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Reflection from Toronto

      As I was sitting on a hill overlooking the city of Toronto during our final debrief, I was warmed by how evident God's presence was in the week. I suppose that the fact we all survived the first week as Summer Hosts without any major tragedy was testimony enough to the power of a loving God. Our training had been intense and the days before the groups arrived, we were filled with excitement and nervousness at what was to come.
      Pretty much from the moment the groups began arriving we were continually on the go. Taking my seat in the van and giving my first directions out of the parking lot marked the beginning of many adventures that tested my passion, discipline, memory, and more often than not, my attitude.
      There is something wonderful about watching a group arrive feeling excited and uncertain, yet willing to step out for their God. I sometimes feel a bit spoiled knowing that I get to work with willing spirits that have had countless hours of ministry poured into them. I was curious to see how my group would handle once the reality of city ministry hit them. In actuality, they took it like professionals. I can remember so many times where my people would accept new tasks, or patiently endure my many wrong directions, all without complaining. I'm a little biased on this topic. I think that a big part of spiritual growth is more about submission to the unpleasant. Outward serving is amazing, but when I see character development, I know there is something that's going to stick!
      One thing I found really interesting was that I knew God was working hard in my own heart along the way. I don't think there was ever a time during this past week where I failed to see that I was as here to learn as much as anyone. I can also testify that I loved being a host to the students and leaders who came. Know, at the end of the week I can proudly stand under the words passed onto me, which I passed on to others. "We come to serve willingly. Even if it means we leave with more questions than answers. The more we learn, the less we know, and the bigger God becomes."
      Well, I guess that wraps up week one. Let's see what God can do in us with a few more!
Stay strong,
Jake, CSM Toronto City Host Summer 2008