Summer: Up’s and down’s and everything else

This past summer was one of the hardest summers I have had in a long time. There were definitely some great times. I had the chance to go to one of my favourite places in Manitoba, I got to see two of my favourite people on this earth grow closer to God and each other, and I got to celebrate my older brother getting married! Along with those happy memories I have also struggled with myself, I have been excessively lazy, ignored what God was willing to teach me, and persistently unhappy with where I am in life. Instead of turning to God in these instances I turned to material things, finding my value in the stuff I buy and the stuff I have.

Matheson Island is one of the most amazing places in Manitoba, each year for the past 4 years I have had the opportunity to spend a week in August ministering to the children of the Island. I have loved every minute that I have spent there and this year was no different. We went as a team of people that had all been there before (except for our amazing cook Shirley) so we had already established team relationships. This made working together a lot smoother, we were able to spend time building relationships instead of starting them, we were able to connect with the children right away, and we were willing to be vulnerable. God blessed our team and I believe He blessed the people of Matheson Island through us.

Sam and Mikaela are two amazing people and I love every minute I get to spend third wheeling. Sam is my younger brother and in some ways I am more mature than him, but I have been learning a lot from him this summer. He might not know this but he has been showing me how a truly God centered relationship should work. He has also been showing me that I must depend on God when times are tough and that I need to listen to and trust God’s guidance. Mikaela has been showing me a lot too. Just today she spoke at her church in Morden and she reaffirmed for me what I have been struggling with. That God answers prayers. These past few years as a junior youth leader I have been trying to make prayer an important part of my interaction with my junior youth. This past summer though my prayer life has slipped, only recently (these past few weeks) have I been back to actively praying. Mikaela spoke this morning about her summer at camp and how she prayed that God would put her through trials this year at camp, and God answered! You can read more about it at her website: the heart of an adventurer. These two are such a blessing in my life, and I am so thankful for them.

God also blessed our family this summer with the addition of a new sister-in-law! Derek and Kendel got married on September 19, 2015 and it was a great day. Me and my older brother Derek have never gotten along like me and Sam do, but he has taught me many things over the years we lived under the same roof, not all of them good, but he taught me none the less! I am so thankful to have my family and so excited when we get new additions!

Along with the excitement of this summer there was also some hard stuff. This summer I took a break from my courses that I have been takingĀ and did the bare minimum in my relationship with Jesus (read the Bible seldomĀ and prayed very little). It created this laziness in me that I have never experienced before. Each time I took on a new task I would put it off until the last minute. This is not the way I want my life to be! I want more, and that is exactly what I have been praying for, and I know that God will answer it, because He is bigger than my laziness and He is in control.

God has put many situations in front of me this summer, from letting go of control to listening to my parents advise. I would love to say that I took these trials and applied “WWJD”, but in most cases I didn’t. I didn’t trust that God would have my back and that He would put the right people in charge when I needed to let go of control, or that my parents had wisdom enough to be teaching me things. Each time though I learned that I was wrong and that God did have my back and that my parents did know what they were talking about.

These two things: laziness and not listening to God have brought me to a place where I do not want to be. I want to live for God I want to pursue him and use the love He has for me to bless others. So for this past week I have been asking God to lead me where He wants me, in life, in my relationship with Him, in my job, relationship with co-workers, relationship with friends, and every other part of my life. I know that God will answer my prayer and I know that it is not going to be easy, but I am putting my trust in Him.

Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.

My prayer today is that God will take control and lead me where I need to be, I want to play the role He has planned for me. I am scared for what this will hold in the future, but I know that I can trust God and that He will have my back.

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Jesus Can Conquer Your Spirit of Fearfulness

Next week my little brother Sam leaves for a trip to Jamaica to do missions with Grace Senior Youth and YWAM. This brings back a lot of memories of my grade 12 year and my trip to L.A. to do the same thing. My biggest memory of my trip (not my best memory) is that I carried a huge spirit of fearfulness. I was scared to open my mouth and speak life into people I met on the street, subway, or fellow team members.

The focus of our trip to L.A. was to talk to the locals, to bring joy to peoples lives, and to spread the love of Jesus! Yet my spirit of fearfulness got in my way when I decided to not rely on the power and strength that God promises us (Isaiah 41:10). To give you an example we were told to sit next to strangers on the subway so we could get an opportunity to talk to them, I purposely was one of the last ones on the subway so that the other team members could sit next to strangers and I would get to sit alone or next to someone I knew. At the end of the trip I had only talked to 1 or 2 people, I did not get the experience that I was so excited for before we went.

The reason I share this is because I want to give this group of grad 11 & 12’s a chance to have an amazing trip where they rely completely on God, because that will give them the most meaningful trip!

You will feel tired during your mission work, but God promises to renew your strength in Isaiah 40:31. Rely on Gods strength and not your own, He has an abundance and wants to support you on this trip. The devil will try to interfere with your work (1 Peter 5:8), so spend time every day praying against the works of the devil in your life, because God has power of him and when you call on the name Jesus, Satan has no power over you.

Finally, I want to make a suggestion for everyone going on this missions trip or any other missions trip. Take a day or two to fast before your missions trip. God will reveal a lot to you during this time (Acts 13:2-3). He will reveal truths to you through the time you spend in prayer and study of the Bible.

If you are like me and only get the chance to build into one soul I have a quote from C.S. Lewis for you:

The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.
– C. S. Lewis