I’ve been on a lot of “mission” trips. I’ve been to Mexico, India, Kentucky, inner-city Chicago, etc. Each experience has been formative and important and memorable, no two trips alike.
But I have never had more fun on a trip than I did this last week leading students to Joplin, MO for the second spring break in a row.
What’s weird is that, in many ways, this was also the most stressful trip I’ve been on. The weather didn’t cooperate, most of our original work plans fell through, there were twice as many people as last year, and I was away from my wife and daughter for the longest time since Marina was born.
I have a couple of theories:there was little to no interpersonal drama, we had no complainers, and I love the staff I get to work with.
Those are all true, but here’s a brief version of what I shared with our team at the end of the week…
In Genesis 28, Jacob wakes from his “stairway to heaven” dream and says: “God was in this place, and I, I did not know it.” In Exodus 3, Moses walks up to a burning bush, meets God, and realizes he is on holy ground.
Here’s the thing: the bush is always burning…God is always in this place. Not just in the spectacular moments and the times when all our plans come together, the moments where you pass a set of key to a homeowner who has tears in their eyes.
No, God is in the mess
and the plans that fall apart
and the spontaneous conversations
and in the bad weather
and the late-night sonic run
and spike ball
and banana grams
and sharing life on a deep level.
But, sometimes we don’t notice.
I think this is why Jesus talked about ears to hear and eyes to see.
This week was a good gift to me for a bunch of reasons, but it was a reminder that I love college ministry, I love students, and that no matter where we go…
the ground is always holy.