Love With Abandon

A short-term missions trip taught Ignite Academy student Kayla Garoutte how great the Father's love is for us, and that we in turn should love those around us unreservedly.

“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:5-6, NKJV).

Without the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us through ministry, our efforts and words are in vain. I recently had the privilege to go on a short-term missions trip to Albania, and I experienced firsthand what it means to depend on Jesus to guide the way.

My team visited an orphanage, and this was by far my favorite outreach. The kids stole my heart when they immediately grabbed both my hands, gave me bear hugs and kissed me on both cheeks. The little boys gave us flowers, and the girls played with our hair and tried to teach us basic words in Albanian.

The language class ended in head-shaking and giggling (at us silly Americans). We danced and sang, and they loved playing with our guitar. As we were leaving, Jesus spoke to my heart: “Love this much.”

Starting out, I had thought I was the one ministering—however, these kids ministered so much to my heart and taught me a lesson in loving with abandon. Sometimes we can get discouraged that our efforts are menial; however, I believe in the ripple effect. Touch one life, and you will touch hundreds.

Through these kids, I was reminded how powerful the love of Jesus is. Rather than leaning on eloquent speech and scholarly answers, we used dance hoops and basic Bible-story skits to share the love of Jesus.

Some of Jesus’ miracle-working moments started from simple acts of kindness and one-on-one conversations. Jesus poured into and mentored 12 disciples. Twelve is a small number; however, He knew the importance of intimacy and discipleship.

Touching hearts one at a time is something we can easily do. The goal is to reach nations, but our first step is to love the person to our left and right.

Having vision that goes beyond our human abilities allows God to work, and moves us to get outside of our traditional views. We need to get to a place where we are totally dependent on Jesus to move.

It is awesome to think that the God of the universe allows us to partner with Him in bringing truth to His people. We may think that we are simply having coffee with a co-worker, or playing in the pool with friends, or, in my case, handing out candy to orphans. But let’s realize that Jesus takes these simple acts and turns them into life-changing moments.

The people we remember the most are the ones who made us feel valuable and loved. Let’s continue to allow the Holy Spirit to broaden our impact and open more opportunities to show love His love to others.

By: Kayla Garoutte, Ignite Academy student

is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Orlando, Fla.
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