After more than a week without a phone or computer, it was slightly intimidating to return to an inbox of 91 emails. It was weird to type again and to look at a computer screen. It was refreshing to actually be with people all the time instead of interacting with them via a computer screen.
As I mentioned in my last post, for spring break this year, I went to New Orleans with TCF to participate in Katrina rebuild efforts. There were 6 colleges during our week, but the Tufts KRUP (Katrina Relief Urban Plunge) team was comprised of 27 students of diverse faith backgrounds. I learned a lot about myself, about others, and about God. It was an awesome trip. You would think the 33.5 hours (supposed to be 26 hours) coming back up to Boston would make it worse, but it just meant more time to spend with everyone. That’s how awesome the people are.
After hearing stories from last year and forming my own image of what KRUP would be like, I had a lot of expectations going into KRUP. I set myself up for disappointment, and by the third night, I found myself asking God what He was doing in me and what He had planned. After getting prayer, I let go of those expectations, allowing myself to just enjoy the moments I had and to just let myself be open to whatever God had in store. This was critical because it changed my perspective and experience for the whole trip. I was able to appreciate and accept that God was moving in the new friendships and that as long as I was remaining open and faithful, He would use me. In His timing, I would see the fruit. It was okay that I wasn’t participating in a lot of deep, spiritual conversations. I saw God moving in others, and that was enough for me, even if I couldn’t feel it.
However, God had something else in mind. On the fifth night, Andy (TCF staff worker) gave a touching, personal, and appropriately challenging talk. I’ve been praying for a few months now that God would open my eyes to see those around me with His eyes, and I wrote, “I want to see my peers and the poor of New Orleans as Jesus sees them” on a post-it note before we read the passages of the blind man and Zacchaeus. <–(Click to read the passages) “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” That hit me hard. I’ve been praying for something that I didn’t realize I already had. My faith has healed me, and I just have to choose to see like Jesus does. I realized all of that before we discussed the passage as a small group. Then things got crazy. My small group just blew me away with the things they saw in the passage, including a step by step plan of how one could follow Jesus. And then one of them ended up deciding to follow Jesus!!!!! And her story is so incredible that I just know that God is going to use her testimony to touch many hearts.
I went into my first missions trip with expectations, and God exceeded them. I am disappointed that I didn’t get to interact at all really with any NOLA residents, but He answered prayers that we would become a tight-knit team. I am so blessed to have been a small part of someone’s journey to Jesus. Not only that, but it’s not like our small group was having awesome conversations the whole week…we struggled at first and it was hard not to get discouraged, but we ended up being pretty Kruptastic. I didn’t just get to watch Him move in others, but feel Him moving through me. Thanks to my fellow KRUPpers, thanks to everyone who prayed for me, and many many thanks to my Healer, my Father, my Best Friend.