The season leading up to summer is always filled with restless anticipation and bubbling excitement. Some are looking forward to beach bum days spent soaking in the Florida sun. Others find themselves craving the simple free time to read a good book at the best coffee shop in town (Bearded Lady Roasters, of course). For me and many other students, the best part of summer is the hot days spent with good company, learning the deepest meaning of living a Kingdom servant life. From church camps to mission trips, there’s a plethora of opportunities to meditate and grow in the Lord alongside tens to hundreds of other youth.
One of the last trips of the summer is a mission trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the week that incoming freshmen to graduated seniors spend in the dry desert terrain, students work alongside local churches and organizations to help serve the beautiful city of Albuquerque. Some activities include refurnishing, reorganizing, and redecorating schools located in poverty-stricken quarters. Others involve going to laundromats around the city to help those with little money afford the simple dignity of feeling clean. And while this seems like a picturesque opportunity for students to hear stories drastically different than their own, to learn the importance of selflessness, and to observe the movement of God in the city, sometimes that’s not the only takeaway. Some leave the week with full hearts, feeling they’ve found a purpose in the Kingdom: to serve. Some leave the week with a better understanding of the Lord’s omnipresence. But others leave with a very simple lesson that could’ve been learned practically anywhere, not just on a mission trip. This is exactly what I left with.
On the last day of working, I was a part of the team that went to serve at Ciudad de Gracia, one of our Impact partners. Upon our 9:00 am-ish arrival, the outside temperature was already in the high 90’s. This of course wouldn’t have mattered inside of the building; however, a friend and I were charged with the task of cleaning all of the outside windows. One very important thing to note is that Ciudad’s entire front wall is made of glass. With that being said, we eagerly began the tedious process of soaking a sponge in the cleaning solution, scrubbing the glass, squeegeeing the excess liquid off, and finally doing one last wipe down with a microfiber towel. At first, this task was excitingly satisfying. However, that all wore off after the first of (around) 15 decently sized glass panels on the bottom half of the wall. The top half has two rows of 2ft by 2ft square windows with raised metal frames around each panel, separating them from one another. The only way to reach that area is by climbing a ten-foot ladder, cleaning 4 panels at a time, stepping down from the ladder, moving it a few feet over, and repeating the whole process. To say the whole job was painstakingly slow is an understatement. We worked in the blistering heat for a total of about 4 hours. Scrub, squeegee, wipe, repeat. Over and over again.
As each hour ticked by minute by excruciating minute, I became more and more tired and less and less enthusiastic. Sweat dripped down my neck, cleaning solution was splashed all over my shirt, and my wording became ungrateful and annoyingly whiny. All I wanted was the stupid job to be over with and to be relaxing in the glorious, blissful air conditioning. But as I was in the midst of this awful attitude, I noticed the Lord hastily waving His hands, trying to get my attention. I was so zoned in on my own negativity that I completely missed His voice, calling me to seek HIM. In reality, the line between enthusiasm and pragmaticism often becomes blurred. We unknowingly switch between both sides when we take our eyes from the Lord. Cleaning those windows was an act of worship, just as much as singing during church service is an act of worship. However, once I stopped meditating on the Lord, I immediately became moody, selfish, and ungrateful. This whole situation happens way more than we realize. We stop seeing the mundane, boring, un-enjoyable tasks as ways to worship and tune in to what we naturally, as humans, think. But God is calling us to seek Him. For seek and you will find.
As we finalized our task, my fixed mindset slowly blossomed into appreciation. Appreciation for the beautiful, though hot, weather, and appreciation for the ability to help in a way as simple as cleaning windows. It was that lesson to find contentment to worship in the mundane that left Albuquerque with me, and will forever live in my heart.
Ciudad de Gracia
Ciudad de Gracia is a Spanish-speaking church plant in Albuquerque, NM. Abiel and Emily Diaz lead this church which launched in the fall of 2016. Located in the international district, this church seeks to reach both first generation and long-term Spanish-speaking residents of Albuquerque.
Post was written by Novely Lamont, a senior in our Student Ministry. Novely is pictured here (second from the right) with others on this summer’s Albuquerque Mission Trip.