Day 4: The Little Things

“When I went on a mission’s trip…” This was a common phrase that I kept hearing among my college friends, and I never really understood what a mission’s trip entailed. I had an idea but could never contribute to the stories. However, that had changed during the spring semester of my freshman year—when Cru decided to go Atlanta, GA during the Spring Break of ’13. Prior to making the choice of attending the trip, I remember feeling a bit unsure because of two reasons, 1) I didn’t know people as well and 2) I didn’t know what the week would entail. I remember sharing this with my mom, and to my surprise, her first reaction was, “you should go!” Guess what? I was anticipating the day Cru at UConn was heading out to the Peach State.

The Team of Cru at UConn Students that went to Atlanta, GA 2013. 

The Team of Cru at UConn Students that went to Atlanta, GA 2013. 

After an 18-hour long car ride, we finally made it to our destination. We had a stayed at a local church whose members were so hospitable and made it possible for us to be well-rested through-out the week. Each day of that week, we served the community in different ways. By far, one of the memorable parts of the trip was working at a refugee camp in which we (the students on the trip) had to help with homework for the children and then had time to interact and play with them. I won’t forget one of the little Ethiopian girls that I had played with. I never asked how old she was, but to my guess she was a seven-year-old girl who was very quiet, shy and had a hard time playing with the other girls from the camp. This was the little girl that caught my attention. All I could think at the moment was how Jesus told His disciples to let the children come to Him (Matt. 19:13-15).

It didn’t take long to break the ice with this little girl, especially after she had made a little paper fortune teller, in which I had to pick a number and read out loud my “fortune.” It read, “You are bad.” My immediate reaction was to say, “hey!” and the girl burst out in laughter and that’s when I started chasing her in playful way. I will never forget that little girl’s smile and the enormous hug she gave me, along with tears in her eyes, after finding out that I had to leave. She made me promise to visit her for her birthday. This broke my heart because I knew I couldn’t make that promise given that it was the first and last time we have we would ever see each other. However, it was at that moment that I knew that although I was leaving, Jesus’s love towards this girl was constant and permanent.

The paper fortune teller the Ethiopian girl gave to me.

The paper fortune teller the Ethiopian girl gave to me.

No, I didn’t “disciple” the little girl, or read a passage from the Bible with her. Instead I was able to express and receive God’s love through this little girl. She gave me the opportunity to express that love and see that the Lord wants us to delight in moments like these. In the moment that I was leaving, that little girl hugged me tight and didn’t want me to leave. All I could feel was the heartbreak but also it reminded me how my soul longed for Jesus. I didn’t want to let go of Him. The beautiful part was knowing that God, unlike me, loves so much more and cares for us much more deeply. He, unlike me, is constant and unchanging.

Who knows how God can use moments like these on a Spring Break trip to impact your life? You’d be surprised! It may be in obvious or subtle ways. Funny how the Lord can demonstrate His love through the few hours of playing tag with the little Ethiopian girl. Pray for that awareness and experience of God’s love throughout the “little” things in life. Let us have an attitude of thanksgiving and embrace the reality of His love for us, through His son Jesus. Consider where and how the Lord can use moments like this—pray for this Spring Break, ask for guidance in where He wants you.

Scott Thomson