Just Go Kill It

Just go kill it.


These words from Matt’s sermon have not stopped ringing in my ears, “If there is a dream that is separating you from God, just go kill it.”

Time and time again, the Lord asks us, his children, to cast away our idols and turn to him. One of the many times he asks this is in Genesis 35. God asks Jacob to go Bethel, a place of remembrance and praise, and make an altar to him.

“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments’” (Genesis 35:2). Jacob remembers the God who had answered him in times of trouble, goes back to that place of remembrance, and buries the idols under a tree.

If you trust him, just go kill it.

To say this is easier said than done is more than an understatement. My struggle with idols looks a lot like a game of cat and mouse. Sometimes I’m the cat—stalking my idols, becoming consumed with the thought of attaining them, thinking that once I hold them in my clutches, I can rest easy. Other times I’m the mouse—running as fast as I can but knowing my idols are still looming around the corner, easily accessible and ready to capture me if I were to turn a few steps back. But, at the end of the day, attaining comfort or control won’t give me true rest, only the Lord will. And he has. He has met me in my brokenness too many times to count and carried me.

Just like Jacob’s remembrance at Bethel, the Lord calls us to remember the places of his faithfulness—to remember his might in the midst of our weakness. And from this remembrance, we are called to trust. To trust that God’s goodness is better than our comfort and that God’s sovereignty is better than our control.

To fully trust in him, we must let go of every idol we have been trusting in—our finances, our relationships, our health. We must open our hands wide so that we have no means of clinging to these idols anymore. And then, in a final declaration of our allegiance, we must kill them.

If you trust him, just go kill it.

My tendency is to let my idols fall at my feet, only to pick them back up and put them in my pocket. There, they are easily accessible and can be within my grasp in mere moments. This is not what God asks of us. He asks for all of us. He asks us to lay down our idols and kick them aside for true life found only in Him.



This summer, I was able to take participate in a mission trip to Kenya.

From the moment I signed up for the trip, the Lord began to work in ways I could never have imagined. After sitting back and reflecting on my time in Kenya, I see one shining theme: the Lord will always provide.

While in Kenya, I experienced multiple examples of the Lord’s provision—the first of which started out as a simple day of vacation bible school. The high school students on our trip had completed months of planning for a day of leading VBS for 200 kids. When we arrived in Kenya, some of the local church partners began to mention that more kids than expected may attend the VBS. One person even said up to 400 children might attend. Being the avid planner I am, I began to stress over the possibility of more students showing up than we originally planned for.

On the day of VBS, we arrived at the church, set up, and waited for the children to arrive. Over the next two hours, we watched as people poured in riding busses, walking, or through hired rides (similar to a taxi). By the time things began to start, there were 500 children in attendance! While we planned for the children to be organized in “small groups” by age, each small group ended up having nearly 150 students. Between thinking through how we could accomplish games and crafts with this number of kids, and taking the language barrier into consideration, it is needless to say the control freak in me began to stress out.

Spoiler alert: I did not need to freak out. While I may have momentarily thought I needed to take control of this situation, God was working all the while. We were able to get through four rotations of the craft station, all of the kids did outdoor games, and we somehow had enough supplies for everyone to make salvation bracelets. My favorite part of the day was standing outside of the church, watching 600 children and adults alike, eat to their fill. It was truly life-changing to be a part of.

The next area of God’s provision is something I’m still baffled by. To give a little background, at the onset of the summer, I was considering myself “supergirl.” Be in a friend’s wedding? Check. Go on a mission trip right after the wedding? Check. Go to Kenya two weeks after previously mentioned mission trip? Check. If anyone could do it, I could, right?

In case you haven’t already guessed where I’m heading, the answer is I could not do it. Midway through all of the events of the summer, I began to regret my “supergirl” mindset in planning my summer. To top it off, an incident quickly followed which involved me falling off a curb while running. One stress fracture and a walking boot later, I was growing more and more uncertain as my trip to Kenya crept closer.

