When I first decided to go to Zion, I felt like I didn’t really fit in because everyone else going was a lot younger than me. I really wanted to serve God, but I was kind of discouraged and unsure of why He called me to go on this trip instead of Haiti. I questioned why I was there and how God wanted to use me. However, I soon discovered that God asked me to go to Zion because He wanted to humble my heart. I learned the joy in stepping back and letting other people shine. I loved getting to know the younger girls and guys on this team and then watching Jesus shine through them. On one of the days, a group of us got to go to a few houses to deliver some items that they needed and to pray with the families. At the last house we went to, it was Madeline Brooks’ turn to pray, and she was kind of nervous about it. But she trusted God through her fear and prayed for them and, of course, did a great job. When she was done praying, the man was astonished and said that he could really feel the Holy Spirit while she was praying. It was awesome getting to see her learn about God’s ability to shine through her. It was super humbling being able to witness other people learning more about God and who He is instead of only thinking about what I was getting out of the trip. I met some pretty awesome and super Godly people that may be younger than me, but who I look up to spiritually. I was humbled in realizing that I’m not that big of a deal, God is. I’m not a “better Christian” than anyone and no one is a “better Christian” than I am. God sees everyone the same, so why shouldn’t I?

I also struggle with seeking joy in relationships with people and in other places rather than through God. This trip was yet another reminder to me that no one will ever give my true joy besides God. No matter how awesome someone is, they will never be perfect and they will let me down, but God NEVER will. I found myself happy doing things that weren’t exactly very fun. Like sawing wood. Well that was actually kind of fun; I got to use a big saw. But painting houses and doing lots of sanding and building bunk beds. I had no desire to complain about the hard work or the heat. It actually brought me joy because I knew that whatever I was doing, I was doing for God and His glory. And if everything I do is for Him, I have no choice but to do it to the best of my ability! One of the days, a woman at one of the houses we were working on said, “I don’t understand why all of you are being so thankful toward me! You are the ones who are fixing my house!” I really believe that she was able to see Jesus shining though us. Not only because we were working on her house but because we were doing the hard work with a joyful and positive spirit.

God reminded me on this trip that all I need to do is be who he made me to be and lead by example. He always shows me that I am wherever I am to bring Him glory by trusting in Him, humbling myself, and doing what He asks of me. I see that I can no longer try to be someone better than I am. All I can do is be who He created me to be because He made me for
a very specific purpose that only I can fulfill. I was feeling a little down one of the nights and while I was walking around, a boy that I didn’t know at all came up to me and asked if he could talk to me. He shared with me some hard things that he was going through and how he was struggling a lot. After I prayed for him he told me that he liked the way that I talked to God. He said that he approached me because I seemed like someone who would listen to him because my relationship with God seemed real. I was honored because I love listening to people talk, and I think it is something that God has gifted me with the ability to do. I learned that God uses me when I am myself. All I have to do is love Him, and everything else falls into place.

Most of all through this trip, I learned that I don’t want my heart to be about what makes me feel good. I want it to be about what makes God happy. I want it to be more like His. I wanted to go to Haiti this summer because I selfishly wanted to do big things and be used in big ways. But God wanted me to go to Zion because he wanted to humble me, teach me to be a joyful servant, and remind me that big things happen everywhere that peoples’ hearts are for Him. And that no matter where I am or how small I feel, if my heart is His, He WILL use me in big ways, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. I also learned to put His desires for me before my own, even if I don’t exactly understand. His plan is obviously much bigger than my own. In Habakkuk 1:5 it says, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” Even though sometimes I doubt this truth, God always reminds me that it is soo true!

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