Like Lyshane, I was a part of the summer mission team in Toronto. I served in the Kingston-Galloway community in Scarborough. The goal of the team was to partner with TCM’s summer camp, build relationships, introduce people to Jesus, and introduce people to our church.
I’ve been on the Toronto summer mission team for the past 7 years, 6 of those as the leader. Among the many lessons that the team learns each summer, one is always the same: that although we spend so much time training and preparing, the most important part of the summer is not what a great job we do, but that we get to play a very small but valuable role in God’s master plan of what He was doing in the lives of everyone involved. God always deserves all of the glory. This year was no different. Although I faced 2 very new situations this summer, God still reminded me that the glory was all His.
This was the first time in 7 years that I was not the team leader. Our sister Lyka, and Joseph from the North York campus led. It was really hard for me to keep my mouth closed and to let Lyka and Joseph lead, but they were not the problem. It was me. They did an excellent job, and the rest of the team really stepped up as well. God worked in Lyka and Joseph to strengthen their great leadership skills and He also worked in the team so that we could grow as evangelists and sharers of His love. I just had a hard time letting go because part of me still wanted to be in control.
This was also the first time that I really had a hard time building relationships with the kids at camp. I’m a teacher with guidance counsellor training. Building relationships with kids was something that I was supposed to be good at and something that I prided myself in, but I felt only polite responses and even some cold shoulders. My pride was hurt. I even felt useless. That was when I thought it was about me and what I could do for the kids in the one week I was with then. But, as I turned my eyes to what God was doing I noticed that the staff and leaders of Toronto City Mission had incredibly deep relationships with the kids – perhaps deeper than any I had ever seen in any summer camp and in any year before. I was so grateful to be able to witness this as many of the kids in this camp came from broken homes. It was so great to see God using Toronto City Mission to provide so much love and stability in these kids’ lives.
In one of my favourite Bible stories, John, the Baptist faithfully serves the Lord, preaching and baptising people in the wilderness. One day, one of John’s disciples notices that Jesus is also baptizing people and that he is gaining a larger crowd of followers. John declares that just as the best man is full of joy when he hears the voice of the groom at a wedding, Jesus must become greater and he must become less.
Yes, I was faithfully serving as a mission team member, but in both situations above, my pride got in the way; and in making it about me, I almost missed seeing God at work and the wonderful things He was doing in the lives of our team members and in lives of the leaders and campers this summer.
God is at work. Brothers and sisters, I encourage all of us to faithfully share His love with those that are around us here in SJT, and as difficult as it may be, to prayerfully take time off work and join a mission team and share His love around the world and when we do, may we get to witness the beauty of what God does in peoples lives and give Him the all glory He deserves.