Ever since I came back from Europe, every single person I ran into asked me how it was. What was your favorite part? What did you do? And for every question I had the same answer: It was wonderful, Paris was beautiful, it was so great to sing at all those places, so on and so on. But honestly, I was blown away by that part of the world, by the different culture and by their people that I couldn’t really find the words to express how great the trip really was. This world, created by Our Creator, is breath taking. Every turn, every monument, every landscape and every sunrise is and was created by Him, and to see the world in a totally different light, yet still be surrounded by His everlasting presence was unbelievable. And because every place is His place, every place holds His people who need to hear of His hope, and that truth is what made the trip so incredible.
Worshiping with song is one way that I can truly connect with The Lord, and to sing for The Lord in a different country, in a different culture, with a group of believers was so moving. Worshiping in song is different than speaking about the light of Christ because while we sang, it was the notes, it was the light shining through our faces that spoke to the people who came to listen. We were Americans coming into their country, visiting their beautiful home, while humbly coming to serve through our voices and our actions. It was such a different way to serve and I absolutely loved every minute of it. And I could never say that we didn’t lose sight of that mission, but that was the reason we went and it was incredible to be a part of a group of 57 people who all wanted to share the love of Christ through song.
The three pictures above are of three cathedrals that we got to sing in or outside of. By outside of, I mean we went to visit the church (Sacre Coeure) as a group and while visiting, we sang on the steps outside of the church. Learning about the history of each church and experiencing the presence of The Lord (which could fill a whole other post) was more than breathtaking, giving me an incredible amount of respect and love for the Catholic church and growing up in a Catholic home. These places made me take a step back in what I knew about the church and how mighty and majestic each place of worship is. These places were 100- 900 years old. They held the first Christians, the first people to proclaim the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and those people knew no other way to honor His name except by building these wondrous churches with beautiful paintings, detailed sculptures, and glorious stain glass windows engrained with the stories of Christ and the prophets and disciples before and after Him. And not only did we visit and learn about these places, but we got to sing, we got to worship in each church. We got to praise The Lord in these places. And what was so incredible was that the people who built these churches in obedience and praise for The Lord, their legacy and the Lord’s glory is still being shown, growing stronger and brighter with each passing day that these churches age.
Not only did we get to sing as our mission, but we got to meet, talk, and love on people who lived in France and England, or people from all of Europe who happened to be in the same place as us. We did get to serve the homeless by passing out food, and a few of us got to speak and share our testimony with a homeless man named Alex in London. The Lord worked through us even when we were unwilling, and being able to serve others in another country was life changing.
Going with the University Chorale and singing for the Lord was my first experience of going to Europe, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Traveling and touring is amazing, an experience of a lifetime, but I am thankful for the outlook of traveling that this trip gave me: that every trip is a mission trip.
But here is the gut of my post: every stinkin place in this world is broken. France and England is broken, Germany broken, Africa is broken, America is broken- Springfield, Illinois is broken. Every trip is a mission trip, but every day is a mission trip as well. A big thing that I noticed coming back to the states was that yeah England and France, seemed hopeless and so so broken, but so are our homes. So are our states. So is this country.
It is 9:30 in the morning on a Friday when I am writing this, and after dropping my mom off at work, I drove through my downtown, through random back roads, and on roads I had never been, and I was broken. Tears were getting stuck in my throat with how ashamed I was of myself for not seeing Springfield as the broken place that it is. As kids, we are taught not to go down certain roads or to not talk to certain strangers because it is scary or they are scary, but you know what? Those people need Christ, they need His hope just as much as we do. Just because they live differently or look differently does not mean that they are not searching for something more. It doesn’t mean that they are not depressed and lost in their situation and want to get out of it.
Yes Europe is broken, Africa is lost, and there are people all over the world that are dying of hunger and thirst every day, and EVERY mission trip is needed to save those people, but our daily lives, our daily drives and our starbucks stops are our mission fields. We do not need to be in a different country to share the love of Christ through out words and actions. We are surrounded by people who are lost and need to hear the story of The Lord’s incredible grace and never ending mercy. We need to get out of our bubbles, out our Christian groups who say we are living for Christ when really we are only talking to one another because we do not want to surround ourselves with people who will bring us down.
If we are worshiping and singing ‘we will exalt You Lord’ because The Lord has changed our lives and we truly truly believe that we would not be the same person without Him in our lives, then why can’t we share that with every person we come in contact with? If believe in the power and comfort of His love, why can’t we share that, why can’t we just love our brothers and sisters? Why don’t we want people to know?
Serve through your actions, serve through your words, and serve through your love for people and your love for Christ, not only on mission trips, but also in your daily life. I am guilty of it all too, believe me, but if we want to change the world and bring His kingdom to earth, then we have to start today and share the gospel through prayer and service. We can’t be afraid anymore, we can’t stifle the Spirit anymore. We just have to do it.
I don’t know how, but I was blind before I met The Savior and now, I see.
God’s kingdom is less of an idea to be explored, and more of a force to be unleashed.