This Week of Missions was bigger than any of its participants. Pat’s devos got us in gear for a great day, but each day was bigger than him. My cousin J.J. Peterson gave AMAZING Bible talks, but even with each of us plastered to our seats at the end of his lecture, it was bigger than that. Jake, Allison, Nathan, Steven and Cole brought their instruments and gave us AMAZING worship music. But the amazing teachers, the awesome worship, and the incredible company that surrounded this week was much too small to describe it with.
The theme, I saw as I walked in on Monday, was Heroes. Personally, I sighed inwardly, because I had been through this theme many times and never really gleaned much from it before. Boy, was I wrong. But this week would have been just as huge even if the theme had been “The End of the World” or something—no, this week was bigger than that.
Each night the worship got progressively more and more deep into my soul. The songs didn’t really change much. The motions were the same, but the hearts involved in it weren’t. It was bigger than the music—it was something that touched each soul at exactly the same moment with a different feel and intensity.
It had to have been God. We all felt the Holy Spirit just move through the little building we gathered in. Pat taught the needed qualities of a hero—Empathy, Thankfulness, Trust and Humility. Everyone I talked to throughout the day used that word in some way in his convo.
It had to have been God. After each sermon-thingy that J.J. taught, there was a silence that told of wheels turning in heads and heavy breathing that clued those who would hear in to the fact that we had been holding our breath. It was awesome.
What if being a Christian is not so much believing in Jesus, as believing that He believes in you? ~J.J. Peterson
It had to have been God. No one else could have gathered the amount of praise our group of 60 teens could muster and fill the space left with so much abundantly more than they could ever imagine. Each night we left with “glowing faces” (as told us by one of our missionary speakers) and hearts full to overflowing. But each day we awoke ready for more.
On Thursday, we had the main missions speaker, Dr. Mark Moore, come and speak to us. He challenged us to not just leave with a camp high, but to live it—to carry our Bibles around, to pray out loud and to start Bible studies on campus. We all nodded our heads and I whispered my approving “amen.” But that’s not as far as it went. Tim, one of our leaders, got up and said, “Now, I know Mark just gave you a challenge. But I challenge you to do his challenge. To really live it. … Now, I’m gonna pray in a moment, and when I pray, if you want to go home and live out this challenge, stand up. Just stand with me and pray. Okay?”
We all bowed our heads.
“Father,” Tim began with emotion flooding his voice. He paused as the sound of an ocean filled the room. Chairs moved back. Shoes rubbed the carpet floor. Almost the whole room stood at that one word.
For two moments, the whole room was quiet. The only sound to be heard was Tim trying to catch his breath. Over the microphone it was amplified and when his breath was knocked away by the roar we all felt the same. After a moment more, he began his prayer: “Father, I want to thank you for every person standing here tonight.”
And Friday? Friday was to equip us for carrying out our new mission. Our tool? Prayer. Prayer was to allow us to change from the rejects Jesus chose to the ones He calls us to be. And the reason we need prayer is because everything in life is supposed to be bigger than us. It’s bigger than the air we breath or this world we’ll leave—it has to be God.