May God be praised for the incredible works, amazing grace, and time of conviction He graciously granted us on the West Coast trip!
This year’s West Coast trip was a blessing to so many! Not only was the purpose achieved of encouraging churches within the association, but it also was a time of second chances, rededication and steady spiritual growth for the team. It really is hard to capture in words the work that God did in all of our lives this past year and on the mission trip. For many of us it seems as if the whole year has been a prelude to Ephesians and that God used the difficult times to bring us at his feet; the only place for true growth.
God was really teaching our group patience, love and the bond of peace through unity within the church even prior to the trip. He was working at our character before the trip began. Whether through trials or difficulties, it was all for his glory — that we might learn to be obedient and remain in Him. Fasting and Praying were really the foundation for the trip and even throughout, God taught each and one of us the power of prayer and petition that if “we had as much faith as a mustard seed we could move mountains” Mat.17:20. A total of nineteen guys and twenty one girls on the road, and God choose to use us all in building each other up through shared testimonies, words of encouragement and praying for one another! Forty youth, one as the church, brothers and sisters in Christ! All forty of us walked away from this trip motivated to start small groups, be steadfast in our walk with God, and make each day count for Christ. To see such fire for the cross is really SUCH an encouragement!
Some Highlights from the trip…
The trip started out in Detroit where everyone flew in or drove to…tired, but eager to serve. And since that first night God started to do mighty works and surprise us all of the work he can do through us, if only we would let Him. That first service was such an encouragement to the church but also to our team. It was really where God let us know that he meant to transform lives on this trip and that it was going to start with us.
We visited a total of six cities: Detroit, Huston, Austin, San Antonio, LA, San Francisco, and Sacramento.
Getting to know each other on the road, sharing testimonies, spending time with God in hours in devotions every day were truly highlights of the trip. Being given a day to get from location to location is only a blessing if used to God’s glory. We were constantly reminded on the trip that all that we do for Christ will stand all else will perish.
Satan did try to distract us from doing God’s work and being on such a tight schedule, we really had to pray for strength to constantly trust Him with the weather, safety on the road, lost belongings, illnesses and all other trials.
God really used every single person on the trip and really put it on everyone’s heart to step up to the plate and serve with love, whether they were taking care of the luggage, folders or services. There was such teamwork and fraternity! Even in the small things, we were all looking out for each other.
In all the services (Detroit, Huston, LA, Sacramento) God really used us in spite of our imperfections. He used our weary bodies and many times we made it to the cities an hour before the service. He knew that the little time we had was better spent in prayer than practice. Another awesome aspect of the services was having a prayer team praying for the speaker and the message in an adjacent room. We really got to see these answered prayers, how great God really is and the power of His convicting words spoken through the speakers, through the Songs, Psalms, and Testimonies. Even when physically we didn’t think us able, he filled us with His joy, and left us all in awe of Him! As Paul tells us in Philippians, we find no confidence in the flesh but only in His power and might.
Everyone that came on the trip left changed and with praises on their lips. They all have a story to tell and many testimonies. What we do with the work that God started in us is just as important. “If we remain in Him and Him in us we will bear much fruit; apart from Him we can do nothing” John 15:5.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Mircea B. Ionescu