I was challenged by one of my supporters and friends this week to start being more vulnerable in my blogs. He said he wanted to hear the "deep thoughts" that occurred behind the scenes. So here's my attempt to bring you all into my inner world.
For a long time I've wanted to die young. I know, pretty morbid. Twenty-five to 30 years of age sounded about right to me. And if I could, I wanted to go out a hero: saving a stroller from in front of a bus, taking a shot meant for someone else, something that people would remember me by. But this past weekend I got to go to my church's kids camp: Jesus and Me (JaM) Camp. And as I sat at breakfast on the second day I thought, this is an amazing experience. I never went to summer camp as a kid. I didn't know what really to expect beyond having to take care of a bunch of six- and seven-year-olds, and all the work that entails. But as I warmed up to the kids and they to me, and I participated in this adult culture of unconditional love to all of these kids, I started to thank God for allowing me to live long enough to experience this. And that got me to realizing how selfish wanting to die young is: I wanted to be remembered, I wanted to be significant. But I'm only one person in history. And the vast majority of people in history are not remembered for very long. But God remembers each one. And my insignificant actions become significant only because He does something very powerful with them. And now all I want to do is ask God to allow me to live long enough to experience and take advantage of all he has in store for me: blessings like this past weekend and opportunities to serve others like this past weekend was as well. Blessing and enjoyment are not mutually exclusive to being a servant to others, and oftentimes they overlap. Valuable things are costly. And the children that I got to serve this past weekend were so valuable to me, even when we started off the weekend as complete strangers. And every cost of teaching them how to shower, comforting them as they cried, picking up after them and goading them into eating their food was worth it. I can only thank God for giving me that experience and pray that I get to experience that with my own kids one day. But it also opened my eyes to how much God is taking care of us from day one. These kids are experiencing unconditional love from people other than their parents and because of that, they are going to go through life knowing that there are people out there who will love them because they're worth it. The students that I get to interact with daily have various degrees of experiencing that, but have just as much of a need of it as these littles ones do. While I don't typically show my love for them by giving them piggyback rides or accompanying them to the bathroom, the actions I choose to do hopefully communicate the fact that I love them because they're worth it.
For those of you that I haven't met with this summer yet, I have an announcement to make. Starting this Fall I'll be attending Fuller Theological Seminary to pursue my Master of Divinity degree! I'll be taking their online classes so that I can continue being a campus minister at UTD, but I'm excited to be a student again. Please pray for the time, motivation, energy, and finances to come together as I apply for scholarships and ask for people to continue or start joining my support team for this coming school year.
And a second announcement: I have adopted two dogs! The brown one is Penny and the black one is Rachel. I'm very excited to be a homeowner. After being a dad, being a dog-owner has probably been my second biggest dream as a child. So, while all my dreams are surrendered to the Lord to do with as He wishes, I'm glad He has at least allowed me to fulfill this one. Penny is perfect, but Rachel is still very rough around the edges as she came from a rescue organization and most likely has experienced a life of abuse. So it will take a lot of time and effort to get her to trust people, but I have confidence she will one day!
And so thank you to everyone who I have been given the opportunity to be your friend. Thank you for your support, thank you for your love, thank you are everything. I thank God every time I think of you, and the privilege He has given me to serve Him full-time, and that He has placed in my life so manny good friends, mentors, and people who love me. Many of you are those very adults who showed a little boy that people other than his parents unconditionally loved him. And when that boy became a campus minister, you showed up again when he asked you to consider supporting him. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me. I love you all so much.