I'd describe this blog as a place for the purposeful ramblings of Ruth and others. You get to read my thoughts. Will you please share yours, too?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Church Newsletter Article

The following is what I wrote for the August edition of my church's newsletter. It kind of sums up my summer, so I thought I'd also share it here.

A Reflection from Ruth
Director of Youth Ministries

As many of you know, I have been traveling a lot this summer. Africa during most of June, Mo-Ranch at the end of June, San Antonio in July, and Mexico in August! Every trip I’ve been on has been an incredible blessing. I had wonderful opportunities to grow spiritually, and I had tons of fun laughing, playing, and working with some of our fantastic youth—you are so great to be around! The only hard part about this summer was being away from my church family for so much of it. I have missed you terribly! But I trust that as the summer comes to an end we will find our way back to a sense of routine and soon we will be spending time together again more regularly. I’m looking forward to that.

What did I gain from going on these trips this summer, besides my skill of packing and unpacking a suitcase? I gained a broader vision, a humbled spirit, a renewed sense of the importance of community, and an overwhelming sense of wanting to do everything in my life with purpose. My hope is that these things will not just remain with me, but that elements of them might be spread to others. How about I share a little with you right now?

Broader vision. My first trip overseas gave me just a glimpse of how vast this world is, and God showed me that it is my responsibility as a Christian to care for all the people in it. That doesn’t mean I have to be involved in overseas ministry to have broad vision, though. There are people directly in our midst that need to be shown care. Having broad vision isn’t having “far away” vision; it is having kingdom vision. What am I doing (and teaching others to do) that furthers the kingdom of Jesus Christ right here in my immediate circumstances as well as around the world?

Humbled spirit. From being served tea in a tiny living room, to worshiping in awe of the grand beauty that surrounded me at Chapel on the Hill, to looking into the smiling eyes of someone who knows that they might not eat tomorrow, I learned that putting myself aside is so important if I’m going to truly see that other person and value who they are. This is especially true with my understanding of God. When I place myself and my issues in relation to God’s glory, I am able to see just how magnificent my Lord is, and that makes the intimacy of his love even more wonderful.

Community. It defines the African way of life. At Youth Celebration we explored being at home in God and extending that loving hospitality to others. Members of Fuente de Vida are vulnerable with each other, praying about everything, both joyous and difficult. Let’s be different than the individualistic culture we find ourselves in. Let’s provide a sense of safety and belonging to all, enabling us to trust each other so much that we are unafraid to authentically be ourselves. I think we will then start to put the needs of others before our own, knowing that we will also be cared for as we do.

Purpose. My ultimate job in life is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s yours, too. The cool thing about it is that we can be Christ’s followers in every situation, no matter what the context. My living relationship with God can give purpose to things I would otherwise see as pointless, if I view them as a way to worship him.

I can’t wait for the amazing opportunities that are both ahead of us and taking shape right now! I hope you’ll be a part of it with me.


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