What happened while I was there is something I can only attribute to God and his nurturing nature. The moment we arrived in Kenya, everything changed. It was as if I was an iPhone, straight off the charger and back to 100%. The Lord gave me a sense of energy I didn’t even know to ask for. The truth of the fact is, God’s provision is not dependent on any work on our part. It is ingrained in His nature to be a provider, whether we acknowledge that we need His provision or not.

The last area in which God demonstrated his provision came through the sweet realization that God has equipped us with certain gifts to use to glorify Him. At our first meeting for Kenya, I learned that I would be responsible for teaching part of a women’s’ study. I was baffled. Why wasn’t one of the older, wiser women in my position, I questioned. I felt neither credible nor qualified, but still, I studied and prepared.

During the women’s’ study breakout session, I was intentional about presenting information in a way that was clear and relatable. Though we had a translator, many of the women we were teaching spoke English. I was shocked as they nodded along with what I was saying. Were they understanding me? Was I doing this right, I thought?

Afterwards a few people on our team told me I had a gift for teaching. In May 2017 I graduated with an Education degree. While I spent four years shadowing teachers in classrooms and creating lesson plans, I ultimately decided I would not pursue a teaching career. I often feel less than because I’m not actually doing what I went to college for. However, in this moment, God reminded me he had equipped me with the gift and love of teaching, and he had a plan for how that gift would bear fruit. While it may not be in a class full of first graders, I was able to use the way the Lord has gifted me in order to partner with sisters in Christ halfway across the world.

As I think about these experiences I have listed, I am overwhelmed by the way God provides. Whether it was enough materials for a massive amount of kids at a vacation bible school, unexplainable energy, or an avenue to use a skill I thought had been wasted, God provided. We serve a mighty God, who will always provide. I didn’t have to go to Kenya to learn that, but my time in Kenya sure did help me remember it.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)


Y’all, I love my house. I love falling asleep to the scent of lavender and eucalyptus in my diffuser and the sound of a storm from the noise machine app on my phone. I love getting out of bed in the morning and doing yoga on my blue yoga mat that I bought from Target. I love listening to worship music as I prepare myself for the day, fix my coffee and make my lunch. I love sitting in my little den spending time in communion with the Lord and letting all else fall away. I love coming home on a random Monday night and watching tv with my roommates.  Ok, I guess this goes deeper than me loving my house. I love my house and even more-so, I love the habits I’ve created there.

I began to think about all of this a few weeks ago when I house sat for some close friends. It didn’t happen all at once, but after my 10 days in their home, I realized how anxious I felt not being in the comfort of my own home. The thirty minute drive that separated their house from mine felt like a world away. I felt like I was in foreign territory, with no roadmap. No falling asleep to my sweet essential oils. No Monday night couch sessions with my roommates. It felt terribly wrong.

As I type all of this, the irony is not at all lost on me. You see, the last day I spent at their house was not an ordinary day. It was a day in which I went to an important meeting. A meeting entered into my iPhone calendar simply as “Kenya Meeting”.

If you don’t already know, in just 4 months I will be on a plane headed 7,900 miles from home to Kenya. I will spend 9 days there serving and working alongside a local church. And if my house sitting experience affirmed anything at all, it is that I am a true creature of habit. I thrive when I know my surroundings in and out, when I feel like I have total control and when I feel like I can anticipate what is coming next.

I don’t think that is what God has for me in Kenya. And honestly, that terrifies me. I don’t know what I’m stepping into, I don’t know how I will be received, I don’t know if I will meet my fundraising goal. I think this is right where God wants me to be. In a place of total uncertainty, that leads me to fully depend in and trust Him.

As always, I am in need of your prayers; specifically that I will lean into the unknown and shake off the fear I have, trusting that God knows what he wants for me in Kenya and that he has a purpose for me as I prepare for this trip.

Of course, if you are willing and able to support me financially I would greatly appreciate that as well. My personal goal is to have all funds raised by July 1, both through support raising and personal saving. If you are able and willing to support me, a check may be made out to Grace Church and sent to 2801 Pelham Rd, Greenville, SC 29615. Please be sure to include my name in the memo line. You may also give online using the following link: https://gracechurchsc.securegive.com/SG/WebOnline/Home/Index?WO=gracechurchsc#. Once on the site, you may click the option to give without an account. Next, you will choose “Missions” from the drop-down box. Finally, you will enter the monetary amount in the box denoting Mission: OVC Kenya, and enter my name in the box titled “‘Giving Memo”.

