shoolieAs the ABC Mission Team again prepares to go to Bathurst, we thought we’d take a moment to hear Shoolie’s reflections on his past trip to New Brunswick last year. Shoolie was a member of the team last year and will be going again this year as a member of the discipleship leadership team.

A Trip to the Backyard
Tomorrow some of my friends will be flying from Toronto to Zambia. They will be planting themselves in the community, for a month, to serve those around them. This, I imagine, will be an experience of growth and self-discovery and I can’t wait to hear about the stories that they will encounter on their grand adventure. During their preparation to depart I caught myself reflecting on my time at Bathurst, New Brunswick. I went last year with our church and the experience was simply amazing. And even though the two trips are very different in terms of geography and intensity; the root of the experience came from the same tree.

Mission trips are deeply rooted in the message of the Gospel. Living for others. It is a time, especially for those who have closed their hearts in their own community, to go somewhere and open themselves up to a new community. This openness is also the reason for the exponential growth that people experience during trips. At times, especially with the everyday interactions we have in our day to day lives, we close ourselves as some sort of defense mechanism. This is the effect of the fear of being hurt by those around us. By doing so, we start living for ourselves and not for others.

Going on a mission trip is a great way to make an impact somewhere else, but it is also a great reminder of the impact you can make in your own community. To live for others without fear, serving those who are around you, and ultimately giving up your life for others. Sadly, this seems to be easier when you are not in your own community. There seems to be a fear in the back of our minds when it comes to planting the seeds of kindness when we are in it for the long term (but Love will cast away this fear). We need to learn how to open ourselves, even to the smallest act of kindness, in all communities, especially the ones we are currently in.

It is believed that when we do an act of kindness we are planting a seed on someone else. I think of it in a different way, when we demonstrate an act of kindness, through love, we are planting a seed in ourselves. In time those seeds will grow and when people see the fruits of our love, we can only hope that they plant their own seeds as well.

We need to learn to see ourselves as people that requires growth. We are made from the very soil of the Earth and we have the ability to plant the seeds of good and evil in ourselves. You can tenderly plant a seed of kindness or carelessly throw around hate, and in the right circumstances both seeds have the capacity to grow. We are constantly planting in our own backyard.

That is something that I learned from my trip last year. I didn’t realize it then but the purpose of that trip was not only to serve others but also to tend for myself. It was a way for me to plant new seeds to bring back home. And I know that my friends will learn and grow during their time in Zambia. I will keep them in my prayers and would ask people to do so as well. Finally if you want to keep updated on their travels you can check their blog right here: http://tyndaleblogs.ca/zambia/category/updates/

This post is an excerpt from Shoolie’s blog written in May of this year at www.shoolie.com. Check out his website to read and learn more of his thoughts, reflections, experiences and spoken word poetry.

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