I have so much I could say about this experience and there are so many that wanted to know about it that I thought I would write a post to try to capture everything I felt this past week! For those of you who don’t know what I did, I spent my spring break with 43 other amazing people from h2o BG and Toledo serving pancakes, giving free van rides, and sharing the gospel with college spring breakers in Panama City Beach, Florida.
So my story begins when I tried to avoid going on this trip at all costs! It sounds a bit ridiculous, but I was determined to go on any trip but this! I have a huge heart for overseas missions so I was originally signed up to go to Guatemala for spring break. However, the funds kept me from committing to go. So instead of trying to go on another trip I had decided I would just spend my break at home. WELL, God had other plans for me! As the semester went on and break got closer I was not wanting to go home because my family would be working the entire time I was there and I didn’t want to spend my break alone doing absolutely nothing! So God started working on my heart at that moment. He kept telling me Panama was the trip I should do, but I kept laughing and telling myself that I couldn’t do that. I could not share the gospel with other college students because I thought I was not qualified. God didn’t think that was a good enough excuse to not go. I was sitting at lunch with a bunch of people who had just signed up to go and my heart just broke! God spoke to me and just really hit me hard. How could I doubt a God who is so much bigger than my worries or insecurities?! So I emailed Chelsea and she responded by telling me I got the last girls spot! I wept. God had planned this so perfectly for me I knew he had BIG plans, not just for me, but for the 43 others that went as well.
As the trip got closer I became more and more discouraged. I kept telling myself lies and I kept thinking God wasn’t big enough to get me through that week. Every time I doubted my heart just ached because I knew it was displeasing to God to not fully trust him. God decided to do something about all that. In the week before, so many friends of mine just stepped up to the plate and really began encouraging me and lifting me up and praying for me as I was preparing to let God use me. I was so overwhelmed by the love and support that my heart was finally feeling prepared! Well, God didn’t stop there! I didn’t think that I would receive any support money so I had saved up all my birthday money and was going to pay the rest from what I had earned at work. BUT GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER! I sent out only 11 letters and guess what?! My total cost was covered! how cool is that?! So feeling incredibly encouraged I was ready to begin what would turn out to be the most incredible week of my life!
Driving down to Panama City began the first test of my week. Lie after lie kept getting into my head. I began to feel unqualified as we drove the 16+ hours to Florida. However, GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER! The people in my van were super encouraging and really touched my heart! We were just getting to know one another and yet they began loving on me almost immediately! I couldn’t help but smile at how God just kept blessing me and blessing me each minute we got closer to PCB.
As we spent our first two nights there I was feeling so lifted up and used by God it was an amazing feeling! Monday night came however and I began to feel super discouraged once again. Things of my past just kept flooding into my head. I didn’t feel worthy of serving God or having his love and I didn’t think I could ever be in a situation with a drunk male. BUT GUESS WHAT?! GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER! His love NEVER fails! Even if we do! CRAZY RIGHT?! He really broke my heart that night in the prayer room. I could finally see how much he loved me and catch a glimpse of how BIG his love is for us! As the week went on, the men who came with us from BG really showed me that there are men that can be trusted. After that week I can honestly say I trust each one of them with my life. Ladies there are respectable men out there so don’t ever settle for anything less!
God just really opened my eyes over spring break. I would have never thought that serving pancakes and giving out free van rides would be so life changing! My first conversation ever with a Spring Breaker was with a girl that was from BG. She looked at me and said that she was the one who handed me the microphone when I had sang the national anthem at the last hockey game! This really hit me hard. God had put me there, not only so that I could follow up with her at home, but to make me realize that the lost are not just in PCB. They are at home, in BG, on campus, in class and even some that are close to me. I used to think you had to go far away to help the lost, but they are RIGHT HERE!
Probably the biggest thing I took away from this trip was that if I am saved, why was I not sharing the gospel?! If I have something so great in my life why didn’t I want others to know about it?! God cannot be put in a jar and that is exactly what I was trying to do. I kept him close and only used him when needed. BUT GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER! I had gone down with the intention of saving everyone I saw and talked to, but I realized that it isn’t our job to save everyone. It is our privilege to plant the seed but it is GOD who makes it grow! I was so humbled over the duration of that week.
I cannot put into words the joy that I feel since I left Beach Reach. The worship made me fall in love with God all over again. Allowing God to use me for HIS glory was absolutely amazing and humbling. I am completely FIRED UP and ready to be used by God for the plans he has for my future. This is not our show, it’s all his and it took me till now to realize that.
As for the 43 people I went with, they have completely impacted my life and touched my heart. We will always be a family formed on the gospel. HOW COOL IS IT that 44 people gave up their breaks to go tell the world that GOD LOVES THEM! I am so blessed and honored to call each and every one of them my brother and sisters in Christ! Thanks to all of you for showing me God’s love through the friendships we created this past week. You all truly mean the world to me and I hope and pray we can continue to mutually encourage one another pressing towards the goal of making disciples together. I love you all so much and am so blessed that God gave me a family here in BG finally. RTG for LIFE!