April 3, 2020

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your measure it will be measured to you in return. Luke 6:38

I had my mind set on another topic but as soon as I read the passage above, I was transported back about 40 years to the very first years of the youth mission trips. We went to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, that first year and the second year. I felt so strongly about going as a chaperone with the youth that I continued to go as we traveled to Mexico, Oklahoma, and back to Mexico for several years. I think I went on 13 plus trips. I was drawn by a feeling of wanting to do something more for the people of God’s world. Over the years, I had heard the sermons about reaching out and spreading the word, but I never believed that I would have the opportunity to do just that. We all pitched in to make a difference for the people we served. We worked hard (and we played hard), but every morning the youth and the adults were ready to go again, whether it was a building project, digging trenches and laying pipes to bring water to the village, or leading a Bible school for the children who lived there when none of us spoke the language of the other (Creole anyone?), but it worked! And how it changed each and every one of us. Every night as we gathered for devotions, a hushed calmness came over us as we shared the experiences of the day. There were miracles popping up all over the work site as we reported each night on God’s presence with us. There was some laughter. There were some tears. There was speechless amazement in the eyes of those who beheld these moments of “God with Us.” I dare say that, when the question comes up as God says in the song we sing in Church “Whom shall I send?” and we respond, “Is it I, Lord?” that we know that we have been touched and will never be the same.

Heavenly Father, you are forever reaching out to us and providing us with opportunities to do what is right and what is good. Open our eyes and ears and let us see what you offer to us. Opportunities to go or be sent are everywhere, even a block away. Send me. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

Jennifer Howe

About the Contributor:
We came to Spartanburg in 1972 and joined First Pres shortly afterwards. We raised both of our children here, and they each went on Mission trips. I have been a Sunday School teacher for children and youth, a Bethel Bible Series teacher, a Witness Season Chairman, a Deacon, and a Deacon Chairman, Director of Journey to the Cross, member of a Pastor Nominating Committee, a Stephen Minister and a very grateful member of this congregation.