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Cardboard Boxes & Home (Jess T)

What is it like to come back a second time to a place that you learnt to call home, but with a completely different crew? What is is like to come back to a home without most of your family?

Well. It’s be an adventure, and God has taught me a million things about myself that I didn’t know where possible.

My biggest fear coming down was that I wouldn’t be able to fit into this crew, I didn’t really know anyone on the team, and I never really looked at myself as a person to be outgoing enough to be a leader, or to really speak into anyone’s life with any wisdom that would help them whatsoever.

I remember standing in line at the airport alone and saying to myself, “Jess. You can’t do this. Someone else could do this better than you.”

But right now as I sit on this cold floor I am realizing that God probably was just smiling down at me in that moment, looking at me and saying, “Oh boy Jess. I have something huge for you to learn.”

I never saw myself as a person to be able to speak into people’s lives with anything wise to say, I just never have the words really. But over these past 8 days I have realized that God knew all along. He knew that I would have things to say, and He knew that people would need to hear from me too.

I have had so many meaningful conversations with pretty much all of the crew here on this trip. I never realized that I was a leader. I always thought to myself that I just didn’t have any wisdom to share, I thought that what I had to say wasn’t powerful enough to impact anyone’s hearts.

Remember that ledge that I stand on to look at the stars? Yeah. That’s my favourite spot in this entire world, and this year I got to share that with so many people. I got to have so many conversations on that ledge. This trip has taught me that I am a quiet leader, and I never imagined that I would be able to fit in this well.

I have learnt that what I have to say really matters, and that God plants little pieces of wisdom into me that I never thought my tired brain could have.

This trip has been different, and a lot out of my comfort zone.
I was so nervous to come and have to blend into a team that wasn’t my own.
But God made this team my own too.

Keilah Abello. There was one thing you said that I have told myself over and over and over this trip:

“It will be uncomfortable, but when it is, make it your comfortable.”

Keilah. Thank you.

God likes to stretch us into the uncomfortable in order to make that comfortable enough for us to then stretch even more.

This trip is just the beginning for me, and I can’t wait to see where these next 12 months take me. Because I am finally comfortable here, and I am ready to go.

The other day I got to play with a little kid who I think only spoke Spanish. I caught his eye as I was bagging cans at a food truck stop. He gave me the shyest, cutest little smile.
I walked over to him and started talking. I asked him his name, his age and we held up our fingers to get the age, because it’s hard to talk to a two year old when you speak different languages.

I didn’t know what to do with him, because we had no toys, we had nothing to play with, and I couldnt’ make up a game because I didn’t know spanish. But then I saw the boxes from the cans next to me.
I looked at him and said, “Do you want to make a tower?” He then smiled so big and we made a tower out of cardboard boxes.
We lined them up, we stacked them, he laid them out into a line, making sure they were all placed perfectly. Every time I handed him a new one he smiled with the biggest grin I have ever seen. He lit up that dirty sidewalk.
He was completely content with stacking cardboard boxes in the middle of the sidewalk.
He was so so so happy when I looked at him and said “Good job buddy!!” or “Here you go, where should we put this one?!” or “It’s almost as tall as you!”

He just grinned as I handed him box after box.

No toys, just cardboard boxes to build something.
He was so content with cardboard.

This is kind of like God I think.

God says as He hands us box after box of meaningful conversation, “Here you go! You are doing so good! I am so proud of you!”

All I can do today is smile and say to God, “You are good. You are so good.”

This kid spoke into my life, and for 15 minutes I got to be a part of his story, he may never remember that moment – but he was a part of my story and that part will never be forgotten.

I got to talk to a lady at URM, and we got to talking about how URM feels like home. She said over and over again, “God is so good.” “God heals.”
It amazes me every day how much joy there is in these missions, that even in this brokenness God brings such intense hope.

So as I sit here listening to the mumbles of the team, I remember this:

“God is good. He is so good.”

(Mumma, I love you so much but I don’t think I am ready to come home quite yet.)

About Shaun

Most comfortable with people shorter than him, Shaun is able to leap over smaller people, medium-sized playground equipment and little barking dogs in a single bound. He is the proud daddy of a loud daughter named Kaelyn, a surfer kid named Joshua, and a bobblehead boy named Micah. He is married to an incredible teammate named Michelle. As a religious education teacher and Campus Pastor, Shaun desires to build community and discussion within the emerging generations. He is deeply passionate about digging for the 'real', and loves being around people who strive for authenticity. Shaun also happens to think that the phrase "bok choy" is possibly the most hilarious combination of words in the history of humanity.

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  1. Oh my sweet Junebug! I hear so much growth in your writing…I tried to write to you earlier today and just couldn’t describe how I know your heart to stay…still can’t do it justice. I love how God uses you and grows you, preparing you for your future. I know you are torn…remember our conversation the other day about your “soil”…and praying for salvation as you see each face…that little boy needs you on his side, whether he remembers you or not, whether you are at arms reach or not.
    I would love for you to stay but come home, grab a hug and a kiss and be off in Gods service once again. We love you..can’t wait to hold you, can’t wait to let you go again.One day God will give you your ledge! xoxo Love, mumma

  2. Melissa Doberstein

    Jess, this really spoke to my heart. You have had such an impact on my life these past few days that we’ve been in Los Angeles and I have learned so much from you. I am so so grateful that I got to know you and am so thankful for the blessing you’ve been in my life this past week.
    Crying, laughing and just talking in hallways and rooms was one of my most cherished memories with you and it has been so amazing having you to help guide me in my thoughts and actions and just always being there to encourage me. You are such an amazing and humble leader and God will use you so much more in the years to come. Keep serving and loving Him and He will never leave you. Thanks again for all of the love you showed me on this trip. <3

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