There may be a lot of things I don’t know as I prepare to go to Kenya, but there are a few that I do know:

  1. I probably won’t be taking my diffuser
  2. Or my yoga mat
  3. God is with me every step of the way


When God Shows Up In Your Living Room

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about her struggles with body image and views on food and exercise. She felt the need to confess something to me, and I was there. A shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a non-judgemental space for confession. That is all I had anticipated being at least. She confessed to me that when her life had gotten really crazy and she wasn’t able to exercise every day she had begun to skip meals. I thanked her for her honesty of confession and talked through it with her for a little bit.

What happened next though, was not something I could have ever planned for. I guess in order for you to understand the greatness of God’s work in this moment, I have to share with you some of my story. When I was thirteen, I began to heavily restrict what I ate. When I did eat, I made myself purge to get rid of the food. I spent the next seven years living with strict guidelines on what I could and couldn’t eat, when I could eat, how much I could eat, when I had to exercise, ect. My life revolved around the set of rules I had created for myself. If I followed the rules, my life was great. If I didn’t, complete and utter chaos ensued. I was in complete control of everything.

I know now, it wasn’t a life at all. And I was not in control. Rather, I was living in complete slavery to sin. The enemy had tricked me into thinking that by creating this extremely rigid lifestyle, I was gaining power and control, when really I was completely weak and broken. I thought I could rest in myself to control the way I felt, and further, to manage everything else around me. What I actually needed was to rest in my Lord, Jesus Christ. Submitting myself to Him with the full knowledge that I could not be my own savior.

If you know me well, you know that this came in the form of my carefully curated life being completely upended. As a sophomore in college, I reached the worst point in my battle with my eating disorder. I finally told my parents what I had been struggling with for the past seven years. I don’t know what outcome I expected, but I definitely didn’t expect what happen next. Mere weeks into my fall semester, I withdrew from Furman University and traded my classes, and sorority involvement for a 9 hour daily program at a center for Eating Disorders in Greenville. The program I was in was called PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) and it was anything but what I wanted. I spent the next three months there, breaking all the rules I  had made for myself and lived by for the past seven years.

I won’t go into all the details of the program (like our daily nurse visits to have our vital signs checked, or weekly lab-work, or the number of awkward meals to last a lifetime). But by the end of the program, I knew it was what I needed. Up until very recently I still saw the same counselor that I saw while I was in the program, and can say that I have been in recovery for nearly a year.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been struggling a lot with eating and body image. But, it is very different than my past struggles. The heart of it is still about control. That I know. I shared my story with my community group leader and how I’d been struggling recently. She suggested I go back to my old counselor. Maybe you guessed it, but this was the last thing I wanted to hear. I was done with this struggle. This was over. Door closed.

Because I love and respect my community group leader (and because I know she was right) I saw my old counselor. I told her what things I had been struggling with, but added that they were different. She didn’t think they were really that different at all but were the enemy disguising himself as something different for nothing other than my destruction. I knew she was right but left not wanting to change anything. And I didn’t. I still kept doing the same things and then like magic, God places me here, in my living room, having this very conversion.

I spoke to my friend a little bit about my past struggles and how her behaviors alarmed me a little. She politely told me she didn’t agree. Another friend was with us and agreed with me that she was worried too. The first friend began to defend herself and list reasons why her behaviors were normal. At some point during her speech, I found myself in tears. In everything, she said I heard some of my old self. I closed my eyes for a second, remembering what it was like to feel that control. How good it made me feel. In a moment of letting my guard down, Satan crept in and tried to pull me back into his clutches.

But oh, here comes the good part. The part where God shows up and saves me like he makes a habit of doing. All of a sudden, words began to flow from my mouth. “You don’t have to live this way. This is not what you were created for,” I said. “This will never satisfy you. It will never be enough. The creator of the Universe reaches down and says I want you! Our identity is in HIm, not what we eat, not how many calories we burn, not how much we weigh. Those things will never satisfy you. Believe me, I’ve tried.”

