Eat. Sleep. Serve.

I’m finally home.

It’s been a long, hard, twelve days in California, working on substardard homes and visiting some of the surrounding cities.

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The first day was all flying time, from Baltimore, MD, to Atlanta, GA, then the long flight out to California. It was my first flight, but I didn’t worry, and it was fine.

I’d go through every day and tell you about it, but I did that in the audio posts, which you can listen to here quickly and easily.

What I want to tell you about is some of my encounters with sharing the gospel with those in California. The first was Carlos.

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Carlos was a man I saw on the way out of the waterpark we went to with World Changers. He was an old hispanic man, smoking, and leaning on a fence by one of the slides. We were on our way out, and I hadn’t given any tracts out yet, so I told one of our leaders that I was going to go and give Carlos a tract. The leader went with me, and she helped me by giving me support while I talked with Carlos.

I gave him the tract, and then asked him if I could ask him a few questions.

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“Sure,” he said with a cigarette in his mouth.

I smiled, as well as the counselor.

“Would you consider yourself a good person?” I asked him.

“I guess so…yeah. I would say that.” He puffed a little smoke.

“Do you know the ten commandments?” I looked at his ragged clothes, and his less-than-normal amount of teeth.

“Yeah, I think I do.”

I named a few, and asked him if he had stolen, lied, or commited adultery.

He had.

“If God were to judge you by these ten commandments, would you be innocent or guilty?” My face was slightly grim, as I waited for his answer.

He dropped his cigarette. His eyes showed a glimmer of fear as he realized his sin, and where he was going.

“Guilty.”

We agreed, and told him we were guilty as well, and had all broken God’s law.

“So where do you think you’re going…heaven…or hell?”

It was the tough question. He answered hell. He had a few questions, and we answered many of them for him, and then I told him a story.

A man was going to court. He was fined $50,000, but he couldn’t pay, so he was going to prison for life.

But then, as the prisoner was being led away, a man walked from the back up the judge and told the judge he was paying the prisoner’s fine. The prisoner was free to go.

That’s what Christ did for us.

We left Carlos with that, and told him to look more into the Bible.

I did three others…one, I just passed out a tract to a guy who thanked me for the tract.

Then I met these two teens. One was short, one was really tall. The both had big mexican hats on, that looked really funny on them.

I did the same thing as I did with Carlos, but found out that these teens were good people because Christ had forgiven them.

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The last person I tried to pass out a tract to turned me down cold. In fact, he seemed very annoyed and mad that I tried to give him something. So I gave it to his younger brother.

Notice that was the last person.

That’s one thing I regret on the trip. I wish the last person had been like Carlos or those two guys. But it wasn’t.

I need to remember that witnessing goes on. It’s not just for the mission trip.

I promised a few guys and girls on the team that I’d witness to someone with them, and even though I almost gave up after that last person, I’m ready to do it here.

It’s harder at home to witness. Way harder. I don’t know why, but it is.

In California, people will never see you again. In Maryland, they can track you back down.

But witnessing goes on.

Are you scared? So was I. I was so scared.

But people thanked me for sharing…they were glad I told them about eternal life, about their sin.

This trip was awesome…we touched so many lives, and made so many friends.

I can’t wait to do something like it again. Studying the Bible with our whole youth group was awesome…worshipping with them awesome.

We came back with the outlook on life as “We can change the world. Anywhere.”

As I said in an interview with the Clovis Independant, “This had really opened my eyes. I’ve started to think of ways back home I can help people in my own community, and there’s so many. It may not be fun all the time and sometimes I may not want to, but I could do a lot for people in my own community like cut their grass or repair a fence for free. It isn’t that hard to make a difference and it’s right across the street. We came all the way across the country to do this; we can do that.”

Eat. Sleep. Serve.

(Pictures are random and have nothing to do with the surrounding text)

12 Comments on “Eat. Sleep. Serve.”

  1. Travis

    WELCOME BACK TIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD TO SEE YOU BACK!

