Rebuild, Restore, Rejuvinate

I was so priviledged to be granted the amazing opportunity to lead a team of Texan high schoolers to Joplin, MO to help rebuild the city after tornados destroyed it last May. I was not exactly sure what to expect, 

From ashleypeterson.theworldrace.org

as this was my first time on an Encounter trip. I also have not been around high schoolers in a long while. But it was so amazing how we all came together for a single purpose. REBUILD.
This group in particular was kind of a random group. The kids were all from the same church, however most of them didn’t know one another, nor did they know their own counselors very well. Also, some of the youth had not been on effective missions trips in the past, so they were very skeptical at first as to what our plans were. However I have never seen a harder working group of youth before!! While a majority of this group were girls, they were not afraid to get dirty, get their legs scratched up by thorns, accidentally step on rusty nails, get sunburnt while freezing in the wind, and sometimes running away from spiders or other weird bugs we found buried deep. RESTORE.
I was really excited to help with this trip, to wear old clothes, pick up a hammer, wear bandanas and really feel exhaustedly accomplished at the end of a long day of manual labor.

From ashleypeterson.theworldrace.orgFor a lot of these youth, this was their very first missions experience! What a great opportunity for me to share God’s word and hope not only to the devastated people of Joplin, Missouri, but also to share in the goodness of our Lord and participate in true action of the word with these youth! In so many ways, this missions trip was not just about cleaning up the plots of land for rebuilding homes in the local neighborhoods. It was not just about cleaning pastures, and clearing home lots, and organizing donated clothes, it was about reminding the community of Joplin that they have not been forgotten and we still will unite together to help them. Cause at the end of the day, it is about glorifying the Lord in ALL things.

Colossians 3:14,17
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I cannot tell you the newfound joy I have now after returning from my time in Joplin with these inspiring youth. They are on fire for the Lord in a big way, and are already making plans to impact God’s Kingdom through powerful actions. Seeing the appreciative smiles from the local community of Joplin will stay with me forever.

From ashleypeterson.theworldrace.org

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