I said all of this between sobs, and am convinced of two things:

  1. This was God, our sovereign Creator speaking in this moment.
  2. Though I was speaking these words to her, they were mostly for me,


God’s presence filled the space that night an reminded me of this bold truth, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I find my whole life in Him. When I was beginning to lose sight of this, he kindly but fiercely led me back to this truth.


I have seen God work faithfully in my life over the past several years. As a freshman at Furman University, I began attending Grace Church. There I saw what it really meant to serve, to live in community with others and to surrender wholly to God’s leading in my life.

I interned at Grace in the summer of 2016 and worked with our department that is responsible for missions and outreach. During that summer, I helped coordinate a mission trip to Allendale, SC. It was an incredible experience. It wasn’t incredible because everything went my way, but because God showed me so much of Himself. It was a hard summer, and I failed a lot. But in the stumbling, tripping, and falling flat on my face, God was with me all the while.

The mission trip to Allendale was the first mission trip I had ever been on. God began to stir something in my heart while I was there. I began to crave the opportunity of sharing the Gospel through serving others and humbly meeting them where they were. This desire began to grow. I began to feel energized with the thought that God could use me to spread His glory to people around me, whether that was across the street, across the state or across the country. Since then I have been able to go to Allendale several more times, and am reminded of God’s glory each time I am there.

For one week this July, I have the opportunity to go to Kenya with Grace Church. I have experienced freedom in Christ, through his glorious grace. As believers, we are called not to use our freedom for selfish purposes but to serve others. (Galatians 5:13) I am confident that as much as I will have the opportunity to serve others, God will also use this trip as a growing opportunity for me.

I believe that this summer in Kenya is my opportunity to deny selfish desires, to serve the Kingdom, and to learn from my Kenyan brothers and sisters in Christ. I have an amazing opportunity in front of me, but I cannot do it alone. I will need to raise $3,000 for my trip. I am boldly asking for support from my friends and family to reach this goal. I am also placing my trust fully in God, who is faithful to provide.

My personal goal is to have all funds raised by July 1, both through support raising and personal saving. If you are able and willing to support me, a check may be made out to Grace Church and sent to 2801 Pelham Rd, Greenville, SC 29615. Please be sure to include my name in the memo line. You may also give online using the following link: https://gracechurchsc.securegive.com/SG/WebOnline/Home/Index?WO=gracechurchsc#. Once on the site, you may click the option to give without an account. Next, you will choose “Missions” from the drop-down box. Finally, you will enter the monetary amount in the box denoting Mission: OVC Kenya, and enter my name in the box titled “‘Giving Memo”.

I am a creature of habit; one who seeks comfort, control and security in every aspect of life. I would ask specifically that you pray that I look to the Lord for comfort as I prepare for Kenya and while I am there. Pray that instead of longing to have the trip ruled by my routines, I would surrender all control. And pray that through it all, I will find security in Christ and the battle He has already won. As my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ask that you join with me as God prepares the way for me to go to Kenya. Whether that is in prayer, financially or some other way, I would be so grateful for your support.

When I Don’t Feel Like Singing 

I take my daily drive into work very seriously. I have a playlist of worship music that I listen to every morning. I make a big deal of queuing the most appropriate songs based on how my heart is feeling. The next 30 minutes are a non-stop praise fest.

There is very loud (and off-key) singing, raising of hands and sometimes crying. One morning I listened to “Out of Hiding” by Stephanie Gretzinger on repeat for the entire drive. I showed up to work a mess of tears, completely overwhelmed by how good God is to me. Consumed by the fact that He relentlessly draws near to me.

Lately though I haven’t felt like singing. Whether it’s grogginess from not getting enough sleep or annoyance because I couldn’t find the right outfit to wear, my daily commute has become silent. My usual morning routine has been hijacked.

It started out as a slow change. At first I would play my music and even sing the words, but my heart wasn’t in it. My mind was fixated on something dumb I had said two days before and wondering what people thought of it, or thinking of all things I had to do when I got to work. I would try to push the thoughts away and hold fast to the words I was hearing in the songs.

