This past week I went on a mission trip to Compton, California. It was one of the most growing experiences of my life and I am so thankful I was able to go. I left with a new challenge, to love my city as much as the amazing people of Compton love theirs. I was awestruck by the love and care they have for each other and the well being of their area.
As I flew back to my town, I was seriously convicted. I was thinking,
“I thought I was loving and caring for my city, but man does it look like hate compared to what people in Compton are doing.”
It was a huge wake up call for me. Now I am on a mission to love my streets. To reach out to the people and start taking responsibility for where I live.
Now, I also learned that this may not be easy, and I can certainly, not do this all alone. So if you have this same conviction as I do, then we need to start doing stuff.
There are SO many great, service-minded, opportunities you can get involved in. I suggest you talk to your local church to see what ministries they are already doing in your town.
While I was in Compton, we were able to stay with a pastor who recently started a Screen Printing Company called Compton Proud. (Their shirts are seriously the cutest things ever. If you’ve ever been to Compton or just want to encourage and promote Compton and this business, I suggest you take a look at their website.) He and his family, are dedicated to producing products that promote this mindset of being proud of where you live.
Now ask yourself these questions,
- Are you proud of where you live?
- If not, what would it take to change that? If yes, what are you proud of?
- How can you become more involved?
- What are some needs you see?
- Can you meet those needs?
My friends at Eventbrite have all the tools you may need to start loving your streets. I encourage you to take a look at some of their events as well as brainstorm some of your own service dreams.
I pray that we can all start loving our streets more. That could mean volunteering our time or just dedicating prayers to our city. Every bit helps.
If you are interest in reading more about my mission trip experience, below is a Facebook update I wrote in the middle of my trip to Compton.
View of L.A. from the Griffith Observatory
I haven’t fully adjusted to the L.A. time change yet so I’ve found myself running out of sleep at 6:00 AM every single morning this week. The first few days I was saying to myself, “Come on… just sleep you fool.” But today something else happened.
I was still bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:00 AM but I woke up with a new sensation… a sensation to just admire God.
I went outside of the Treehouse (the name of the beautiful house we are staying in on Compton) and sat on the wooded swing attached to a massive tree. I sat there for about 5 minutes not knowing exactly what to pray for or what to read about. Then I cracked open my Bible and started reading Ruth.
I’m pretty familiar with the story of Ruth but in that moment, the Lord revealed himself to me in a way I haven’t experienced before.
All of Ruth is a glimpse into the life of a girl who optimizes the definition of faithfulness.
Her husband, brother in law, and father in law all have passed away. Ruth and the women in her family are left alone to provide and take care of themselves. The first chapter conveys how hard the mourning process can be and how we sometimes feel as though God has (in the words of Naomi) “dealt very bitterly with me”.
I feel like I can relate to that feeling. And truthfully, I felt that way this week. I was not feeling connected to my team and like I had nothing left in me to give.
At this point it was about 6:20 (I’m still one of two people up) and was really feeling Ruth’s story deep in my heart.
Then we get to chapter two. (V.1) “Now Naomi had a kinsman…” This is the part of Ruth when things start to look up. When Boaz is introduced and the story starts to get good.
Here I got a different glimpse. Ruth wanted to be married and start over, but she also wanted to remain faithful to her mother in law and love her through this hard time.
Ruth was strong. She was able to stay faithful when her heart wanted to pick up and go live the glamorous life so many women her age were living.
Then it clicked. Mission work is not glamorous. Mission work takes faithfulness even when the storms rain out every ounce of sunshine left in you. Mission work is like Ruth’s story. Well at least it is for me on this trip.
I have a deep desire to love these people and to love Compton. But sometimes the desires of our selfish hearts want to be back home hitting the snooze button until our hearts are content.
But then God helps us stay faithful. God gives us the strength to serve Him joyfully and from a willing heart.
Those few minutes of quietness this morning have changed my view of mission work. Looks like I’ll still be up 6:00, sitting on that swing, trying to get to know my king a little better.
Attached is some audio of the amazing worship we had on our mission trip.
XOXO, The Christian Prepster