Tuesday, August 2, 2016

4 Takeaways from #LoveMexico

So last month, I had the privilege of co-leading a team of LEGACYouth down to YWAM Pachuca and Real del Monte on our #LoveMexico missions trip (i.e. the third stage of #oneepicsummer). Like #LoveAkron, the experience was a huge hit, granted in this case, we had a larger team returning for its sophomore campaign.

However, after reconvening with the youth during Facedown last week, we couldn’t help but wonder, ‘what now?’

After all, having taken an aerial view of the past two months, no question we’ve ‘leveled up’. We’re more tightly bonded, we’ve stepped further outside our comfort zone, we’ve ministered life to the broken, we’ve led people to Jesus…I could go on.

But as I mentioned last month, I’m not one to tempt any spirit of false accomplishment. ‘Cause truth is: what credit can we possibly claim? I mean….whatever good we do, we do it for Jesus…because of Jesus, right?

Thus, what better way to start walking this talk than with a #LoveMexico reflection post featuring a fresh set of trip takeaways...

1. We stayed alert

On mission trips, it’s easy to stay alert ‘when necessary’…when the opportunity knocks. But with our Gate crew…I believe part of the reason we enjoyed such an effective experience was due to people staying attentive in all situations.

Case and point: During our time at Teotihuacan, one of our team leaders started talking with some local tourists, one of whom had a fractured finger. After learning about the injury, this leader, without hesitation, started to pray…and instantly the fracture healed! What commenced as innocent conversation ended with an ex-broken finger operating with full range of motion.

The next night, after arriving in Real del Monte, our team participated in a ‘Bigger, Better’ ice breaker with some of the local youth. During our scavenger hunt, one of our youth encountered a vendor at a beverage stand. With the rest of the team moving on, I decided to join pursuit. Yet, after a few minutes, I noticed the youth was still absent, so I returned to the stand…only to find him praying healing over the family.

While I could share a boatload of similar stories, I submit these two given their microcosmic representation…not to mention they happened early in the week before our evangelism training1.

Bottom line: Not only were we ready, but we stayed alert and attentive to the Spirit by the Spirit at all times. As far as takeaways go, I’d be amiss if I didn’t start here…



2. Courage was constant 

Shortly after arriving at YWAM Pachuca, I spotted a notecard by my mattress with Ezra 10:4 scribed at the bottom. At first when I read it, I thought, ‘Ok. This is a nice little tidbit of truth’. But after returning to it a week later, I realized the passage not only proved prophetic personally, but also encapsulated the spirit of our team2.

‘Cause like point #1, we didn’t grow content in simply applying courage ‘when necessary’...we didn’t stop once our 20 insane seconds were up.  Instead, we intentionally took up our cross and came ready to share the love of our ‘strength provider’.

Did we pray for divine appointments? Absolutely! But the key here is: we didn’t rely on them to pop up before pursuing them. Rather we pursued the distribution of God’s love using courage as the vehicle. As a result, we were able to impact more people and see more lives changed.

Bottom line: Whatever success we experienced was directly tethered to God’s covering…as well as knowing why we had come…and being unwavering in strength/prayer.



3. We were united

As you can tell, #LoveMexico left lasting impressions on all of us. Yet, while I can certainly cite more moments when God showed up, I’d be leaving this list incomplete if I didn’t highlight God’s faithfulness in how it manifested relationally with YWAM staff and youth from other corners of the globe.

Similar to #LoveAkron, the fellowship with other believers not only exceeded expectations, but also served as a reminder of how the body of Christ is called to be (i.e. to be of one heart and one mind…united in goal, to have everything in common, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, etc.).

Bottom line: Despite the language barrier3, we were able to gel well with those God teamed us with and those He put in our path. And while I could credit “chemistry”, I believe favor + ‘being united under the canopy of great grace’ would be a more accurate commendation.



4. We stayed humble

During our nine days in Mexico, we saw many miracles and souls saved. Yet, as many outreach leaders know, sometimes pride can sneak into these moments bringing with it a sense of self-centered satisfaction. Seriously…how many of us have cleared the courage + obedience hurdles…only to falter into pride at the finish line?

In my experiences, I’ve found the best way to conclude any stretch of evangelism is through thanksgiving and humility. Yes, confidence is a wonderful thing; however, when it’s left unbridled, it can derail our attitude, our outlook…and a result, our response. Hence, when we consecrate our confidence having experienced the joy of team unity working together to save the lost and encourage the brokenhearted…we put ourselves in a better position to stay alert/take action as the Spirit leads (see point #1).

Bottom line: We ate our humble pie, rebuked pride when it crept in…and refocused our attention on loving those around us (which in turn…edified group accountability).

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Footnotes
  1. A nice, friendly reminder that God’s timing >>> our idea of ideal timing
  2. Or rather the Spirit of God within the spirit of our team
  3. And at least for me…not knowing anyone coming in…
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