Eventually I succumbed to the thoughts in my mind. The music still played, but my thoughts were so loud I didn’t hear a word.

One day, I turned the music off altogether. If my brain couldn’t chill for thirty minutes, then I wouldn’t even bother. The thoughts in my head would counteract the painful silence of a car with no music. It seemed like I was fighting a losing battle so I threw in the towel. I was bitter and it definitely showed.

In a stunning act of kindness, God unraveled the tangled mess of my thoughts in my head and plucked something incredible from amidst the war zone.

“Sometimes when my heart isn’t in it, I feel like that’s when I really need to raise my hands in worship.”

God is funny isn’t He? A pastor I’ve known for years and really respect has said this on multiple occasions, and in the moment where my thoughts had overtaken me, had stolen my joy, God lifted this piece of truth from the recesses of my memory.

Sometimes it’s when my heart isn’t in it that I must be led by action. Sometimes it’s when I feel like I can’t draw near to God, that I need Him the most. And sometimes, it’s when I don’t feel like singing when I must shout the loudest.





Depression, I’ve learned is not something I can run from.

Whether I like it or not, I will live with it for the rest of my life. There will be times when it seems to lie dormant and other times when it seems to consume the very life inside me. I certainly did not choose depression; did not choose moments that seem so bleak. But,  it is at these, my darkest moments that I am given a choice. This choice carries great weight and has great impact on all that follows. In these moments, I can choose the path I will take.

My choice will always stem from what I know to be true about this illness: I alone cannot defeat depression.

As a result of my inadequacy, and the knowledge that I am hopeless to defeat depression, I default to Choice One. I realize that its nasty claws are in and I am powerless to take them out. Give up. Call it quits.  Shut down. Skip the event. Lock the door. Ignore the call. Snooze the alarm. Close my eyes. Pull the covers higher.

As I dive further and further into this choice, it leads me down a path deeper and darker than I ever imagined I’d be on. I found myself on this path nearly one year ago, unable to recognize any of my surroundings. Even if I wanted to turn back, I wasn’t sure I could.

But over the past couple of months I’ve become aware of an alternate choice. Like missing keys hiding in plain sight Choice Two was revealed to me. Like a light being turned on in a dark, dark room I finally began to see.

My weakness isn’t a call to surrender to depression, but rather a call to surrender to God. To remember that aside from Him, I have nothing and that He alone is my strength. Instead of championing my depression, I champion Christ as the victor that He is.

The same facts still apply. I still have depression. It still punches me in the gut sometimes and knocks me to my knees. But, on my knees I begin to acknowledge that Christ is all-powerful. My weakness is illuminated, but not in a way that defeats me. It is illuminating in a way that pushes me to complete dependency on the Lord.

The following verse comes to mind: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I see that in my weakness, God is strong. In my inadequacy, He is adequate. In my defenseless, He is the Great Defender.

I sink comfortably into Choice Two. The choice to acknowledge that Christ has the final word. That He has already overcome. I glory in his defeat of darkness and stand firmly in the light with Him.


I Wrote A Poem

If you know me well, you know that I struggle with depression. It is a constant in my life, and probably will be as long as I live. Some days can be really dark but I believe there is always a light shining in the darkness. If you happen to read this and are battling your own demons, I hope this poem instills you with the hope that you too can rise.

I had to do an assignment for a class in which we worked on a piece of writing throughout the semester. On the last day of the semester, we had a publishing party and shared our pieces with the class. I write often so I didn’t think the assignment would be difficult, but I began to struggle with what I wanted my piece to be.

One day while sitting in Methodical Coffee, I came across Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, an old favorite. I was reminded that despite the struggles I was facing, I would rise, and in fact, I had already risen. I decided to capture that in a poem.

If you happen to read this and are battling your own demons, I hope this poem instills you with the hope that you too can rise.


A Poem Inspired by Maya Angelou 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise. 


