(Found a draft of this post misplaced from summer and decided to use it now–K)
The port-a-john I used today was nothing like the one at our work site for World Changers last week. The small space looked and smelled like its owners would have to chuck the whole thing shortly. But it did have one thing my work crew’s private pot did not, a mirror.
Never heard of World Changers? For 5 weeks of each summer World Changers (i.e. WC) gets students from all over the United States to pay for the opportunity to rise at the crack of dawn, work through grueling conditions for a week, sleep on hard floors, use communal showers (sometimes of the portable type), and eat meals prepared for 2-3 hundred participants without their input on what they like to ingest. Did I mention the students pay for this experience?
And it’s not like they have time off in the evening–it’s church services every night, group devotion time, showers, and lights out by 2300 only to wake at 0500 and do it again.
Yet these students amazed me with their terrific attitudes (teens everyone), can-do and jump-to work spirits, and so much sweat and laughter that by the end of the week my arms were almost as sore as my cheeks. It was the kind of aching face I’ve only had after life altering events like marrying my man and meeting our children for the 1st time.
Was World Changers life altering?
For many it was: the woman living on the side of a South Carolina mountain who might be confined there were it not for the deck and ramp our crew built, the students who dug postholes, leveled ballisters, and sent nails and bolts and saw blades home true gained skills, confidence and new snapchat & instagram friends. None more so than they who not only labored in the name of Jesus Christ, as we all did, but also gave their lives to God, received new hearts and clean slates forever.
Change the world? Yes, and every hope for what lies beyond it.
We went to the mountain top literal and proverbial. We saw a vision of the future with no more pain, no more tears, no more death. I cannot spend too much time looking back at the WC experience when the prize lies ahead. I won’t try to make a metaphor of the private port-a-potty provided for us. Spotless plastic within and without, blue liquid depths smelling better than the redolent mimosa tree’s blossoms. I’ll just say it was…
…an unusual week from the temperatures, my hot pink hair experiment, the 2nd most powerful experience of the Holy Spirit in my adult life and, lest we forget, the cleanest port-a-john ever.
Still, the modern outhouse I used today had something the nice one from last week did not…a mirror which, from my perch, dimly reflected the large hairy spider busily spinning a Mirkwood-worthy web above me. It reminded me that sometimes God takes us to the top of the world and other times he uses every day urgency to remind me that that which seeks to ensnare me is a blip on my radar compared to my Almighty God who never leaves nor forsakes regardless of where I find myself. He is ready to embrace if I glance His way.
Kristin King is an author, publisher and President of Future Hope Africa, an education focused mission near the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.