Wednesday, March 9, 2011
First of all Happy Ash Wednesday and Happy Lent!!!
Leading up to spring break this year I had a great few weeks on campus. Its been great getting to spend more time with the guys on the Seton Hall baseball team. It started in the middle of February when the guys on the baseball team told me that we had to move our weekly meeting time for Bible study because they had to attend their inaugural 1st Pitch Dinner, kicking off their season. The day after they told me about this I received a phone call from their coach inviting me to the dinner. He asked me to attend and say a prayer before the meal. The dinner was great, there were several alumni, all the current players were there and a number of their parents also made it. It was a fun night and a great way to start the season. Since then the guys have been on the road for about 10 games since and are a few games below .500. I'm excited to get back to school and watch a few home games.
Spring break this year has been a different experience for me compared to the last few. Three years ago I was in Sabinas, Mexico and for the last two years I have traveled to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This year I did something I never hoped to do again on a spring break, shovel. The picture is similar to what I saw when I woke up this morning. I'm ready for spring that's for sure. But last week and since I've been on spring break I've been doing some reflecting on my past spring breaks and the impact they had on me and I wanted to write about them. I want to share these memories as a witness to a time when prayer was almost irrelevant to me, to being open to God and Jesus, and to a point where I’ve realized the need and power in relying on God and need for prayer. I think it is a good time to share now since it is in the season of Lent. A time when all Christians should be preparing for Easter Sunday and drawing closer to Jesus and strengthening (or starting) a relationship with Jesus.
The fact that I went on the mission trip to Mexico was a bit of a miracle in itself, but as I've reflected I figure my week in Mexico to be the first time that I acknowledged experiencing Jesus. I have a few very vivid memories from this trip. The first was the night we arrived, a Saturday around midnight. The pastor was showing us around the property, one thing he pointed out was a cement basing and faucet. He explained to us in Spanish that it was for us to use to clean up after we worked and before meals. He pointed out that it often backs up, pointing to the dirty water in the basin. He told us not to worry but just to use the bleach next to the basin which would help it to drain and also make the water less dirty. His next words are what struck me the most, in Spanish he said, “This cleansing is like the cleansing that Jesus will do in your heart this week.” When he said this it was well after midnight and after 30+ hours of driving, I’m glad that I was somehow still alert enough to catch that, but wow did the pastor end up being right.
The second memory was at Sunday evening service the next day. The entire service was in Spanish and despite my 7+ years of Spanish in school, I had a hard time following what was being said. But I found that there is one language, or way of communication that is universal; prayer. Near the end of the service the pastor invited the group I was with up to the front of the church so that the church members could pray for us. Before this instance I was very hesitant and unsure of public prayer. Earlier that year I attended some Bible studies and I remember being intimidated/weirded out how some people could pray so convicted that anyone was listening. But that night in Sabinas, Mexico, I let my guard down and let go of those reservations and the Lord stormed my heart. He had been knocking but I finally let Him in and He took over. I watched as the church members prayed, they talked so fast it was hard to understand, but their prayerful expressions said it all. I remember my body feeling overwhelmed. God filled my heart so much that it forced tears out of my eyes and a euphoric tingling feeling was throughout my body. Needless to say that Holy Spirit was present.
My prayer is for everyone to fall deeper in love with Jesus Christ this Lenten season, God Bless you.