A Taste of Summer in Winter

Lego beach
Apply before September 19th. SummerSalt 2015

Yesterday was SummerSalt Taste & See. Just like last year, I joined a group of about twenty Student Life missionaries and students from Macquarie Uni, Newcastle Uni and Sydney Uni.

To be quite honest, I really didn’t want to go, but I felt obliged to be there since I live on the Central Coast – where the outreach was being held.

I didn’t want to go because of a number of reasons:

I was disappointed that all of my other Coastie friends had backed out of going.

I have been recovering from a horrible bout of ‘flu and feeling generally depleted.

I didn’t like the fact that now I am considered a leader and therefore would be expected to take a more upfront role in evangelism – I didn’t want to be trusted with teaching an inexperienced person.

I didn’t like the look of the weather. Rain would mean that we would have to do shopping centre evangelism – my least favourite.

I was partnered with Newcastle Uni’s Michael Shen. Together we went to Erina Fair – a place I frequent. I undoubtedly would see someone I knew, or worse, who knew me…

I learnt two things yesterday:

1. I don’t like to have my intelligence questioned.

Michael and I approached a middle aged man sitting outside Myer. He was waiting for his daughters to finish shopping.

We began a conversation with him by asking what his experience of spiritual things had been. He was a proud atheist, citing the world’s worst philosopher Dr. Richard Dawkins as his pin-up boy. His reason? Because “religion kills people and it’s just brainwashing dumb people who can’t think for themselves.”

Well then. Let’s lay aside the definition of ‘religion’ and how little I subscribe to that world.

Let’s also  walk away from the atheistic despots who have been responsible for the senseless killing of thousands in the name of anti-religion. Sure, Chairman Mao, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Pol Pot are all unimportant to this man who sees atheism as the moral high ground.

But what has disturbed me for the past twenty-four hours is his insistence that his 13-year-old daughter is more intelligent than me.

That makes me angry.

When I was in primary school, I struggled to read and write. I had a learning disability and I was bullied because of it.

In high school, I worked hard to keep my difficulties hidden. I made a decision – no-one would ever be able to call me unintelligent. I would learn and learn and learn and learn until my knowledge would surpass my peers. And then I’d learn more.

When this bloke questioned my intellect, I saw red.

My mind has become my god.

I worship my own intellect and if someone steps on my object of adoration, I’m not happy.

That’s a bit of arrogance and pride I need God to crush.

2. Change saddens me.

Taste & See is supposed to wet the appetite for Summer Projects, a two week mission to the Central Coast in January-February next year.

I went on the 2014 SummerSalt and I loved it. I love the people who went on it.

Few of them are coming back to next year’s SummerSalt. Some have graduated and moved on. Some have other commitments that will keep them from coming. Others have chosen to go on another mission.

Yesterday, I sat in the same room I started every morning in on SummerSalt 2014. I looked at a room full of strangers – people who did not share my experiences at the beginning of the year.

I wanted to go back to January and relive those two life changing weeks.

Change is necessary. Change is inevitable. Change can be good – and I’m sure in the case of SummerSalt 2015, change will be excellent. But I have dealt with so much change this year, and the prospect of another break in the comfortable makes me uneasy.

I have issues with trusting people. I feel abandoned easily. It’s a crippling prospect to know that come January, there’s going to be a room full of people I will have to learn to trust again.

But how selfish am I?

SummerSalt is not about me. Evangelism is not about me. Nothing in God’s economy is really about me and my comfort.

Despite my personal faults yesterday, God still worked. Of course He would. Thankfully, He is not conditioned to my emotions.

Most of us had a hard time evangelising yesterday. But UWS missionary Genevieve and Macquarie Uni’s Jemille had exciting news to share: one girl, in her final year of high school, facing her HSC in the next few weeks, took the enormous step to put her trust in Jesus Christ.

We have a new sister in Christ numbered amongst us!

God is good, even when I am at my worst.

Emma.

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