Reflections on The Summit

The Mission 1:8 Summit was a blessing in more ways than one and is something I will forever remember as such a sacred time.

For starters, I didn’t realize how much I missed being outside. Living in England has been incredible, except I’ve realize I need consistent sunshine and time spent in scenery to recharge; the Summit strengthened a part of me I didn’t know was missing.

It was a sweet change of pace, to be able to explore a new area, including the opportunity to spend a day at the Acropolis. It was blazing hot but the beautiful view waiting at the top of the marble steps was so worth it.

As we stood there looking at Mars Hill where Paul delivered his speech to Athens, I couldn’t help the tears that formed in my eyes.

How often do I forget that the names of people in the Bible were real human beings. We hear their stories all the time in church and Bible studies but being in the location where those figures once stood, is a feeling I can’t express in words.

I couldn’t help but wonder how Paul felt as he stood there, preaching his way through the Mediterranean. Acts 17 says he was deeply troubled by the idols he saw in the city. I can’t imagine the resilience it took to boldly condemn the people who worshipped various gods.

What would it have felt like to lose a best friend to a cross? And with the words “go make disciples of all nations” as the call to continue those 33 years of ministry?

I can’t even imagine the gift of being close to Jesus. A friend who always includes, finds ways to go deep, serves in the smallest ways and makes the best jokes at no expense to others.

What would it be like to have inside jokes with your Creator, the one who gave you breath in the first place?

How humbling it was to stand at the Acropolis, looking down and sharing the same view Paul once experienced, of a now-changed city.

Those thoughts kept circling my head that night, so I spent some time by the sea to soak it all in. I cried some big tears as I fully took in what it means to be so deeply loved by Jesus, a real man who once had a favorite view of the ocean similar to the one in front of me.

The next morning the Lord sent constant reaffirmations of His love through strangers speaking strong words of purpose and encouragement over me and close friends echoing similar thoughts.

The Lord entirely rewrote my summer plans by sending me on a NEXT internship, and while I was resentful about it at first, now I see nothing but the Lord’s kindness to me. There’s nothing I’ve done that could’ve earned me a spot at the Summit conference, standing in a room with people He has called from all around the world.

One of the most beautiful things to me about the Lord is how He takes what we had in store for our own lives and turns it into something so much better than we could have dreamed of ourselves. I would have never guessed I would have the gift of spending a week learning from different missionaries – but the Lord, in His kindness, blessed me with that anyway.

The Summit will forever hold a special place in my heart. What a gift it was to me, to be reminded of the humanity of Jesus and His disciples. My heart will forever be so thankful for the donors and GP team that chose to bring the NEXT interns to Greece.