By LYNAE TOOM, Iowa UM volunteer
Going into the week, I was broken almost beyond repair, or so I thought. The day we got to Oklahoma it snowed and snowed, then snowed some more. We were not able to work, which did not help my attitude.
I remember thinking: Really, God? Here we all are, willing to do Your work, and You make us stay in our host church?
That was the beginning of a gut-wrenching, eye-opening week.
Because of things in my past, I had become scared of and hardened to love. But God had big plans for breaking my walls down during my week in Oklahoma.
While snowbound at the church, I found out that a girl from our group was struggling with some of the same experiences I was. That first day and a half we spent talking, and I helped her make some sense of her situation. That made me realize that I could help people with my testimony. I did not suffer for nothing. The Lord had big plans for my life: helping those who have suffered the same trials as me.
God had taken a sledgehammer and broken down part of the wall around my heart.
The Lord continued to smash that wall. The second day we met our homeowner. She invited our team in. She was a wreck — emotionally, spiritually, physically — she had lost everything.
After listening for about an hour, we got to work.
Over the next few days, we each took turns (working) on her roof and being with her in the house. She talked to us about our lives, our spiritual walks — and kept reminding us how blessed she was that we were there.
My homeowner allowed God to use her to speak to me, and because of that I have developed a love of serving this broken world, whether domestic or abroad. I have since been able not only to allow God to love me, but also to allow others to love me, as well as allowing myself to love others.
I had been a Christian for a few years, but I did not really know why. After that last night in Oklahoma, I knew God was going to use my trials for His glory. However, in order to allow Him to use me, I had to give Him ALL of me; I had to trust Him with my heart.
I am now a senior in college. I am looking into a career in nonprofit work, focusing on inner-city missions. Now that I have been freed from my bondage and have found true love, all I want to do forever is love.
Lynae Toom attends Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, and her home church is Pella (Iowa) United Methodist Church.
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