Aaand...we’re back! I can't believe it's been one full week of serving with BBC! ---
Before you get worn out by my super duper long post, please note that the team will continue to blog through mid September (when Missions Report Night will, hopefully, take place)! Stay tuned for how each person recovers, processes, and prays post-trip! And stay tuned for more details regarding Missions Report Night!
As Eli mentioned in the last post, our last service opportunity (as least for this year's STM trip) with BBC was at Artscape. We were warned to stick close to our travel buddies, pass out gospel tracts as fast and furiously as possible, and to come back together before the sun sets. I think I felt more physically spent at the end of this time than I did each day at the VBS or while doing street evangelism. At the end of our time at Artscape, we said bittersweet farewells to the members at BBC. We exchanged hugs, laughs, prayers, and contact info.
On Saturday morning, we let most of the team sleep in and slowly pack for our departure home. Benji and Eli, of course, were given the privilege of waking up early to help Pastor Matt unload all of the supplies/equipment used during SCATTER Week into a storage unit. --- Side note: It was often joked by the members at BBC that I volunteered these two any time something had to be carried/lifted. I reminded these two often that it's because I love them. :) --- Pastor Matt offered to provide the team with coffee and breakfast before our flgiht. Even after declining twice, he still sent Big Ben and Lil E back with gourmet donuts for the team. He also helped us transport our luggage from the hotel to the airport, sent us off with prayer, and checked in on us throughout the morning to make sure that all was well and no changes to our flight. I share this because it was only a small glimpse of the love, support, encouragement, and partnership that was poured onto us all week long. We are practically strangers in the world's eyes, but knitted together by the blood of Christ.
Within 10 minutes of boarding the plane, 6 out of 7 of us knocked out. I'll let you guess which 6. :) God definitely provided for and protected us throughout this trip. If we're honest, we expected to be on high alert while hearing sirens and gunshots all day long. While I did encounter some interesting folks at the Inner Harbor and Mondawmin, and I did see some dealings go down, God's hand sustained us through the humidity and kept us safe. And similar to being sent off at 5am just one week ago, we were welcomed back by signs, smiles, and hugs from many members of LBCSJ!
Sunday morning was a bit painful trying to get out of bed. But what it was nice to be back at church, serving in our "regular" ministries (I think people missed me a little extra because Yum Yums were not provided last Sunday, haha), and sharing about SCATTER Week + BBC. While many of you may never meet George/Jennifer Lawson, Matt/Nelly Feldi, or any of the other members at Baltimore Bible Church, I hope you can still be excited with us in knowing that there are like-minded and like-hearted coheirs of Christ laboring for the same kingdom work.
One of the privileges of serving on a short-term missions team is that everything is laid out for you so that you are able to focus on doing the work of the Lord. However, that is just not reality. While I loved being removed from my crazy work schedule, discouragements from life, family needs, and even the nitty gritty of church ministries, I am reminded of the joy it is to be able to work 40-60 hours a week in a non-Christian environment (because it is a mission field), to be grieved by people/ things in life (because it makes the Gospel even sweeter), and to serve in an imperfect church (because Christ is perfect, and we need Him).
I think I need to sleep for a couple of days before processing more of the amazing work that God is doing in what seems to be a bleak area. Praise Him for the saints at BBC who faithfully proclaim His excellencies to different parts of Baltimore all year long!
Team G-Ma (Cindy)