Hi Friends,

Today we completed the third day of our Upwards Sports Toronto camp.  It was a long hot day.  The campers are tired, and so is our team.  But God is so good and so wonderful to his children.  He takes our feeble efforts and works and somehow uses them for his own glory.  I am not sure how or why he uses the work of tired and weak human hands, but he does.  And I am thankful for that.

I believe that the greatest work that God does during a missions trip is in the hearts and lives of those who go on the trip. Missionaries may benefit, buildings may be built, food donated, flyers handed out, evangelism may take place, and sports camps may be run, but in the final analysis, it is the participants whom I believe receive the greatest blessings.

God is working in our hearts today.  For some, it is a challenge to firmly know that they believe what they say they believe.  For others, God continually is giving them circumstances that they cannot control (but they so wish they could), and he challenges them to trust him and work towards an outcome that they cannot see and is not guaranteed.  Still, for others of us, God uses trips like this to expose our weaknesses and prevent us from keeping some sins hidden.

Missions trips can expose in us a shallow biblical obedience, a high view of self, a disdain for others (especially those that are different), and a lightweight theology.  When God exposes these types of things in a person on a mission trip, he often does it in a manner that involves trip teammates.  In some ways, this can cause difficulty and tension, but also God can cause this to strengthen a person or people and to solidify a friendship.

Missions trips remind us of the necessity of evangelism, of how many don’t know Christ and with how very few people we ever share the good news of Jesus Christ.  And it exposes a hypocrisy that exists in many of us, that we are willing to tell someone of Christ when we are far from home, but often unwilling to share the gospel in our everyday environment and community.

Missions trips reveal how much of your ‘normal’ life you spend on yourself, and how much time you waste, and how little of yourself you pour out as an offering to the Lord.  How much can be accomplished when one is away from the television and the computer.  How much more preferred personal relationships are than digital ones.

While we are serving 11 unsaved students between the ages of 7-15, we are the ones that God is challenging, testing, and probing.  We are the ones coming away with a desire to know God more and to drink of his Word deeply.  We are the ones who understand that our prayer lives can be so shallow and that in a world of great darkness we must cry out to our Father more.

I ask myself if this city will even know that Grace Student Ministries was here this week? Will the light of Christ shine any brighter in Toronto because we came? I don’t know, but I hope and believe it will in St. Charles.

Pastor Kurtis