Our AYC Trip: Portland
Heading into the AYC Portland trip, I honestly did not know what to expect. I was very excited just to have the opportunity to help a North American Missions church reach their city and help out in anyway possible. However, you can never out give God, and I can honestly say I came away from the trip feeling like I was blessed more by the trip than the people we reached/served.
After hearing the stories of the massive revivals overseas, in the back of my mind I had this preconceived notion that through all the hard-work, prayer, and preparation, we would see massive amounts of people come instantaneously. However, that’s not exactly what happened. At first I was somewhat disappointed, but through it all I learned we are often stuck looking through our own eyes instead of seeing things like God does.
Too often we seek instant growth and satisfaction, forgetting we cannot take any credit for, or have any responsibility, for the increase of our service. We are to plant the Word into people’s lives, and even water it, but God provides the increase. Throughout the week we were there, we saw plenty of instant results such as people saved, healed from depression, healed from physical ailments, given hope. I feel the best is yet to come.
Through the numerous amounts of fliers distributed and prayers prayed, the results of the work done throughout the week will continue to grow every day. I was reminded how important one soul is, and if only one life was changed throughout the entire week, the trip was worth it. If we can somehow remember that and implement that philosophy into our everyday lives, we can really make a difference in our own individual worlds.
I also learned about the incredible amount of hard work and dedication that’s required for a North American Missions church to be successful. In addition to preaching the Word every week, Pastor Meyer is responsible for set up, tear down, teach Bible studies, teach a Bible study at a men’s rehabilitation center, be available for those who need him, work his job, and spend time with his family. That is an awful lot of responsibility for anyone to handle.
This shows how important supporting North American Missions really is and how much help they really need. If we are close to a North American Missions church, they need all the help we can get. We need to be available to help in whatever they need. One way we can all help is through our finances, and most importantly, our prayers. Too often we feel disconnected from other places, feeling like we have enough to worry about, let alone some other far away place. But North American Missions churches, such as the one in Portland, are out reaching places we cannot. If the goal is to really reach the lost like it should be, the least we can do is to keep these places in our prayers.
The last thing I took away from this trip is just how ashamed I am to be ashamed. The city of Portland is a very “out there” place. If you could think of any “crazy” group of people out there, you would most likely find them in Portland. After all, a very popular slogan there is “Keep Portland Weird”. When we were in the park singing, a Satanist came up behind one of our girls and asked her why we were singing about Jesus and said Satan was the bomb. If people like her are not afraid to tell people about Satan, or to buy and sell marijuana shirts, or ask other people for money, then what are we afraid of?
God has promised He will be with us and we will not be alone. We walk through the streets day after day, filled with hungry people who—whether they know it or not—are looking for what we have. Yet day after day, we cower in fear of what our friends or co-workers would think if we brought up Jesus or invited them to church or a Bible study. I’ve learned it’s time to stop being so selfish, worrying about my own self image, and it’s time to be more concerned about people’s souls. It’s really that simple.
God told us to go out into the world and preach the gospel. If we could just get over ourselves and remember it’s all for God’s glory, we could really make the difference we constantly talk about but rarely realize. We have to ask ourselves, “Is the potential of me being criticized worth the risk of potentially helping alter this person’s eternal resting place?” When it’s laid out like that, it makes me realize how silly our fear really is. God will provide the results; we just need to go out there are give Him the opportunity.
Going into this trip, I was prepared to work as hard as I could, doing whatever I could. I don’t consider myself to have any amazing talents I could offer a church other than hard work, care for people, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish something. With this in mind, I’ve really struggled with feeling insignificant. Although I have had supportive parents, I never truly felt like I was significant in anyway, never really felt that anyone else believed in me. Even though I am extremely self-motivated, it is still nice at times to have someone believe in you.
Before I went on this trip I was really lacking the feeling of self-worth. Through talks with Bro. Meyer, Matthew Johnson, and especially Derek West, I was really encouraged, and for the first time, really felt appreciated and like someone believed in me. Often I felt like I was constantly overlooked because the “cool kids” and kids with the right last name were always given all of the focus. After that week, that all went away. While everything I learned and experienced was great, it was these simple talks that really made a difference in my life. Weeks before the trip, I was really down in the dumps and struggling mightily, but oh how a week can change things. I would like to thank these men one more time for the time and investment they put into me that week. They will never know how important that was and how much that meant to me!
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Wisconsin Youth Ministries for their gracious contribution to my trip, because without it, there was no way I could have gone on the trip. Through your contribution, you made a difference in my life, allowed me to encourage others in my church to go, and made a life changing difference in the lives of many people in Portland. Thank you so much for everything, and I pray God provides you with the opportunity to give others the same opportunity you gave me.
Thanks and God bless!
It is my desire to just be there for those in my youth group as well as see them realize the amazing amount of potential God has given them. While personally I don’t know exactly where God is leading me in life, I do want more than anything to see a move of God move through this nation. I have served as assistant youth leader at Abundant Life Church in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin for five years.
This article was originally printed on wisconsindistrictnews.org and is republished here by permission.