Perspective on beauty

As a summer missionary in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, I recently had the opportunity to view my mission field from two very different perspectives—high on top of a mountain and down in the city on the Gatlinburg Parkway, among the hustle and bustle of the crowds.

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My team hiked two miles to the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingman’s Dome. Before reaching the tower at the top, we stopped at an overlook in the trail. Suddenly I was there, fully at home in my surroundings. The problems, joys, and relationships of home faded at that moment into the beauty of God’s creation.

I gazed out over the slowly sinking sun of the horizon into the fog of the Smoky Mountains and pondered God’s power, his beauty and his love as we sang praises to him and meditated on his word. In this moment, God reminded me of my mission and purpose for the summer—to take the message of peace, joy and salvation found on top of the mountain down into the fast, loud and bright cities full of suffering and lost people.  

After finishing the hike, our team drove straight from the stillness of the forests and mountains into the loud parkway, full of those very people. What a wonderful vision for the summer!

As I go through my ministry’s orientation, discovering my gifts and strengths, and confronting my weaknesses, this mission remains my heart and focus. Isaiah 52:7 speaks of beautiful feet on the mountains which bring good news, proclaim peace, bring good tidings, proclaim salvation, and pronounce God’s sovereignty to the valleys below. As I begin to build relationships and participate in ministry this summer, I hope to have beautiful feet—beautiful, calloused and sore from fervently bringing good news, good tidings, peace and salvation to all I meet.

Shelby Newman, a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, is serving this summer with Go Now Missions in Gatlinburg, Tenn., with Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries.

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