This post will probably end up going against all of these things.
For 4 of the last 5 years, I've lived across the ocean working with a mission I heartily agree with and am motivated by. The 1 year I wasn't here in Asia, I worked with the Asian students at UNC doing many of the same things I do here, building movements of students who sacrificially love Jesus and want to see their peers know God.
Pretty heavy stuff, huh? That's really what I signed up for when I came over here. When I prayed about my decision to do this for the long haul. These were the things I prayed for. When I write my memoirs as an old man, I want to have stories of transformation on college campus, and more importantly, in the hearts of formerly lost students.
I'm ecstatic to get married soon and transition into life with a nicer-smelling and prettier roommate (sorry Harrison...), but part of me will certainly mourn the things I'm leaving here. What I thought I'd mourn the most would be the memories of students fellowship meetings or Bible studies I'd led, or freshmen guys breaking down in repentance, or preaching to groups of people who have scarcely heard of Jesus. But the things I'll really miss the most for now are found in the picture below.
"You come for the mission, but stay for the people," my friend said recently. I think he was very right. The kingdom of God is like many things in the Gospels, but one of which is a mustard seed. A small, unsightly and unimposing sprouting seed that can produce the greatest harvests. That is to say, sometimes the things you don't expect to make the biggest differences in a Christian's life are the ones that end up making you the most committed to Jesus. I thought it would be ministry success at first that kept me coming back for more, but in the end it was guys like on my crew and the ones who eat at dirty restaurants with me. They've done more to encourage me in the Great Commission than any number of ministry successes I could point to as my own.