“What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Seen?”
On one of Grace Church’s mission trips to Allendale a few weeks ago, a college intern asked me, “What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen God do, since you’ve been in Allendale?”
Two things came to mind first:
- The trust we have earned with children, teens, parents, and other community members; and
- Seeing children and teenagers being exposed to new ideas, thinking, and places.
I have been amazed at the growing number of opportunities that we get to have in Allendale. In many cases, I have been told to do “Anything You Want.” With any small step of faith that we show, God has proven himself 10 times more faithful.
And I love seeing the lightbulb go off when a child or teenager sees, hears, or learns something new. His world may get only a little bigger, but that growth is what is needed to help him see that he does have options in life. For example, after a field trip to Charleston that included a college tour, numerous children (including two of mine) came back talking about how they want to go to the College of Charleston. Now, what if they took 5 or 6 more college tours over the next few years. They would see that they have lots of choices!
A Better Answer
I went home that night and thought more about his question. While I do think those two things have been “cool” and encouraging, I kept thinking they did not give the full picture, or that something was even better.
The next day, I saw him again, and I explained that I didn’t really like my answer, and I wanted to change it. That’s OK, right?
So, what has been “the coolest thing I’ve seen” God do since I’ve been in Allendale? When I see relationships form and strengthen beyond anything I have done.
I saw this after our Spring Break camp, when two moms (one from Greenville, one from Allendale) developed and continued their friendship.
My eyes watered filled with tears when I learned that an Allendale child was in Greenville for Grace Church’s Elementary Camp, and when he saw his leader from soccer camp, he ran up and gave him a hug.
Or when a group of students and a leader from Grace Church are in Allendale for a week, and they connect with some of the football players — playing sports, having dinner, and playing games at the apartment in which they are staying for the week.
I smiled when I learned that one of my favorite guys down here was in the same Boys’ State “city” with an Upstate guy whom I have a lot of respect for.
And when old friends reunite at the Cooter Fest.
Because for as much as we love what we get to do hands-on in Allendale (camps, after school programs, coaching, etc), we know that our best efforts only a small part of what God is doing here. The best, coolest, and biggest thing we can do is provide opportunities for others to connect with what is going on in Allendale. And then we’ll just stay out of the way, and be amazed at what the Holy Spirit will do.
We have to remember that this is our adventure, but it’s God’s story.