Life Is a Like Bead on a Necklace...

Our last day in Tenerife was so bittersweet. Of the two weeks we spent there, God gave us the prettiest day of all. It was actually warm and the sun was out all day! We celebrated Lauren’s birthday and then went up to a place called Mesa Mota to debrief and talk about what the trip meant to all of us. It made me realize how blessed we were that the Lord brought us all here, specifically, to know and learn from one another. The time that we spent together, with the Lord in prayer, and then overlooking the city of La Laguna together was so sweet. I was seriously trying to cherish every second!

That evening we headed out for our last practice with the team. We prayed for boldness, that we would be able to share Jesus with them and what He has done for us. I immediately knew that had something special in store because every time I looked around, there were more and more people who were showing up to practice. After the actual practice, we handed a bracket to everyone and explained its significance-

It’s just a simple bracelet- one piece of yarn with a tiny bead, but with a greater meaning. The line, or the bracelet itself, represents our eternal life with Jesus once we have accepted Him. It’s never ending, there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain,” and it will be spent in pure joy of glorifying the Lord! So the line is good, and long and something we should focus on instead of the tiny bead, which represents our life. When we have a bad day or a season that is tough, it doesn’t even show up on the tiny bead and much less on the line. In the grand scheme of things, it’s so small that you can’t notice and so we shouldn’t get caught up in it! Instead of worrying about the world (the bead), we should focus on and press towards our life with the Lord (the line).

The best part was that they were all so sweet, thankful and receptive to the message of the little matching bracelets from us! The coach came up to us and told us that he was so glad we could not only teach them about track but about life too! And whether he meant that in a spiritual standpoint or not, at least he noticed that we weren’t just there to physically train but to show them love! Some of our new teammates explained that they believed in Jesus too, which makes leaving a little easier because we are bonded not only through track but with Christ too! Some of the girls and I circled up to pray in English and then they prayed in Spanish & you could just feel God’s presence all around us! That night, they even posted different things on social media about our AIA team and thanking God for bringing us together! It was so special to see!

For the majority of this trip, I have sort of felt guilty in the back of my mind because I felt like the Lord was working on my heart more than working through me to help others. Obviously, it was exactly what I needed and I am so thankful, but I had assumed that this trip would be all about sharing the gospel with everyone around us the whole time. But in reality, we couldn’t just do that. We got to know them and show them that we cared about them, and then the Lord was able to make Himself known in a big way. It wasn’t just with a few people on the team, but with everyone! I know with my whole heart that He was with us at practice and in our conversations! My prayer is that something would spark the hearts of those who have yet to make the decision to follow Him. I believe that we did what Hid had in store for us and that He is faithful to continue working in the hearts of our sweet teammates.

I don’t think that I doubted God and what He was doing, but I was beginning to wonder if there would be an opportunity to reach our amigos. Over the two weeks, we were in prayer for them and obviously the Lord was working on our hearts, so at just the right time we were able to speak His name boldly. I am so thankful for the friendships that we created on the track and everything we learned from them! They work so hard and seriously enjoy every second of being at practice. They were always so relaxed instead of focusing so much on being competitive and getting discouraged after a bad rep at practice. I know that this is something that God had for me to see, because it’s something that I have to work on! Jesus was also there to teach us that everything is perfect in His timing, not ours! He is the same God in the Canary Islands as He is at home, and I know that He is working in the hearts of those on their team.

THIS TRIP HAS BEEN SUCH A BLESSING!

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what he has done.” [1 Chronicles 16:8]

-Sammi Jo