As I look back on my third trip to Las Vegas I am reminded that we are not in control. The Lord worked through us all in wonderful wonderful ways and all credit goes to Him. We have had good days and bad days, great conversations and rejections, we have struggled and bonded, laughed and cried, but through everything we have been filled with Christ. We have had each other’s backs through it all and made an impossibly good team. We have joined hands in prayer so many times and it’s the reason for our success.
Each person who made their way to Vegas on this mission trip has a story. We have all been through life in different ways and used each unique way to talk about Christ to those who are lost. We are all so gifted and it’s incredible how well we worked together, truly.
Thank you again for your prayers and support, we couldn’t have done it without our support systems behind us cheering us on. This team was amazing.
I don’t even know where to begin. This last week was so incredible and so exhausting. From day one, God has been doing awesome things in us, through us and around us. It would take far too long to spell out every single thing that could be said about my last week in Vegas. That being said, I’ll limit myself to two things that stood out to me.
First, I am so impressed with the team I had the honor of working with this week. Many of these people I have known for a good amount of time. While each and everyone of them shine God’s light at home, I got to see them all live out their faith in a bold and courageous way that I haven’t seen from them before. This week, these people went from being my brothers and sisters in Christ to my fellow warriors in Christ. I am so proud of the whole team and inspired by the growth I saw in all of them.
Second, I was inspired by the stories I had the privilege of hearing from the amazing family of Kairos Las Vegas. There were many moments this week when I felt like I was making little impact through conversations or even through VBS. Hearing the stories Kairos LV reminded me that God can use what may seem like a miniscule interaction on one end to change the other person’s life.
Finally, I just have to say that I am so very excited for next year. Thanks to all those at home who prayed for us over this last week! Your prayers are so appreciated.
Last week was a success, thanks to our powerful God. Until next time…
– Marisa Miranda
Man, what a week! We have been blessed with a safe return to Colorado Springs, even through a blizzard or two on the way home! God has been so incredibly gracious to us, and it reminds me of what my typical reaction is to Him. He promised that whenever we step out in faith towards Him and walk in His ways, He is faithful and constant to make it all come together for good. I often forget that promise, and it is such a help to look back and count the ways God came through for me and those around me.
We came to Las Vegas with the purpose to evangelize, to persuade others that Jesus Christ is the Way. That was our flagship goal, and we were successful! We went to what feels like for many of us the ends of the earth, and we preached the Good News to strangers and friends. We went and planted invisible seeds of change, and watered seeds we and others have planted in the past. And just like 1 Corinthians 3:7 says, we don’t have to worry about the results we saw or did not see. God will use every interaction we had to provide growth and increase and a heavenly harvest. From revelers and the broken on Fremont Street, to the innocence and hunger of the kids at VBS; from the openness and honest need of the homeless at Hope Chapel, to the common ground of the college campuses; from the loving fellowship of the Springs Church, to the blind indifference of the Strip. It was all time spent that God is going to sculpt and shape in unimaginable ways.
I look back on the week and consider the experience I had. My personal perspective is from this being my fourth Kairos trip to Vegas. It’s a fresh experience every year, but the fear of man has melted over the years. It’s still not easy to approach a stranger on the street and try to have a meaningful conversation about our Creator, but I am no longer afraid of getting stabbed for doing so, like I was afraid my first trip. I have the benefit of witnessing incredible results over and over to encourage me to ignore my apprehension. But I remember that fear, and I watched six first-time Vegas pilgrims conquer that fear over and over, again and again as they did what they came to do. I also watched two veterans rise to the challenge of leadership, and experience a whole new Vegas trip rife with new hardships and pains. In a way, they went back to square one of working through problems they hadn’t dealt with before. It was a beautiful experience of weaving wisdom and growth for all twenty of us.
The first day in Vegas, I remembered back to training at Sunnyside, and feeling apprehensive and unsure if I wanted to do this again. To go through the inconvenience and discomfort of going to Vegas and talking to people, sleeping on hard floors for not very long, going into dangerous places to talk to people who want nothing to do with us. To suffer for the Word’s sake. And on that first day in Las Vegas, standing there, I was so grateful to be there again. To go beyond my limits to rely on God. To be taken deeper than I could travel by myself. And I was reminded of a parallel that one of the student leaders told me after my first trip three years ago: “When you’re standing there, looking at a person and trying to work up the courage to go speak to them, that fear is Satan desperately trying to get you to walk away or just stay put. If Satan can keep you from opening your mouth and speaking the Word, he wins every time. But the second you overcome that fear, when you fight and strain and shove your first foot in front of the other and you walk over and you open your mouth, when you start that conversation… it’s over. Jesus comes and Satan has zero power over that conversation anymore.”
If you are thinking about going to Vegas next year but are unsure, or thinking about not coming back; if you’re not sure this is for you and might be afraid of what it means, know that fear is not of God. Once I was there, the first day, I remembered what it felt like to completely rely on God for a whole week, because you have no other options. It is eating from the Tree of Life, taking energy from the Holy Spirit of Jesus. But Satan is going to do his best to convince you of a hundred reasons why it’s not for you and you shouldn’t go. He knows he won’t have power once you’re there.
There are so many incredible stories I could tell, or any of us could. I wish I had the time. But they’re better told in person anyhow, so why not ask us? Ask us to tell our stories to you, and you’ll hear of God moving. But if you want to see it, you’ll have to join us next year.
Grace and Peace be to all of you who supported us from afar and kept up with us through this blog, and to the Beloved Church in Las Vegas. May you all continue to live and draw upon Jesus Christ for your every breath. Amen.
– Sterling Knight-Pinneo