When most people think of significant moments, they start to search for that world-changing, pivotal moment in their life. These moments can be good and and help shape who we are. However, if we spend all of our time looking for that one big moment, we can forget to open our eyes in the midst of everyday life and take opportunities as they come. My opinion firmly stands that sometimes the little moments in life, the seemingly small things in God’s kingdom can have a bigger impact than we realize. One of the moments in my life that comes to mind happened on an oversees mission trip that stretched my faith and altered my worldview, yet it was something that could have just happened right down the street from me.
The summer after my junior year of high school, I took a very long awaited mission trip to the Philippines. Our team had been spending our time with a newly developing church and the community that surrounded, connecting with the adults and children that lived nearby. We had also been blessed to have a few bibles to give to people while we were there. Near the end of the week, we only had a couple of Bibles left, and the leader of the trip asked me if I had anyone in mind to give one to. I hadn’t thought much about it before, but instantly Elisa popped into my mind. She was a young high school girl that I had had a few conversations with and I remember being impressed by her genuineness. I remember asking her about how she digs into God’s word. She told me that they only had a family Bible to share, but that she tries to read and study it most nights.
Handing her that Bible is a moment that will forever be engraved into my memory. She seemed so genuinely thankful just to have her own copy. A smile instantly spread across her face and she went off to share it with the other kids. We are still in contact to this day. In fact, my parents even help to fund her education. She tells me that I inspire her, yet from my point of view, it is always the other way around. I constantly see pictures of her involved in the church that we spent time at, showing other kids her pink Bible and the joy that she has in the Lord.
Elisa has taught me to be grateful for the little things in life, sometimes those are bigger than we realize (“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving…” –1 Timothy 4:4). She has taught me that there is no way to justify taking my education or access to faith building materials for granted (“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching…” –2 Timothy 3:16). Lastly, and probably more importantly, that true joy is never circumstantial. Rather, it comes from true and genuine relationship with Jesus Christ and others (“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have…” –1 Peter 3:15).
As I begin to prepare to go back to the Philippines in a few months, I look back on all of the memories from the past three years and think about just how much my life has changed since those moments. I am thankful for how those moments have contributed to the change within me and given me a new perspective to approach life with. Mostly, I just look forward to seeing a friend face to face once more.