A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
So my last blog post was all about how I was feeling so distant from the Lord. But here I am, on this Sunday evening feeling so much closer to Him. It is crazy how just two days can change everything.
This weekend I was able to attend Spring weekend through my church here in Fort Myers. This weekend was all about serving others in our community, and diving into God’s word. We had two days of service, and we went through all of John chapter 13. Needless to say, this weekend was so tiring, but so amazing at the same time.
On Friday, we headed over to Summit after classes to start our service. Once we got to summit, we got assigned to our groups, and got a run down of the weekend. I was so happy because I was in the same group as Olivia. I was so excited to be able to serve God this weekend with one of my closest friends by my side. Fast forward a little bit, and we were off to start serving the community. Olivia and I got thrown in a random group Friday because our leader was not there, but it was great because Taylor was in the group we got thrown into. We headed over to the house that we got assigned to, and we helped them move out. It was so hot out, and we were lifting such heavy furntiture…along with SO many chairs. I couldn’t believe how many chairs were in one house. I have never had to help anyone move out before, so it was a fun experience, and memories were definitely made. Whether we were trying to put drawers back into dressers (which I was a master at haha) or squeezing stuff into a moving truck, we all had a smile on our face, and the love of God was so present in the place we were at. After a couple of hours, the sun was set, and both moving trucks were packed tight. We had finished. I was so happy to be able to help those people, who were moving stuff out of their house to give to a foster family in need. Back to the church we went.
Once we got back to the church, we ate dinner (I was starving), and went into worship, and our first teaching. This whole weekend was centered around the fact that we are wanting to be known by our love. The first teaching was about how we know love and are known by love because of the love that Jesus has for us. Jesus has loved all His children in so many ways. He has washed us in his love, served us because of His love, and kept us by his love. Hearing this teaching really reassured me that God was not as distant as I thought He was last week, when I was struggling with feeling his presence.
The teaching and worship came to a close around 10 o’clock, and we all went and hung out at a mini golf place right up the street. I had no idea that it was there, but it was really fun. To be honest, I have never played mini golf at 10pm after a full day of school and then serving, so I was exhausted but it was great to be spend time just hanging out with my friends. We didn’t really take the game seriously, we just hit around the golf balls, and goofed off (except for the two or three holes we played seriously). Around 11:30 we called quits. It was time for bed.
The next morning we had to be at church bright and early for breakfast and small group time. It was so hard to get up so early, after staying up so last the night before. Once we got to the church, we gathered in our small groups, and talked for a bit before going back to the big group. The morning message was one of my favorites of the whole weekend. We were reminded that Loving Jesus means following Jesus. The truth that really stuck out to me was when I heard him say, following Jesus at a distance, is not equivalent to following Jesus. I have been following Jesus for a while now, but I know sometimes I am not really good at it. I make mistakes that pull me further from God, and then I just find myself not really close to Him anymore.
That afternoon was when I really felt God come back into my life. We went to another church out in Fort Myers, and spent the day out there. My group started in the church garden, helping a lady lay down some bricks. It was hot, but I gave it up to God, and knew that I was doing this to serve His people. After we successfully laid down the bricks, we took a lunch break and then it was quickly onto our next task. Something I have never done before. We went to downtown Fort Myers with a hot dog cart, and water bottles, and handed out free food and water to the people in downtown. Being able to tell people about Jesus is a blessing. The church we were at told us that the night before they went out to downtown and stood outside of clubs and did the same thing, and three people came to know Christ. I thought that was really cool to hear. It only takes one person, one prayer, to change someone’s life. After we were done in downtown, we headed back to the church we were serving at, and helped set up for a homeless dinner they were doing. I have never helped at a homeless dinner, so it was a great experience. I got to serve people who are less fortunate than we are, and it really filled my heart with joy.
We got back to Summit that evening and had an hour and a half of free time before the next message and worship. I was with Olivia, we were exhausted, so we decided to go to Starbucks and get coffee, and then park in the church lot and nap in my car. That was a really good decision and such a refreshing nap. We dozed off a few times, before the alarm went off for us to go back into the church. After a green tea and a snooze, I was re-energized, and ready to take on the rest of the night. Who knew a car nap could be so refreshing?
Our last message was how Following Jesus means loving others. I really enjoyed this message, but I think it is just because I love people. I love the friends I have met this year at college, my friends in my small group have impacted my life, and helped me through a lot without even knowing it. The way that we love others communicates what we believe about the gospel and our identity to those around us. We are called to love, just has Jesus has loved us. The bible verse I put at the top of this post is one of my favorite verses that I read this weekend. Jesus tells us in the bible to love other people.
After that last message, we played a game of mafia (bringing back memories from my favorite camp of all times, the great adventure) and then we went home. We were told after the last message that we were to come back to the church at 8:45 am to hand down fgcu magnets to people, and Olivia and I had decided at first that we were just going to go to the late service so we could sleep. Well as we were walking to the car, we were told that we had to go, so we spent the whole ride home hypothetically planning out how our Sunday afternoon would go if we went to the 9am service. It was pretty funny, we planned out when we would go to walmart, do homework, and even have a nap.
Overall it was such a great weekend, serving other people in the community, being with friends, and growing closer to God all at the same time. This weekend impacted me so much, and it really just reminded me what was really important in the world.