While I write this, you only have 5 months left on team. Isn’t that amazing? You’ve made it through seven months of a year long journey and you’re still standing. Let me start by saying that I am proud of you. In seven months you have overcome a variety of challenges and obstacles, you have shared your faith in outstanding ways, and you are growing as a human being in more ways than I could have ever imagined. So it may be August for pre-team you, you may be scared (and you probably should be), but this will be worth it.
Here’s what you need to know: you don’t need as much as you initially packed, puppets still make you uncomfortable, some days you may miss home, you won’t wear your tennis shoes very much, spaghetti will not be one of your favorite foods for much longer, and bad hair days can almost always be fixed with a hat.
More importantly, though…
This will be the hardest experience of your life, but some days will fill you with so much joy that it’s indescribable. The love of God will lift you and carry you through the hard times, but every once in a while you may cry out to him and wonder if he is even there. It’s okay to doubt, but if you sit in that doubt for too long, it may start to wreck you. So just don’t, okay?
Love your team unconditionally. You won’t always be able to do that, but I highly recommend it. As I write this, you all just had a discussion about how to love one another better. (It all stemmed from a devotion and was a great discussion, by the way…just wait for it!) It’s hard to understand, but when you’re day is so bad you can’t see straight, they are all you have this year. It’s worth it. I promise.
Trust God. Because he knows what this is all about. You don’t. I want you to love this year, but to love it, you have to give it all that you have and even more sometimes.
If you could have known in August the things you know now, your year would look so different. But I guess that’s part of the journey, and the journey is totally worth it. The people you serve will be uplifting and generous, the friends you make will last a lifetime, and the memories will be unlike any other. Hold your head up, and hold tight to your hope.
Peace and Blessings,