Portlandia// Final Day

Gracious Brothers and Sisters,

God makes his appeal to others through us, he uses the transforming power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit to reach others where they are. It is by no means by my own actions or anything I have done. Today at our final group time here on this Portlandia Mission Trip these questions were brought to our attention: ‘How have you seen God different or in a fresh way this summer? What lessons are you learning about his character?’ ‘What have you learned about yourself this summer? What character qualities or skills have I learned about myself? How have I changed?’ ‘How have you seen evidence of God in Portland and in Portland culture?’

These questions call attention to all aspects of this mission trip and reminds me that it was hard work. It is hard work to seek the Lord in the face of affliction, it is hard to be rejected. It is hard to have Jesus rejected in front of you. We had wonderful times in the various aspects of service that we partook in from Night Strike, The Union Gospel Mission, Various PSU campuses, and The Harbor. We saw the brokenness of this city, and for me living so close it just reshaped my heart for what my calling is. I really love people ya’ll I love the various forms we come in. I despise sin though, and I hate the way the world revolves around what is pleasurable and not what is good. I will answer these questions as I go through my next few weeks of readjusting to life back at home.

I just wanted to tell you all that I have been so thankful for your support and your prayers because I can feel them daily. They are overwhelming me with peace and I have never felt so loved. I just wanted to tell you a story that changed a girls life and completely wrecked me and my friend Emily. It was because of you that this could happen, but ultimately because of God and his faithfulness to rescue us from sin.

It was last week, and I was tired the sun had gotten to me and I craved rest. I wanted so badly to give up on having conversations with people because we were either rejected or people just did not care. So Emily, Tina, and I wandered back into the hallways of PSU Sylvania where we passed this girl sitting alone on a chair eating her lunch. For some reason I felt called to speak with her.

Emily and I approached her with soularium (a tool used to tell your spiritual story) and asked her if she wanted to partake in this. The girl replied, “well yes but I have somewhere to be at one.” That gave us about fifteen or so minutes to complete this with her.

We began talking to her about her spiritual background, her beliefs, whether or not she believed in a God. She told us her parents were atheists and did not leave room for religion because of their upbringings. She went from being harden in her heart to opening up with us gradually.  We asked if we could go through another tool with her called the Knowing God Personally Booklet. This is a tangible way for people to here the main points of the bible. It also provides a way to enter relationship with Jesus.

If you are familiar with this booklet you have pictures of two types of lives, the circle on the right or the circle on the left. Is Jesus on the throne of your life or is he not? That is the question we got to. The girl after hearing the story of the gospel and how transforming it is. Said she did not have Jesus on the throne of her life, but she WANTED too! She asked us if there was a way to be in relationship with him, and of course with giddy excitement and the presence of the Holy Spirit using our weary hearts told her there was. We told her how it was through faith we have been saved, and there is a prayer we can say to enter into relationship with  God. So right there in the midst of the empty school hall we prayed with her to accept Christ as her Savior and Lord.

That was the most touching part of my life, I am so happy to serve such an awesome God. Someone who uses me in my shear exhaustion and weakness. He used me with my downcast attitude and he used me in the midst of my sinful nature to bring this girl to him. I am so amazed and in awe of how he works. So thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be used by God in this great city. I will be answering these questions as I readjust back to life.

Enjoy the snapshots of life on mission.

I love you all,

M. Elyse

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