When I was a freshman in college, I was invited to go on a mission trip to Quito, Ecuador. We were to visit The Alliance Academy International, a boarding school for children of missionaries. Jumping at the chance to go abroad, practice my limited Spanish, work with children, and stand on the Equator, I sent letters requesting prayer and financial support, and eagerly packed my bags. I was ready to love on kids whose parents spent their lives sharing the Gospel. Planning lessons and games to play with the children, I prayed that our team would be a blessing to those we came in contact with. In short, I was a cocky nineteen year old who figured my participation in a mission trip would change people for Jesus.
I think most people who haven’t been on a mission trip probably feel the same way I did: we’ve heard stories of poverty and believe we are blessed to live in America. Our hearts are broken for those who don’t know Jesus. We prepare to go on a mission trip with the hope of changing lives forever. The focus is on us changing others. Funny thing though, if you talk to someone who has been on a mission trip, she will tell you she was the one who was changed; she was the one blessed by those she served; she was the one who learned more about God.
While in Ecuador, I taught the lessons I’d prepared and played the games I’d planned. I passed out the gifts I’d brought the children, I gave my testimony, and I sang the Spanish worship songs we’d practiced. I accomplished everything I’d set out to do. It was deemed a “successful mission trip.”
God, however, as He often does, had greater plans. Yes, He changed lives in Ecuador. He spoke to hearts. In reality, though, He could have done those things in Ecuador without me! However, because He is such a lover of my soul, God used the mission trip to pursue me. He used that trip to confirm my passion for teaching, He put a longing in my heart to learn another language, and He encouraged me to be bold when sharing my faith. He reminded me that my plans need to come from His desires for my life.
Whether you are a former missionary, someone who has participated in mission trips, or a woman seeking God’s purpose for your life, I encourage you to attend ABOUND at Valley View on November 7th, at 7:00pm. Abound is an event designed to bring the women of Valley View and its missionaries together! During the night, you will hear from Valley View women who have just returned from a mission trip in Guatemala and discover upcoming opportunities for you to be involved in missions. Together, we will play games, enjoy cheesecake, and worship our Maker.
See you there!