Monday, July 11, 2011

Jessica McDowell

Hello everyone! We are finally home! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers this week. This trip has been a truly amazing experience for all of us. Through many new and unexpected circumstances, God was able to work not only in the hearts of the people of New Orleans, but also in our own hearts, to help us to grow in faith and unity. My team, upon coming together for the first time back in February, chose the named Unity. We felt that God had placed on our team many unique gifts and personalities which would lay the framework for building a team that would work together as the body of Christ. (1Corinthians 12-26) As we began to grow as a family, it became apparent that God was going to use our team in marvelous ways to bring His kingdom glory.

And did He? Of course! I was overwhelmed and overjoyed with the work that God did through our team this week, and He could not have done it were we not unified. I believe that the unity on my team displays the unity that Christ intended for the church. The small things are an indication that we have discovered what it truly means to fellowship. Though each member of our team had strong relationships with others in our youth group, our team seemed to be inseparable. During free time you could always find our team eating dinner together, playing a game, worshipping, or just sitting on the floor and talking. It wasn’t anything like a normal group of friends; the relationships within our group were much stronger than that. They were built fast and grew fast, with a strength and trust that comes from the Father. We had no desire to be apart because God has blessed us with a group that fits together like a puzzle, consisting of many different personalities which compliment each other and provide a balance that allows us to support and rely on one another. It was amazing to be a part of this bond. The love that we shared was a pure reflection of the love of Christ. There was no judgment or exclusion, but just understanding and encouragement. I feel so blessed to be a part of this team. And not only team Unity, but also our whole youth group formed an inseparable bond this week. It filled me with joy to see everyone worshipping together, loving one another and investing in each other’s lives. Even those who have never spoken a word to eachother were joined this week in the love of God and the realization of His great gift to us, which is fellowship.

Does God ever disappoint? Absolutely not! In the weeks leading up to the trip, God prepared us both individually and as a group for the challenges that we would face while in New Orleans. Even as we stepped out of the airplane, we were ready and equipped to carry out His will. I believe that God used us in so many ways this week. Our eyes were opened as we dove into a new culture which brought circumstances that challenged us to step into a boldness and fearlessness that comes from faith alone. I’m so proud of my team and our entire mission family, not for our own work and accomplishments, but for our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, surrendering our own wants and desires for His glory. This has been a life changing experience that I will never forget!

Peace and Love,
Jessica McDowell

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