“For in God we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28

Living. Moving. Being. These three adjectives helped to shape the mission trip to Mars Hill this summer, creating some boundaries and guideposts during a week that was sad, joyous, tiring, renewing, and full of God’s revelations. It was remarkable. For much of the year I struggle with doubt (that’s just how I’m built), but for 6 days in July, I believe. I truly believe and I have no doubts. Living, moving and being is as easy as breathing when you are in the thick of it.

My team was Team Linda. Our homeowner Linda had back surgery the week before we arrived and would spend the entire week we were there in the hospital and rehab. We wouldn’t get to meet her. Her husband Shawn met us on Monday and showed us around the singlewide we would be working on. It was a mess, and so was Shawn, as homes and people tend to be when their significant other is sick and helplessness and hopelessness take hold. He was shy and embarrassed and shadowed the team on the first day, unable to put his trust in a group of strangers. It would be days before Shawn looked me in the eye and began to trust, but he would. We had to live with Shawn for a few days. These things take time and God takes His own time. By the end of the week I was certain Linda was in the hospital and rehab solely because God wanted us to be with Shawn and to help him through this difficult time.

The list of repairs was long and daunting; fix and/or replace a floor, a ceiling, a bathroom, a kitchen, etc. Most of the time I have difficulty organizing multiple projects concurrently, but Mars Hill is 5 days of work. A lot of work, and actually it’s only 4 ½ days of work since we take a half-day to enjoy our families and friends and the surrounding mountains. Each time I go to Mars Hill I think there is no possible way to achieve all the tasks on the list in just one short week. Four or five people who have never worked together, a list a mile long, budgetary constraints…impossible, right? Wrong. God proves me wrong every single time. Moving. God calls us to move, to act on his behalf. What is truly crazy is that no matter how difficult we perceive the task is going to be, God just wants action from us. There is a way through that daunting list and it has nothing to do with pushing through it. That is a lesson I get time and time again in Mars Hill.

Worship. Each night is capped with worship, songs and scripture. It is the most important moment of the day and it focuses you. CMPC, Shadyside, and Bowie churches are one church during worship. The week ends with the breaking of bread. It is intimate and powerful and revealing. In this environment new friends become family in a matter of days. Each of us finds meaning and purpose in our own way during the week…it happens to everyone there. The act of doing something for someone else in the spirit of Christ is revelatory, and no matter how many times it happens to me I’m caught off guard. God works in mysterious ways.

Next year, I hope you’ll consider joining us in Mars Hill. There is real need there and I promise you will be changed, transformed by the week. The simple act of focusing on and working for someone in dire need is truly liberating in a way I cannot possibly put to words in a blog post. Living, moving, and being in God is a simple thing when we are able to look past ourselves and give freely of our time and talents to those in need. Please join us in 2018.

Yours in Christ,

Todd Stubbs