JOURNEY: Reflections

God is so sovereign. I find with most of our Journey interns, that the Lord teaches them the most once they are at home. Here is former intern, Stephen Van Gorp's reflection on his Journey experience.

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God taught me so much about his character and what it means to follow him wholeheartedly. I am so grateful to have been a part of what he is doing in our brothers and sisters in East Africa. I want you to know he is still doing a mighty work in this world through his people. I cannot begin to express all of what God taught me this summer through this experience but it did require dying to my selfish desires and needs daily, and walking in His Spirit accepting his grace and love. I truly learned to rely wholly and only on His Spirit to provide me with the comfort, peace, love, patience, and joy that only comes from him.

Journey was unlike anything I had experienced before. It knocked down many barriers, and made me fully dive into the culture. We worked, taught, worshiped, learned, ate, and slept alongside many of the community members. This made us bond and grow very close very quickly, and I saw what I believe is the true mission experience. Paul traveled around the ancient world preaching with nothing but his bible. He relied fully on God and his people to provide for all his needs. Doing this first hand in turn forced me to rely fully on his spirit for all my needs. I was truly blessed to have experienced this alongside other brothers and sisters, and they were just that. I have had many other experiences with similar communities, but the “Journey Culture” is truly unique. I’m happy to say that not only do I have brothers and sisters all over the U.S. who journeyed with me but I also have brothers and sisters on the other side of the world. It may be cliché to say that, but really it is true. When we arrived in each village we were greeted by the community members we would be working and staying with. We were thrown into their culture and way of life. Learning to live like them first hand is an indescribable experience. They themselves accepted me as one of their own and because of that it fueled not only our relational growth but also our spiritual growth. It opened up new doors and bonded us together in not only our experiences together but also in his spirit as the Body of Christ. We were doing life together as Christ had intended it to be and like it was originally lived out in the book of Acts.

It was initially difficult for me to lose this as I came home and tried to transition back into “normal life”, but I quickly realized that I don’t need to transition back. I can take what I learned there, and apply it here. God took me all the way to East Africa and I experienced Him in crazy, new ways, but he could have done that in me and taught me those same lessons at home. It’s not about your environment it’s about your own sense of adventure and your own sense of pursuit after a God who is so desperately pursuing you.

-Stephen Van Gorp