Depression, you seem

Oh so wise

But like mighty oak tress

Still I rise


You ensnare me

You darken my skies

But like the sun

Still I rise


You weary my heart

You ignore my cries

But like the phoenix

Still I rise


You make the world blurry

Before my eyes

But like warm baking bread

Still I rise


Truth is not within you

You are full of lies

But I know the truth

So still I rise


He constantly pursues me

So ardently he tries

But I’ve found a greater glory

So still I rise


No more will I fall

For your thin disguise

Like Jesus my Lord

Still I rise



P.S. Here’s to you, Dr. Stover.


Holy Spirit Power? 


“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

On May 9 I boarded my first plane and traveled roughly 6,000 miles to Israel. I came back from my trip with a wicked Chaco tan, a brain full of unanswered questions, and crippling anxiety over how I would describe my trip once I got back. I did indeed come back with new eyes, and new views and new perspectives; but I had no idea how to express them in a coherent way. Since returning, I have balked at the thought of putting all I saw and experienced there into words. During my entire three-week sojourn I mulled over what I would say to people when they asked me about the trip. Every time the scenario played in my head, I couldn’t find the words to say. I fell short.

When I finally did come back and people asked me how my trip was all I could say was “incredible” or “amazing.”


One liners.

Come on Jordan, you literally spent three weeks where Jesus walked and preached and lived, and all you can say is amazing?!

I was so  frustrated and utterly disappointed. Instead of coming up with poignant words to describe this life changing trip, I stuttered. Instead of sharing my experiences with others, I hid it away out of fear of not doing it justice. I kept quiet because I didn’t want to say the wrong words.

It wasn’t until a few days ago that all the fear and insecurity was washed away by the Lord himself. Scott, a leader in my church that knew I had been to Israel casually asked me, “What was your favorite part of the trip?”

My heart began to race thinking of all the possible things I could say. As I was about to resort to my default answer, it was as if God showed him the anxiety and trouble within my heart and he rephrased the question.

“Actually, what was your favorite part about being near the Sea of Galilee specifically?”

My heart began to flutter less and less. The gears in my brain began to slow down. The Holy Spirit within me assured that I could answer this.

“The site of Peter’s Restoration” said a voice that wasn’t my own.

“Really?” he replied, “mine too.”

“Can you tell me more?”

Stress within me began to build again and this is where the Lord totally took over. I recalled the story illustrated in John 21. As the disciples are gathered by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus appears to them. I imagine Peter’s emotions as he sees Jesus, who just days before had been hung on a cross to die. As Jesus walks toward them, is Peter shamefully remember his denial of Jesus? Is he thinking, how could I ever show my face around Jesus again? Does he wish he could disappear? Does he expect the Lord to bestow his wrath on him in the painful way Peter deserves? I know those are the things I would be thinking.

But, this is not at all what Jesus does. Instead, he lovingly comes to Peter and out of grace and mercy restores him. And not only does he restore him, but he gives him a mission.

Feed my sheep.

Even when I struggle to remember this daily, this is the message of the Gospel. Though I am sinful and deny Christ every chance I get, He is holy. In his holiness, he loves and restores me time after time, and grants me with the honor of bringing people into his kingdom.

Being by the Sea of Galilee, in this location, where the Lord so graciously restored Peter, brought a truth I had been forgetting to the forefront of my mind: The Lord restores me when I sin against Him, and then equips me to share his glory with others.

A month ago when I thought about communicating what I experienced in Israel I froze, but somehow in this moment I was able to effortlessly express the impact this site had on me.

In that moment, it was so clear that the the Holy Spirit worked in me and gave me power. I realized it less about using beautiful words or sounding educated. It didn’t matter if I recounted every single detail right or forgot exactly what city I was in on what day of the trip. What mattered was what God taught me while I was there, and how I apply that to my life now, and shared that with others. It what was when I let go of the fear of saying the wrong thing, forgot about all the minuscule details and trusted the Lord that I finally found the words to speak.


