“I wish” was my reaction during a Wednesday night service when they first announced that Christ’s Church was organizing a mission trip to Poland. My reaction was one of vague interest, but pretty soon, I had thrown the idea out the window. Why had I dismissed the thought of attending? Simply because the timing of the trip was inconvenient. I was in for a busy semester of junior year and wasn’t sure if I could balance raising the funds, as well as the physical and spiritual preparation, with my scholarly responsibilities. For whatever reason, I attended the informational meeting anyway and afterward felt very conflicted. In the midst of my hesitancy about the commitment, I felt a soft conviction urging me to sign up. So I did.

A strong theme throughout my week in Poland started months before I even got there, and looking back, I would pinpoint the beginning of this theme at the moment I first decided to go. Romans 8:5 reads,

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

As a Christian, I am claiming to live in accordance with the Spirit, so if I ignored God’s calling to me simply because it was inconvenient, would I be living in a way consistent with my claim? Are my actions answering to my flesh, or to the Spirit? I encountered this question more than once during my week in Poland.

We arrived in Europe on Saturday, and on Monday morning, our group of thirty-five departed early for our first of many trips to a local Polish high school. Our motto of the week was to participate, not anticipate. It was also definitely the mindset I was attempting to adopt, having absolutely no idea what I was walking into. Climbing up the stairs into the building, I faced two options. I could either give into what my flesh was telling me to do, which was to enter the building with a spirit of fear and uncertainty. Or I could surrender those feelings and live by the Spirit, who was calling me to actively show the love of Jesus to those I was about to encounter. It was a conscious decision that I made. And although it was a bit uncomfortable, Jesus blessed our time in the school, and the next day, I knew I wasn’t alone in being genuinely excited to return.

Whether I was participating in prayer walks, caring for children or cleaning an apartment, the rest of the week was truly incredible, but it was also exhausting. Towards the end of the week, when I was sick and my social battery had been depleted, I was still faced with opportunities each day to die to myself and my desires. I was faced with a choice of how to act around my peers, a choice to participate with a joyful and gracious heart, and not let how I felt, dictate how I acted. Romans 8 continues to say “The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” By actively submitting my actions and my mind to God, I was granted peace that surpassed anything I could have experienced on my own. And because of that, I was able to participate in a way that far surpassed my own abilities.

Lydia Meredith

Lydia is one of our high school students heavily involved in our Student Ministry. This past March, Lydia and 34 other students and leaders visited and served alongside our Impact Partners, Mac & Olivia Johnson in Poland.

Lydia (left) is pictured here in Poland with friend, Emerson Boulware.

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