To See Beauty. To Feel Joy.

Today I realized that God is able to use me even when I feel like dead weight – when I’m not being very intentional. He has used me on this trip in ways in which I wasn’t intending on being useful. I didn’t go out each day with a plan to impact a particular individual or do God’s work in a particular way. But I came with a heart open to being used by God, I came knowing He would work in me and through me in ways I didn’t initially expect Him to. I prayed that He would show me how I was to contribute to the trip, what role I would play, and why I was sent here in the first place. And slowly, He has been revealing these things to me through what people have said to me and reflection on the events of the trip. The trip is almost over, but I continue to realize new reasons for my being here.

These past few days have been a blur of last-minute fun activities and heartfelt goodbyes. It saddens me to be leaving the people I’ve grown so close to over the past several weeks, but it was also hard saying goodbye to the people I didn’t get a chance to get to know, because I knew I was saying goodbye to missed opportunities.

I don’t yet know if I will be able to return to Brisbane in the future, but Lord willing, I will. However, even if that doesn’t happen, others will get to experience meeting these wonderful people with hearts for the Lord. Others will experience the hospitality and love, the home-cooked meals and the prayers, and the tears of joy from seeing the beauty God has created and the work He always does in His world and His people.

And aside from that, I know that even if I never visit Brisbane again and my Aussie friends never visit the States, I have confidence that one day we will all meet again with our Father and have a joyous reunion.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the opportunity to come to Australia – to see beauty, to feel joy, and to know Your love amongst Your people on the other side of the world. I will forever be impacted by this experience, and I’m glad You’ve written it into my story.

As it says on the coffee mug given to me by Holland Park, our host church: “Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Surely He is exalted in Brisbane, Australia and in all the earth.

Erica Paterson, sophomore
Cupertino, CA

Erica with her Aussie sister, Gemma

Erica with her Aussie brother, Josh



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