To be sent is to be...loved.
Just before Jesus turns His disciples loose to carry on His mission to make disciples who make disciples of all nations, He says to them these words.
"Peace be with as the you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." John 20:21
It was out of radical love for humanity and creation that the Son of God was sent, and it is out of responding to the love of God in Jesus Christ--through faith--that we are sent into this world to saturate it with the Gospel.
On July 13th, 2016 six Middle Schoolers and 4 adults were sent, by faith, to San Francisco. Faith is a funky thing, isn't it?
Think about it... When faith in God is expressed in action we get to trust Him to enable us (individually or in family) to somehow and someway embody the Gospel through demonstration and proclamation; it doesn't matter where or what it is, whether: jumping into a 12-passenger van fully of teenagers, going through the doors of our schools, entering into a foreign or familiar city, walking through the doors to our job or even our very home.
What does it look like for you to intentionally trust God?
This very vulnerable place can cause us to run in the opposite direction, or can cause us to cling to our magnificent God to do what we absolutely cannot do without Him. Let me tell you, it was soooo cool to watch and join in with our students and adult leaders step out in faith in God in very spiritually dark and unknown places to most of us!
While in San Francisco we were able to partner with 3 remarkable ministries: City Team, Center for Student Missions, and Soma San Ramon Valley. It was with these ministries that we had the privilege to practically love and serve many women, men, teens and children who were homeless, outcasts, broken and rejected, through providing meals, listening, laughing, praying and sharing our lives and the Gospel with them.
Our team stepped out in faith and experienced God do what seemed to be impossible, through our lives, over and over again. Here are some of the ways our team describes their experience:
"I learned not to judge people on how they look, rich or poor they can all have needs." - Sam
"I learned that everyone has a different story and sometime they just need someone to listen to them." - Sydney
"I saw how difficult it is to live without a home and how God can impact lives in amazing ways that I can't explain, and that God really can call others to come and serve even in San Francisco." -Ellie
"I watched God answer our prayers and give us courage and strength when we didn't have much left." - Alana
It was amazing to not only see the courage and changes in our Soma kids but also the Spirit changes in my own heart as we served in San Francisco. -Sam
God opened our eyes to extreme needs, brokenness, and the power of the Gospel breaking into hopeless situations and bringing life and transformation. We learned simple and creative pathways to love complete strangers and each other well, and are returning with a fresh perspective of the joy of being sent into our world as family, servants, and missionaries!
"I saw God do amazing things. We gave the poor and homeless people we met the dignity and respect of listening to their story and treating them like human beings made in God's image. It was something they very rarely experience." -Rich
Bethany shared this, "...Some people thing that like different countries need the most attention, but there is so much need all around us that we need to take not of. It doesn't take very much to make a homeless/needy persons day and I think we should would towards helping the people around us."
"...because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." I Thessalonians 2:8
Our trip provided a great opportunity to build new friendships, and experience God in amazing ways as we responded in faith and stepped out of our comfort zones to love and care for many people who are rejected by most of society.
To be sent is to be...loved.
Thank you for loving us well!
Stephan, Alana, Sam, Rich, Sydney, Olivia, Kellen, Ellie, Bethany & Samuel