Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2-minute Joplin Mission Trip Reflection

Our Joplin Recovery Group had the honor of presenting a presentation to faculty/staff across campus about our experience working in Joplin just 2 weeks after the tornado hit. We only had 1 hour and there are quite a few of us so we each had to limit our reflection to 2 minutes. When I found this out I started to stress out about not only what I wanted to say but also, how am I going to do it in only 2 minutes! I struggled for over a week with what I was going to say. After a conversation with my dear roommate, Autumn, and a refreshing run, I finally knew what message God wanted me to share. I started writing. Of course I had to take alot out to keep it to 2 minutes (Thanks Autumn!). I decided that I would write it the way I was going to read it. I remember hearing the students stories during Kairos where they had written their story and then read it. It was so effective! I know that when you talk about a reflection or something personal, its hard to stay on track so I knew this was going to be the right way to present the message that God had placed on my heart. The following is my reflection that I shared during the presentation:

My name is Andra Bickel and I am the Assistant Director of Student Activities and this is my Joplin reflection:

I could stand up here for hours to share stories of the amazing Regis family that I shared this experience with. Or tell you of the many unbelievable stories of survival that we heard. I would love to share with you the funny moments our group experienced and tell you about the projects we helped with. But I only have 2 minutes and if I had to sum up my Joplin experience it would be this:

I believe that God places a calling on our heart and will show us an opportunity to serve in that capacity, our role is to take the leap of faith.

Immediately after hearing about the devastation in Joplin, God put a call on my heart to help. I kept throwing around options in my head. Maybe I could donate food, clothes or maybe collect money from friends and colleagues and send it to Joplin? Nothing felt right. By word of mouth I heard about a Joplin relief effort that was forming here at Regis. Instantly I knew that this was my opportunity to serve. Without having any information about when the trip was leaving, who was going, what we would be doing, or even if there was still room, I emailed Janet to see if there was space for me. I took the leap of faith. I found out within a few hours that there was room and that the trip was leaving in a few days. The next few days were filled with making sure I could take the mission leave, getting a tetanus shot and mentally preparing for what was ahead.

This unavoidable call on my heart and the hoops that I jumped through to be able to go on this trip in the short amount of time reminds me of a few lines from St. Ignatius of Loyola.

“Teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and to not count the cost.”

As busy as our lives get and the many responsibilities that we have, this is not as easy as it seems. We might feel a calling placed on our heart and God might show us the opportunity to serve in that capacity but the “What about” statements start running through our head, “What about all of the projects at work, What about my kids or my significant other and so on and so on?

But I think St. Ignatius is calling us into a deeper trust with God to know that if we take that leap of faith and choose to “give and to not count the cost” that He will make sure that all of those other details work themselves out.

This trip was one of the most humbling and moving experiences I have ever been part of. Now, a few months removed from this experience, I still reflect not only on the difference we made, but how this experience has ultimately changed me. I know that from my experience in Joplin, God has put another call on my heart and that when he reaches out in this way to each one of us, we just have to be ready to take the leap of faith and to be ready as St. Ignatius calls us “to give and to not count the cost”