the role of faith in prayer was so subtle and gentle, but so profound. Prior to this mission trip I had been praying about prayer. As strange enough as that sounds, I think a lot of people can relate to me when I admit that prayer can often feel like an act that furthers distance rather than intimacy with our creator. Yet, I had often witnessed the power of prayer, and my faith would not let me deny the fact that we are called to prayer (both so often in the word and as evidenced through the many happenings of daily living). What was most often found in conjunction with prayer was talk of this Holy Spirit. To me to be “led by the Spirit” had become such a cliché that I was willing to accept and move on past, but this superficial acceptance of the Holy Spirit resulted in a prayer life lacking in power and authority. Ironically enough, my main role through this mission trip was to lead prayer and God was able to use what I saw as my weakness as His strength. Somehow, I began to see the Holy Spirit for what he truly is: a part of our triune God. I realized that I had always put the Holy Spirit into this little box, to be used and accessed at specific times and for specific reasons. To me, the Holy Spirit was simply a tool with very specific functions: counselor, intercessor. Very early on in the trip, my eyes were open to see that my relationship with God incomplete without a relationship with the Spirit and a working faith in the Spirit as God, three in one. Thus resulted a greater assurance, through faith, in prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. My prayers were empowered by the Spirit and I was able to pray, really pray.
And sure… this might be a “duh” moment for some, but for me this was the most perfect and most necessary message I could have ever received.
I come back empowered, knowing more of a whole God, rather than just two-thirds.