    Sounds like you had a good trip. Can’t wait to hear more.

    :)
    The Blogging boy Scout,
    Travis

  2. Bonnie Huddleston

    I don’t know how to “fancy this comment”, but one thing I do know is how grateful I am that God has allowed me to hear about the experiences you and the others in our church have. Tim, God will use us and equip us (as you well know) but as old as I am it is scary to be bold. It is because I try to let my own courage rather than the Holy Spirit’s courage do the witnessing. Thank you for sharing your mission trip.I know God has awesome work for so many of you to do that will glorify Him. In Christ’s agape, Bonnie Huddleston

  3. David Ketter

    Welcome back, brother!

    It is absolutely AWESOME to hear about your work in California. I am also glad to see that you had much more success than I did in Atlanta (more on this coming later). Let me just use one of your stories as encouragement: Carlos is the typical person in the world….ignorant in sin and not knowing any better. So take heart in that, because the Light that shines in and THROUGH you can touch their lives so powerfully (as you have seen).

    Now, you might be saying that “success” in a missions trip can’t be measured. I’m inclined to agree. I think it is a difference in our gifts, more than anything. For me, I’ve learned that my primary gift is that of a prophet – a strengthener (not a revelator) of the Body. From what I’ve seen of your writings and hearing what you have to say on some things, I see that you have much more of an impact in the world than I am given the ability to do. We are brothers in arms but with different missions. :)

    Go with God,
    DJ

    BTW, if you want to know more about what I meant about “more success” (as opposed to the actual events in Atlanta, just email me and I’ll be happy to fill you in.

  4. Rick Rogers

    Tim Sweetman,
    You are “The Man”!!! It is so exciting to hear how God is using you and the other youth in Sunny Cal. Mrs. Rogers and I have been praying for you and the group all week. I know that God will bless your dedication and service. We will pray that you guys have a safe trip home. Really cool web page…keep up the good work.
    P.S. Keep your dad out of trouble :o)
    LOL Rick & Joanie Rogers

  5. Amanda

    (Bringing encouragrams online)

    I have to say Tim you are proubly one of the most brave young people i know. I remember being outside the movie theater and you going ” Hmm who should i go witness to”, You picked someone and went up and witnessed to them( grant it it was the mexican hat boys but still) That takes AMAZING amounts of guts with which i wish i had more.

    Amanda

  6. Kelly

    Hey Tim!
    The trip was awesome and I am glad I could be a part of it. You are a bold witness; bolder than I ever am. Your enthusiasm is contagious. I could learn a lot from you. You’ve always been a great kid to be around and now you’ve turned into quite the godly young man. I’m proud of you! I love this website; please keep it up.
    Take care, Kelly Collinson

  7. Mary Auth

    Thnks Tim for sharing. It is so awesome to see young people on fire for the Lord. You encourage older Christians to keep in the fight because sometimes they are ready to give up. I’m so proud of you. Keep letting the Lord lead you. You are precious to Him.

  8. Kathy

    Tim,
    You may not know me, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your thoughts and how Jesus used you and all the youth group in CA. You may never know how the “seed” you planted in people’s lives will be watered by someone else and the Holy Spirit will bring to fruition! Thank you for the bold witness.
    Kathy Schweitzer

  9. Jake

    Glad to see that you’re back! It’s been amazing hearing your trip throught the audio blogs and now this re-cap here. I can tell that God has really gifted you to reach people. Keep it up, don’t EVER stop!

    Hebrews 12:1-3

  10. Amanda

    I just realized what that water fall picture was.. It turned out really well!

    Oh i miss being there so much Yosimity (sp) is by far the most amazing place i have ever seen, or been to!

    Amanda

  11. Catez

    Awesome Tim! It was great to read about your mission trip. It is harder at home – good observation. We just folow the prompting of the Holy Spirit – sounds like you did just that. God bless.

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