New Hope Methodist Church
337 Queen Street West, Newmarket Ontario L3Y 2G5

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Mission Puerto Rico 2015

May 2, 2015

Reflections by one of our Team's Young Adults

Today's blog is written by Sarah Gibson, from New Hope Methodist in Newmarket who also was on the 2011 workteam to PR and is so excited to return!

Team-mate Cameron Scott and I have spent a lot of time with the youth here at our host FM church in San Juan, and what a blessing that has been. I have developed friendships that I am certain will last a lifetime.  The youth here cover the ages of 14 to 25 and sometimes even older than 25 participate. There are a wide range of testimonies in which these young people have come to know the Lord -- some have been raised in Christian homes, while others have not. Some have lived on the streets for years, and had nothing and learnt that God would become their everything in times of desperation. The youth here seem to have no fear in terms of public speaking, which has been an inspiration to me as I have been challenged by Christ to never let fear hold me back from anything that would bring Him glory. I was thinking about how public speaking is the number one fear among people in our society, but that is not the case here among the people of our host church.
Our team has its own time of devotions and prayer each morning before breakfast, led by different team-members. We pray for you at home, as we know you are praying for us. 
Cameron led the devotions one day, based on the verse Ecclesiastes 3:11, which reads, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” If you are not aware, Puerto Rican time is different from our time in terms of punctuality. The culture in Canada is simply if an event starts at 7:30, then that is the time it starts. In Puerto Rico, there have been many times where an event is announced as starting at 7:30 and we all know that in actuality it will not start until 8:30. To some of us this can be frustrating, and I have always seen being late as something that is rather selfish if not rude. However, God placed on Cameron’s heart to share this devotional, because time doesn’t matter here so much, and God works through time. To expand on this, if you’re running late for something, God has a reason for this. For example, it may be that someone could be put in a life or death situation. One of the nights we were going out with the Youth and they were an hour and a half late. It was extremely frustrating, but we later found out that someone overdosed in front of their house and God had placed them there to assist this person and be a light in their life. God truly does make things beautiful in his timing and I believe that we can all speak to that. His timing is perfect and he has a specific reason for HIS timing.
The first night we arrived here, the youth welcomed us with open arms, and we went to McDonalds after the regular Friday evening worship service. I have felt an incredible sense of love and overwhelming joy from the cordial way they received us and the hospitality displayed by everyone here. I can see Christ shining through these people, even at a young age. It is evident that they serve Jesus with all they have and have entirely dedicated their lives to living for him. I was talking with one of the younger guys about the fact that the church has a service every weeknight and how he seems to be at the church for almost every one of them ... and how amazing I think that is. He said that when he misses a day or two, his relationship with Christ isn’t the same and his focus becomes distracted easily. I know that relationships are to be cultivated on a regular basis and in order for Christ to be at the center in our lives, we should be cultivating our relationship with Him and fellow Christians on a daily basis. In PR, this is done through going to church and worshiping Christ on more than Sunday morning.  I find it challenging to do my personal devotions every day, because I get easily distracted by other things that I need to do.  Here at the Barrio Obrero FM church, I have been given an incredible picture of what it means to have Christ at the center of your life. It does not mean to simply have a fifteen-minute devotional at the beginning of your day, but it means constantly cultivating the relationship throughout the day. This could be done through prayer, listening, reading your bible, worship, sharing, fellowship or serving.

At my home church, New Hope Methodist in Newmarket, we have events going on at our church pretty much every night, but they aren’t necessarily a time of worship. We have AA, Kumon, Worship practice, Bible Study. My desire when I return home is to become more involved with those ministries, because I want to be in the house of God weekly sharing with his people and those who don’t know him. We can be on fire for God like people at our host church are here .... but is that what we are really seeking? I don’t know where you stand, but I certainly don’t make God the center of every single day. While I am here, and once I return home I hope to take some time to seriously reflect on the time I am spending with God and for God versus the time I am spending on earthly distractions that are insignificant and simply don’t matter. 
I also find that it is much easier to live one day at a time if we are focusing on Christ. As there have been times in my life where I struggle with negative thinking and as a result have felt sad at times, I know that if I live continually in Christ's presence there is fullness of joy for me that others will also see in me. I want to bathe in his presence daily. 
Posted 3 weeks ago by Mission Puerto Rico