Reflections From My First Mission Trip

I came into my CE internship at Grace Church  this summer with a lot of “firsts”. Just one month before we departed for Allendale, I had boarded my first plane for a three week trip to Israel. Two days after I returned, I was hard at work at Grace planning a mission trip to Allendale, South Carolina, a place I had only vaguely heard of and most definitely couldn’t locate on a map. Other than the fact that I was now planning a mission trip there, my only prior knowledge of Allendale came from the documentary Corridor of Shame. The documentary depicts the inequalities and neglect facing schools in the counties along I-95; Allendale is one of these counties. I had previously viewed the documentary in both a Poverty Studies and an Education class at Furman University. So, the two viewings of the hour-long documentary were my only thoughts about Allendale.

That being said, two things during planning began to emerge. First, I acknowledged the fact that I myself had never been on a mission trip. I had to take a step back for a second. The trip that I was planning, and would be majorly responsible for, was based on something I had never actually seen or done. That was a lot for me to handle, and at first made me put a lot of pressure on myself. I was constantly stressed over whether or not things would work out, and felt like every logistical detail had to be perfectly planned out.




Second, I started thinking about the vast majority of places I could be going instead of Allendale, South Carolina, a mere three hour drive from where I call home. Why not Nicaragua or Eleuthera? Why couldn’t I be planning and going on one of those other trips that Grace takes? Especially for my first mission trip, either of those places would be a much cooler destination.

As the planning process continued I felt myself begin to get more bogged down by these two concerns. It wasn’t until I spent a day in Allendale tying up loose ends before the trip that I truly began to get it. As we drove into the city I felt an immediate shift. I looked out the window to see abandoned buildings to my left and right. I felt my heart being changed as God whispered to me, “See, this is what it’s about. It’s not about you.” As I sat across from a city leader and heard the passion with which he spoke about the city, God spoke to me again. He assured me that it didn’t matter that I had never organized or even participated in a mission trip. He assured me it didn’t matter that I didn’t want to be in Allendale.

As I left that day, prepared go back in just four short days, my heart had been completely changed. At the beginning of my internship, I was tasked with reading the Leader’s Guide of Helping Without Hurting in Short Term Missions, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. The book introduces a new approach to short term missions and changed a lot of the way I thought about our trip. In the beginning as I planned, I easily became stressed over small details like where we would work and how the daily schedule would flow. To me, those would be the markers of success at the end of the trip.



But as we got there, I continued to read Helping Without Hurting and experienced the people of Allendale, and I realized that success is quantified in more than a rigid schedule or a meal that goes off without a hitch. Success can be a night where a 15 year old boy, who is failing school, comes from summer school during the day to sing worship songs with our high-schoolers at night. Success can be sharing a popsicle with the farmers that sell their cucumbers and watermelon at the farmers’ market every day.

However, it wasn’t until I got back to Greenville and to the end of the book that I came across this quote that beautifully captures the essence of this all, “Rather than focusing on the trip itself as the primary element of success, we need to deliberately situate short-term visits as one piece of a larger undertaking. When properly designed, short-term trips are an opportunity to learn from, encourage, and fellowship with believers in the context of long-term engagement with God’s work, focusing on understanding His body and our role in it more fully.”

You may be like me at the beginning of my trip, someone who doesn’t know much about Allendale and certain you can’t have an impact. You may have prior judgements and think of Allendale as insignificant since it is so close to home. You may doubt that God could use you in a place like Allendale. You may even reject God’s call for the hope of a more romantic destination. I would dare to say all of these patterns of thinking are wrong. God knows where he wants us and he equips us to be there and do His work, no matter where it is.

After being there for just four days, I can tell you so many things. I know that Big G’s restaurant is owned by a husband and wife, and they get a lot of business from college students during the school year. I know that a woman in labor has to drive an hour away to have her baby because the Allendale Hospital isn’t equipped to deliver babies. I know that there is a 102 year old former schoolteacher in the nursing home there, where she taught another one of the residents to read. I know that just about every handicap ramp in the city was built by a man named Frank. I know Frank and his wife Lottie love the Lord and love their community.

I came out of this trip completely different than I went into it. I realized it was not at all about me, but completely about what the Lord wanted to do. I firmly believe the Lord has things to do in Allendale. If you are interested at all in what my church is doing, let us know here.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,  equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 12:20-21