Why Love Week?

LOVE WEEK

I was sitting at “The Grill” and Naomie walked over and asked who was attending Love Week, she began to ask everyone individually and when she got to me I remember responding something along the lines of “eh, why?” Then she proceeded to explain it briefly and tell me that she would have the cost covered for me. So I said yes, fine, why not, I’m not doing anything with my spring break anyway. So, I jumped in and took my heart and all my emotions on the journey.

How can I minimize an earthquake into words? My translation is only a simplification of the impact that took place. My words do no justice but I can try to devise sentences to encapsulate how anointed this week was. My feet were washed, I was humbled then sent out. My life has been radically changed. The Voice is truly an unshakable movement. My heart has been rebuilt. There’s a lot happening in my tiny frame. Comfort zones were non-existent. And in my fears, oh God, you were near. I’m just so grateful and shaken. God, you are so gracious to me. Your choice to dwell in my bones is something I’ll never understand. These are fragments spilling from a filled heart.

Here’s a recap of the journey:

DAY 1

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This day held great weight for me. This was my first mission trip and man, it was heavy. I asked God to make me a new heart. Burst the seams I stitched to keep myself in. Unlock the river I tend to hold back. Make me a servant. And He did just that. I remember when the bus unloaded us at the venue I was completely overcome with emotion. It was all too real. The children scattered like ants and were desperate for an ounce of affection. “I wanna sit with you,” that melted my heart. Words do no justice for this moment. I’m so honored to have been in the presence of these children and to be a listening ear, to dance and pray over them, to hug them with honest hands and to learn from them. It was so hard for us to stop crying knowing that they wanted this to be an everyday thing. God is doing amazing things to my soul. There’s a revival taking place in my body. I entered to bless and I left blessed.

DAY 2

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Giving out free Starbucks gift cards to strangers—to which they responded “what did I do to deserve this?” Isn’t it crazy? How an act of kindness conjures skepticism? It really makes you pause and look at what the world has become. We also paid for and helped strangers with their laundry at the laundromat. Lastly we did dirty work by adding mulch to the church property and refined the paint job done by the kids for Easter service!

DAY 3

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Man, I’m so lucky to have served with these amazing people. I typically (all the time) feel extremely misunderstood and “too much” but serving with these folks felt so effortless. One of my favourite parts of this journey was connecting with new people and making new friends. This did a lot for me since I was coming from a new city. I could just be myself and I felt so included and loved. I couldn’t have asked for a better group! We spontaneously shared our testimonies and it’s just insane how much you can learn about people in this type of environment. There’s boldness rising and I’m allowing it.

That day we some dirty work at the Salvation Army and I met an amazing guy named Dave and prayed over him for healing of his cancer. Later, we gave out free donuts to strangers!

DAY 4

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The best explanation for day 4 is the visual of stepping into a pool of emotions without a bottom. We served at the Veteran’s Affairs by cooking and just hanging out with them. Exchanged words with so many layered and wise people. I met a lady who is an artist like myself and she shared a bit about her life and then I took the opportunity to pray for her. We also played with the children at a domestic violence shelter—painted their nails and face (eventually they took over and painted on us, haha) did karate and football. We weren’t allowed to take pictures with them or reveal their names for safety reasons. I remember a little girl was crying in Emily’s arms and both of our walls came down because we could feel the weight of her pain. Later, we loved on downtown by giving out water, roses with cute notes and pb&j. And of course we had to bring the drum pans out! I had a lot of short reflective moments and when compiled reveals that everything has been so congruent in my life. It’s become quite apparent that art follows me everywhere and my purpose likes to show its face in subtle ways. I’m listening and digesting the details. It was all joyful, intense, awakening and fruitful.

DAY 5

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Ugh, the last day, such a bummer. We did some more dirty work at a Wetland by picking up trash.  This reminded me of our dirt as humans. God chases us down and meets us in our dirt. For He is not afraid of dirt. He synthesized and crafted man from it; the dust of the earth. He makes the unclean clean and exchange the bitter for sweet. He has humbled me and used me in ways I could have never imagined. Later, we went back to the church to listen to Pastor Sonia’s message. What happened after that was one for the books for me! My worship has been elevated from this experience. My soul has new melodies for God. I remember at one point I just fell to my knees and started worshipping because God is just so magnificent. And through my broken cries I could hear the cry of others. This is all for His kingdom. I rose from my knees and not one eye was dry. I’m still in awe. The Voice has God’s fingerprint stained all over it. God, You never cease to amaze.

Chanel Smith

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