Spiritual Practice

Tearing Down to Rebuild

Amanda Southall

As in previous years, my youth group traveled to Belize with all the gear we needed to work with missionaries and the community on various construction projects. When we arrived, however, we were asked to help instead with their summer camps, which had plenty of campers but no staff.


Amanda and team in Belize IMG_0291Suddenly, the exhausting prospect of swinging a hammer and pouring cement seemed much easier than the task of forming relationships, facilitating conversations, and shepherding Belizean children. Stunned by this sudden change, we quickly started planning. Games, Bible studies, and get-t0-know-you events began swirling around in our heads and somehow falling into a loose schedule.

At first, I worried that I wouldn’t have anything in common with the campers; we live totally different lives, speak a different language, and come from different cultures. Yet once they arrived, I soon found that we had a lot in common. It was clear that God was at work in our lives, and our team rapidly formed bonds with the campers.


We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers.
1 Thessalonians 1:2a (NRSV)

Since our work wasn’t construction, it was impossible to see tangible results; but we know lives were changed. Instead of building walls, we tore them down. We formed relationships, and shared the love of Christ in the process.


Amanda in Belize Ftr IMG_0227



CAUTION—GOD AT WORK: What walls in your life need to be torn down so that God can help you build new relationships or restore broken ones?


—from devozine (July/August 2009). Copyright © 2009 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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