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One Matters

7 January, 2022

It was 3rd August 2010 and I sat on a Romanian hillside at the first ever Bush Camp (before the days of the Exodus Centre in Sutor!). Samantha and I had just got married a month before and we were leading our first team together. It was a group of young people from our church who had completed the Ex-change course.

I couldn't sleep, not surprising given that I was lying on a polythene sheet on the forest floor! I got up and sat by the campfire, watching the last embers burning out. As I did, I took some time to reflect and pray for the team one by one. For the first time on that journey I realised the size of the task of leading a team, the task of transforming lives, a huge burden to carry.

I reflected and prayed for each individual and realised that each had needs in their lives that only God could meet. One young person had an alcoholic father, another was suffering with an eating disorder, one had a family member who had committed suicide a short time before and a couple of other team members were so crippled by insecurities that they would do anything to fit in with the crowd. Every individual in that team had some major obstacle in their life. As I sat, reflected and prayed, God did something important in my heart, God did something to remove me as an obstacle to ministry. God met me and spoke into my great need - the need for validation. 

I realised that these young people didn't need me: my friendship, my fun, my insight. No, rather, what they needed, more than anything else, was the healing and transformation of God in their lives. 

God humbled me in a profound way. As I watched the smoke rise up into a clear Transylvanian night sky, I also felt God lift the burden to change lives. I felt God say, "I've got this, just be faithful and enjoy the journey."

Humility is knowing who we are before an all-powerful God, having faith that he is in control and working out his plan. Our role is to continually and faithfully follow him. Humility and faith are inextricably connected. Time and time again in Scripture, they are the qualities which set people apart from the rest. The people God chooses to use most often, are those who know their place before him and have a firm confidence in him regardless of the circumstances. As youth leaders today, we need to start from a place of knowing who we are and knowing who God is. Knowing our role and God's responsibility - and not mixing the two!

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Today, 12 years later, I can look back and praise God for the journey. He did work in that team. He did change lives and some of the difficult circumstances. I'm still in regular contact with a couple of the team members and I can say it remains truly humbling to know that that mission trip in 2010 left a profound impact on their lives. 

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