I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not been for mission trips. More importantly, I wouldn’t be the Christian I am today had it not been for mission trips.
So it’s with great excitement that I say: I’ll be heading out on a week-long trip in July 2014. (!!!)
To give you a brief history of my experience on mission trips thus far in life, I went to the Dominican Republic in 2004 and Peru in 2005, both times with members from my church youth group.
My trip to the Dominican Republic was absolutely life-changing in so many ways. I have an entire journal full of everything God taught me/revealed to me/showed me during that trip. Most importantly, it was during that trip that I rededicated my life to the Lord. I had prayed and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior when I was 5, but I had been basically living the typical “good Sunday School kid” life up to that point, just kind of going through the motions without really pursuing a meaningful relationship with Him.
But God completely broke my heart (in the good way) during that trip. When I was least expecting it. He humbled me and showed me through a series of amazing events during the trip that it is NOT about me; it’s about Him. So I gave my life fully, 100 percent back to Him then. I’ve never looked back or been the same since.
I’ve previously mentioned part of my experience in Peru on this blog. God used the Peru trip to fully take me out of my comfort zone, more than I had been even before or in the DR. I was also heading into my senior year of high school that year, and during the trip God gave me so much peace about my future and He had a plan for me, even if I was struggling to trust Him with it.
Some photos from Peru (still searching for my DR photos!): The first one is with one of the local boys from the Peruvian church we partnered with (I still remember his ever-present eagerness to help and his name: Gustavo) and my sister (loved that we got to share such an experience together), the second is from some construction work we did at the church.
That brings us to present. I haven’t been on a trip since 2005. Eight years.
The funny thing is that, for several years now, I’ve constantly cycled between desperately wanting to go on another trip (but knowing I didn’t have the vacation time yet at my job) and being completely terrified (and thankful that said lack of vacation time was holding me back).
God really started tugging on my heart a few months ago to start praying about going a trip. I began the cycle again between YAY! and “nope, maybe I should wait another year or so…”
A total God-thing then happened when I became Facebook friends with a gal who works for e3 Partners Ministry. You may have also heard of them through their “I Am Second” ministry. The two of us have yet to meet in person (we share many mutual friends where I used to live in Texas), but I started noticing her Facebook posts about trips. I knew God was leading me to ask her more.
Long story short, I started praying more, focusing on whether God wanted me to go on a trip with her. I had complete and total peace about it, which is extremely rare for me, being the anxious person I generally am. I started off praying between Costa Rica (where she’s heading this next year) and Peru (also with e3 but being lead by a person from my old church in Brownsville). My heart wanted Peru–I was familiar with it, I loved the people there, I wanted to see more of that beautiful country.
But it was never meant to be Peru. I had zero peace about that, and every time I started to pray about it, it was always Costa Rica.
A lot of the details are still being worked out, but here’s a general idea of the trip I’ll be going on (from the e3 website):
|We are returning to San Ramon to continue the church planting work that we began in 2012. We will be using sports ministry to do outreach to the kids, and community health education in certain areas. Everyone will be involved in the home-to-home evangelism and the I Am Second discipleship that will be our main focus as we work with our local church partners to continue to spread the gospel, to disciple new believers and to plant new churches. Part of the team will also be working with the church plants from last year to continue their development and to make sure the replication process will lead to a new generation of church plants.|
|While you are in Costa Rica:|
|Each day you will partner with local believers to share the gospel in the community in exciting and creative ways. You will be helping either to start a brand new church, or strengthen an existing one. One day will be set aside for touring, shopping and free time.|
|Cost $2400 from Denver, CO contingent on airfare|
|$200 non-refundable deposit due with application|
|$1100 due 4/13/2014|
|$1100 due 6/12/2014|
|Cost includes leadership training, transportation, hotel, meals, transfers, evangelistic materials and follow up materials and funds.|
The one reason I’m particularly excited about going with e3 is because of their emphasis on partnering with churches and church planting during the trip. During the last two trips I was on, we did partner with local churches during our time there, but I’m fairly certain that the Peruvian church members were far more prepared to continue the ministry when we left than the DR church. I really want to be a part of something that goes far beyond just a bunch of Americans showing up for a week and then “see ya” and life goes back to the same old there. This is about expanding God’s kingdom continually.
Yes, I’ll have to raise about $2,400 to go on the trip. But I’m not freaking out about it. I’ve seen in the past how God moved and brought things together for my other two trips. Whether it was people generously straight up writing checks or asking me to weed their garden in exchange for a donation, God provided. I plan to submit my application by December 13, and I’ll need $200 to do so. If this is His will (and I have peace that it is), God will provide. I’ll also need to get my passport renewed (it expired since I last used it)–I have faith that God will provide the funds for that, too.
So many amazing things have been happening in my life recently in regards to God opening my heart to things, giving me the courage to ask for forgiveness, answering prayers, etc. I feel like He’s moving me into a new season of life. I don’t know what it is yet, but I firmly believe Costa Rica is a part of it.
All that to say, thanks for reading all of this. If you could be praying for me mentally, physically and spiritually as I continue to follow God in this, I would so greatly appreciate it. If you feel like God is calling you to donate in some way, shape or form, I would be humbled.
No matter what, this is the verse I’m clinging to: Isaiah 6:8- Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
This verse used to scare me so much. Even after my other two trips. But not anymore. Where He leads me, I will follow.