Every year we serve summer camps run by Toronto City Mission. Every year, we play with the kids, lovingly build relationships with them in Jesus’ name and introduce them to our church, but this year there were a few unique ways in which the mission experience was a little different:
You may not know this, but this was the first year, our team was sent from the SJT campus, paid for by the SJT budget, and trained here in SJT. It really speaks to the maturity of our church that we can send our own team. Praise God.
Second, I think this was the first year in which we had no real “Newbs” on the mission team. The TCM summer camp is a place with which we were all familiar. All of us either grew up through the TCM programs, have been on previous missions teams, or both. This made for a great team. No one settled into an attitude of “same old, same old.” Every member knew what to expect, built on their experience and really stepped up their game. We were awesome. Let me tell you how good we were:
We didn’t just play with the kids and student leaders, but we were intentional in building relationships and intentional in steering conversations towards the Gospel.
We led praise and worship time and we rocked!
We had 2 people preach 5 minute sermonettes: one on obedience in the face of fear, and one on salvation by grace. They were incredible. They were captivating and articulate as they presented the Gospel and they really made the kids and leaders think.
We put a lot of effort into planning art activities, and it really paid off. We could see that many of the kids thought through the ideas that were presented in the sermonettes as they expressed themselves through these activities. The kids produced beautiful artwork, and they got to keep them as a reminder of the lessons that were taught and a reminder of the wonderful time they had with this great mission team from this great church.
But, there was one more thing that made this year’s mission experience with TCM unique. Through various personal and logistical circumstances, the main staff members were almost never with us when it was our turn to lead praise, give sermonettes, or lead art activities. They didn’t see how awesome we were. As a matter of fact, in our final debrief together one of the lead staff members thanked us, and said, “Sorry I wasn’t there to see you, but I’m sure you were great, because you are always great.” She didn’t know. We weren’t just great this year, we were awesome!
I chuckled to myself. It was a great reminder of Psalm 115.
“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
It was a great reminder that it is God who gets the credit for the relationships that we built, for the beautiful praises that we sang, for the touching of people’s hearts through preaching, and for the beautiful artwork that was made. God was at work through us. He was using us because of His love and faithfulness to us, and to the families of SJT. It is God who has been using the TCM staff everyday, over many years, to build relationships, share the Gospel, and nudge the kids to join a church and we are humbled to have played a very small, but very beautiful role in what He is doing here in our community.
God is at work. Brothers and sisters, I encourage all of us to faithfully share His love with those around us; to pray for and give generously to our missionary friends, such as Janelle. Finally, as difficult as it may be, I encourage everyone to prayerfully take time off work, and join a mission team to serve either here or around the world. It’s a great way to witness and take part in the beauty of what God does in peoples lives and give Him the glory He deserves.