FUMC Marietta, GA- Church: Methodist, Local Church Service
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
What I Learned About Missions at MFUMC
Tangible - perceptible by touch.
As humans, we constantly cling to earthly things. We adore big houses, fancy clothing, and expensive gadgets. We idolize people, celebrate financial successes, and tend to focus solely on ourselves. It's considered the norm... even for Christians. So, why do we continue doing these things when we know they are wrong?
What You Want is What You See
It comes so naturally doesn't it? Big houses give us a sense of accomplishment, fancy clothing boosts our confidence, and expensive gadgets are simply fun to have. We look up to people that are "successful", we find relief in financial successes, and we like to pamper ourselves. Who could blame us? We center our lives on earthly things: things we can see, touch, and feel. Because we are accustomed to these earthly and tangible things, we struggle to comprehend anything else. And to consider centering our lives on something that's not... would be abnormal. While I wasn't quite raised in a traditional Christian home, I was familiar with the basics of Christianity. I knew there was a God, who was all-knowing, forgiving, and most importantly, loving. But it wasn't until recently that I truly learned my life played a role in His story.
Spring Break Mission Trip with MFUMC Opens Door to New Future
April of 2008, I found myself on a plane for the first time. Not only was it my first time on a plane, but it was my first time on a mission trip. I was overwhelmed with the idea of traveling and maturing. I dreamt of my future and what I hoped to accomplish in life. My priorities aligned with just about every other young teen at the time. After a week of eye opening experiences, I began to grasp the idea that there just might be a bigger picture. I felt emotions more intensely, I thought to a new extent, and I saw the effect we were capable of making on other people's lives. Surrendering our time, money, and effort could bring joy to others. Earthly things became unnecessary. While I failed to find rationality in my newfound passion, I continued to take every opportunity in the mission field. With each trip, more and more was unraveled. My comprehension of this world and what my life means became clearer. Little did I know that God was stirring deep in my heart and that He was the source of my passion.
Drawing Closer to the Awe and Mystery of God
While I grasped a better understanding of who exactly God is, and what His love is truly like, I yearned for more. I committed more of my time to studying Him. Knowing what Jesus would do in every situation, became a major priority in my life - W.W.J.D. I have come to know that our God is radical. He works in ways that only He could conceive, because after all... He is God. We are not meant to understand every aspect of Him and His plans for us. Rather we are meant to pick up our crosses and simply follow Him. This is where we can sometimes fail. Picking up our crosses includes surrender. Surrendering our lives to God... who is an unearthly being. We struggle to physically see God, to touch Him, and to feel Him. But we must realize this... He is in the good and the bad, the success and the failure, the young and the mature, the old and the new, the simple and the complex, but most importantly, He is in you and He is in me. We play a role in His story.
The More you Grow, the More You Give and Give Up
For me, entering the Kingdom of Heaven isn't through mindless religious activities. Rather it is through an intimate relationship with Christ. Once that relationship is established and begins to grow, obedience comes naturally. Centering our lives on an unearthly, yet godly being is no longer an issue. We put our faith into action, and we willingly take a role in His story. Four years later, I continue to have an immense amount of passion for mission trips. Only now, I have a better understanding of just exactly why. When I travel on mission trips, earthly and tangible things seem to lose their importance. Through the surrender of time, money, and effort, comes joy. Likewise... through surrender, comes God.
Melissa Leming is a graduating senior at Marietta High School. She will be serving as a short term mission team host for our community development partner in Peru called Los Amigos for two months this Summer. Melissa will be attending The University of Georgia in the fall.