At the beginning of last summer my fifteen year old daughter went on a short term missions trip to New Orleans with several other youth from our church. They worked with Urban Impact Ministries and Nola Fusion. click here to learn more about Urban Impact and Nola Fusion.
Upon return those who went gave an excellent report to the church body. My daughter put her experience in writing. Below is her words explaining her experience in New Orleans, some of the fears and unknowing she experienced, and how an understanding of the Sovereignty of God and how realizing all thing are for God's Glory worked to bring her joy and success during her time in New Orleans. (Note: on the night before my daughter left for New Orleans we learned from the Corps of Engineers that the Missouri River would rise and swell way beyond its banks rising three feet above the floor of our basement. The night before she left we evacuated our basement and two days later built a three foot levy guarding our walk in basement. While in New Orleans these things weighed on her mind and worked greater patient endurance than otherwise may have occurred. Although the flooding of the Missouri River lasted for over three months and the river rose over 21 feet beyond normal the levees built by the Corp, the County and the City all worked to hold the water at bay sparing our home and many others in our community though some dear neighbors lost home and land being on the wrong side of the levee.)
By the Grace of God my Fifteen Year Old's Joyful Application of the Sovereignty of God:
One verse that helped me throughout my trip to New Orleans was my favorite verse from Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Knowing that God had a purpose for me on this trip and that it would lead to God’s glory was a great comfort to me since I didn’t really know how the week was going to go.
I was a little overwhelmed when I saw all the poverty within five minutes of our drive to the yellow house.
I had so many worries the first couple of days while I was in New Orleans. I didn’t know how the week was going to lay out, or how I was going to make friends and make my conversations glorifying to God, I was missing my family, and worried about our house, I wasn’t really sure how God was going to work in me during our stay, and I’ve never even done something like this before or even been away from my family for this long, so I didn’t have them to tell me what to think of everything that I was experiencing. Then we found out that we couldn’t call our families every night and I had to be separated into a group away from our church group and with a whole bunch of strangers for parts of the day. In my heart I was angry and frustrated about leaving our church group and having to be with this other group for a whole week!!
When we got back to our room that night I took time to lay down and think over everything that was going on. And talk to God about how I should take all this in. He reminded me that God put me here in New Orleans and in the purple group, and that it was wrong of me to be angry at where he has put me. I was put in the purple group to glorify God and that I should be glad and thankful for where God has put me. After that I was rejoicing knowing that he planned for me to be in that group and here in New Orleans and it gave me a sense of relief and a desire to take everything that came my way with joyfulness and thanksgiving because God is in control.
The week got better as it went, I started getting more comfortable with my team, and I loved getting to play and know the kids in New Orleans better! Although I missed my family and wanted to call them so desperately, I turned to God and was more dependent on Him. Whenever I was alone or was bothered by my thoughts I looked on Christ and remembered Romans 8:28. God gave me comfort and the words to say when I talked to some of the kids that I met. I got to share the gospel with two girls that I met with in New Orleans. One was a girl from the NE team and the other was from New Orleans. I was rejoicing when I got that opportunity to tell them the gospel and it made me so rejoiceful getting to share how good God is!
Through this trip God constantly reminded me of his sovereignty and how we are completely dependent on him. He gave me a peace that he was in control, even at home. I knew that if our house or my Dad’s work was flooded and if it was all taken away, it would be good. And I really realized that all my joy comes from God. When I’m at home it’s hard to realize that because I have parents to tell me how to do things, a nice bed, a good church, and all these comforts, but if it was all taken away would I still be happy. I got a little taste of that in New Orleans when I had some of that taken away, and God showed me that the only real joy I have comes from God. I did have a fun time getting to see all the kids in New Orleans, having good food,
music, games, seeing the French Quarter, getting to know all the interns, getting to know the kids in our youth better, hanging out with our leaders, but the only and real joy you have is doing it for the glory of God. He is our joy!
Now that I am back from New Orleans I’ve been thinking about all that happened and trying to let it soak in. I’ve always had a desire to be an overseas missionary and right now I’m praying to see where God wants me. I am still young and I know I have a lot more growing and maturing to do in the Lord, but God has a plan and he is still working in me and I pray that whatever happens until that day where I will be where God wants me that I will live for his Glory and continue having a deeper desire to know Him.
For more on the Youth Trip to New Orleans click here