Hi guys!! I hope you have had the best week!
I’m going to share an amazing story about a trip to Iowa on Saturday. Yes, we went there and back in one day.
A group of students from my ministry class left campus yesterday around noon and headed to Iowa City Church of the Nazarene. This is the home church of two of our students. The drive was about 5-6 hours on the way there and surprisingly enough, it was snowing like crazy up there! Fun fact about me: I do not do snow. I hate snow. If it’s snowing, Santa better be coming to town. I’m just not a fan. Anyway, we had to drive fairly slow because there were a few times we drifted. It was awesome. Our advisor drove too so we were in good hands.
We arrived around 6:30pm to the church and they already had about two inches of snow. Yikes. The church averages about 180-200 each Sunday and what’s unique about this church is that it’s attended greatly by Hispanic people. I had no idea what to expect going into this experience, but when I walked into the doors, my heart was so happy. The sanctuary was full and the group of us sat in the back until it was our time to speak. The church had this event going on called “Revival” which we had the opportunity to participate in. Eight out of the twelve people in our group shared our testimonies and what revival means to us. Hearing each testimony was such a blessing because we’ve all been through different heartache, but what we all had in common is that God saved us. It seemed like the congregation was deeply moved by it and to be a part of it was truly humbling.
The really cool thing that I will never forget is that we had to share a defining moment in our lives where God was really moving. For me, it was in Panama back in 2013 when I was on a mission trip with my family and church friends. We were called up to the front of the church (about the same size as Iowa City Church) to be prayed over. The band behind us was playing, everyone in the room was glorifying God in Spanish, and the pastor was praying over us (also in Spanish). I had no idea what was said because I don’t speak Spanish, but I have never felt the Holy Spirit come down upon me as much as it did in that moment. I bawled my eyes out to say the least and I hardly ever cry in front of people because I like to think I’m tough. I cried because that was when I felt God wrap His loving arms around me and knew He was the real deal. That was also the moment I knew missions was my calling from God. That feeling was the same feeling I felt in that service last night. The deja vu was so surreal that I surrendered myself all over again. That’s what revival is. It’s when you realize you can’t handle life on your own and you give your ALL to God. Not just your struggles, not just your joys, EVERYTHING.
The service lasted about 3 and a half hours which seems like a long time, but the thing is, no one was concerned about the time. They were there to worship God and I’m pretty sure we sang the same song for about forty minutes straight and that is not a bad thing. It was beautiful. The whole service was. When we were dismissed, the congregation was served walking tacos. Yes, they were incredibly delicious.
We headed out around 11 pm to return home to Olathe. The roads were still pretty bad so we drove slow. The trip home was about 7 hours…in a van…all night long… but hey, it was alright. We all tried to sleep, but if you’ve ever tried to sleep in a crowded van for 7 hours… Lord have mercy. It was 6 am when we pulled into the parking lot on campus. I think it’s safe to say now that I went to bed and woke up at 4 pm. It was completely worth it. We had a great time and I think it helped us as students and followers of Christ grow. Ultimately, we were there to speak to the church, but I think they spoke to us too. For that I am truly grateful!