Back in the Saddle…
Hard to believe that the FSM Peoria trip came and went so quickly. First thing I know, I’m taking Stuart’s “Attributes of God” class in January, and the next thing I know, I’m trying to stay awake after driving 8 hours on a pitch-black interstate through Illinois and Missouri. It was an amazing trip that I will most likely never forget.
It all started for us bright and early at the crack of 1:00 PM on Thursday. After the five of us “goody-two-shoes” showed up on time and got coffee, the rest of the group streamed in until about 2:00… We had a brief moment of prayer and edification in the IHOP-KC parking lot (hey, it’s what we do), then we piled in our cars to head up to Peoria, Illinois. I was kicked into servant mode pretty quickly when I was announced as the leader for my carpool group (four cars total in my group)… meaning I was supposed to lead the way and get all of us to Northwoods Community Church in as many pieces as we departed in, and relatively close to “on time.” By the grace of God we succeeded… despite four “near misses” on the Highway (to the holders of my insurance policy, it was the fault of the people exeeding the speed limit who also seemed to have a penchant for my fenders). So we arrived at roughly 11:00 that night and went directly to a NightWatch briefing before hitting the prayer room at Midnight (the daytime crews left early Thursday morning and had already set up a Prayer Room at Northwoods by the time we got there). Thus began the weekend.
I spent most of the weekend helping out in the Prayer Room. I ran sound solo for 6 hours, and 2 hours as a collective with myself, Jonathan Barkley, and Kevin Samuel. Those two hours weren’t run by platoon on purpose… rather because all three of us were getting tanked in the sound booth by Holy Spirit and all three of us were needed to adjust the mix during the set. I also had a chance to play my djembe on stage during Christina Tien’s solo devo on Thursday night. Admittedly, that made my day. I’ve missed getting to play with a live band since my last team said hast la viesta (pardon the Spanish). I would tell people later, “You think you know how much fun I was having on stage, but you really have no idea how much fun I was having on stage…” Yes, I enjoyed myself that much. There is just something really satisfying about making music on one of the loudest instruments known to mankind, and actually sounding like it is supposed to be there.
Fortunately enough, we also had the opportunity to participate in personal ministry with some of the people in the congregation. Being holed up at the church, we used one of the very large children’s ministry rooms to hold seperate healing and “blessing” ministry rooms (let the reader understand… we were in a formerly “seeker sensitive” church, so we toned down our terminology a bit). So for two hours we were in teams of three, praying for various people in the congregation two at a time. Basically, in those two hours, we managed to “pray blessings over” some 40-60 people with the five teams we had.
There’s more to the trip, but that is the overall facts of the trip… the 8-hour drive back was reletively uneventful (excluding the theology discussions, almost stopping at a BP across the stree from an adult bookstore, and accidentally getting on the interstate going east when we wanted to go west…), yet all of this has taught me three distinct things that I will carry with me.
1) I am beginning to get the picture when Jesus is called the servant of all. After running hard in “servant mode” for 3 days and being so worn out that I crashed in bed at 6:30 and was asleep by 6:31… I have a greater appreciation for not only the humility of God, but His inexhaustible strength and goodness as well.
2) In our weakness, His strength truly is made perfect. Our adventures in setting up a 24-hour prayer room were far from picture-perfect, and yet God showed up so powerfully that we needed all three sound-techs just to run the last set. Whether it was isolating the (comically) wrong phrase in an oracle, breaking the E-string (the thickest one) on the bass in the middle of the set, or accidentally bumping a button that turns off the keyboard on stage, God still showed up in power. I know that from our little group at Northwoods there were at least 8 salvations, there were at least 100 that made it into the “blessing rooms”, and we prayed and interceded for revival in the city of Peoria for some 60 hours straight.
3) The church desperately needs the people within the Seeker Sensitive crowd. From staying with people that are a part of the Northwoods church and spending as much time in their building as we did, I can say with confidence that they are some of the friendliest, most hospitable, and most creative individuals I have ever met. Our host family spoiled us rotten… all three of us that stayed at their house had an actual bed to sleep in, they had breakfast stuff for us every day, and they prayed for us while we were there.
All of this is a lot of words to say that I am back in Kansas City, the FSM trip was an incredible blessing to both the student body and the city of Peoria, and I am eagerly anticipating next year’s trip.
(PS, Christina, if you stumble across this post, you really did make my day… thanks for letting me play with ya in Peoria!)