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Watching and Remembering

I wrote this last week on the mission trip...

Tonight I watched our mission team worship God.  I watched them react and respond to God's presence.  It's the moment each year when I am overwhelmingly grateful for what I get to do with my life. 

As I watch students raise hands in the air for the very first time, lifting the cross, lifting it high, I am grateful.  I get to see that moment.  I get access to that intimate interaction between Father and child.  And it gets even better than that.  I get to watch a daughter raise her hands to her heavenly Father, and I get to watch her earthly father as he sees that moment, too.  I get to see mother and son, best friend and best friend, wrap one arm around each other while their other arms are lifted in surrender.  I get to watch young men and women pursue God while they pursue a relationship with one another.

As I transition to new roles in ministry, I am trying to figure out exactly what roles I fill.  One of the things I seem to be is a vault—a vault of youth games, youth events, and experiences like the one we had this evening.  Tonight as I watched our team, different stories emerged from the vault.
I watched the college guy playing percussion, leading us in our own PCC worship time.  I remembered his friend who invited him to my small group years ago.  I remembered his coming to my home, unchurched, but curious.  I remembered his mohawk phase.  I remembered how he used to feed my baby boy snacks during small group, and put his hair in a mohawk, too.  I remembered the hunger he developed for God and God's word.

I watched the male junior high small group leader get out of his seat to pray with a young man.  I remembered the little boy with a bowl cut in my junior high Sunday School class.  I remembered when he came to my small group.  I remembered how ecstatic I was when he signed up for his first mission trip, and how bittersweet it was to stay home with my newborn and miss that experience.

I remembered when the percussion player and the small group leader showed up on my doorstop one Sunday afternoon five years ago.  I was home on maternity leave.  They were on their way to be baptized.  I was missing it.  Two young men who I'd seen decide to follow Jesus were going to be dunked by someone else, because it was too hot outside and too long a baptism for a newborn.  But they stopped by to say "hi" and "thanks" on their way, and I cried and prayed when they left.

I watched our church's newest Worship Coordinator lead us in worship.  I remembered a young man who visited our church, not at all sure it was where he wanted to be.  I remembered a young man who longed for his previous church.  I remembered a young man who forged a place in our student ministry, in our church, and in its leadership.

I watched our summer intern preach a short, emotional message.  I remembered how much I enjoyed him as a worship leader, too, and I was grateful for the opportunity to experience that again.

I could go on and on listing different leaders on this trip and the journeys I’ve gotten to see them travel.  That perspective is such a gift, and I am grateful for it.  I see new stories emerging in new leaders, too.


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