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SHORT TERM MISSIONS TRIP REFLECTION

Mission-Minded

 

Summer 2019

First and foremost, thank you for all your prayers leading up to the trip and during the trip, I am beyond grateful for them. Second, thank you so much for your support for this trip as well, I couldn’t have done it without you. About two weeks after I came back, a friend asked if I were to describe this past summer in one word what would it be. Well, I thought of two, and if you were to ask how this trip was for me I would describe it in two words.

 

First, assurance. Coming into this trip I was extremely nervous that when I started teaching I would learn that I don’t like it, that I don’t like teaching a language, that I can’t teach and that I just wasted the last three years. Though after this trip, I can say I do want to teach English, in fact, I love it. The second word is grateful. I am grateful for my school and the past three years with all the classes that prepared me for this trip. I am grateful for my family and friends, their support through prayers, financial, and encouraging me. I am grateful for the team and all their help and support during my time there and the good times and memories I've had with them. I am grateful for all my students for letting me teach and for their patience while I taught. Also, for the opportunity to get to know them. Lastly, I am grateful for God and his sovereignty while I prepared for this trip, and for my time there with the people, in the class and my time back. I am grateful I was able to do this trip and throughout my time there He constantly reminded me to rely on Him and that He is my source of strength and comfort.

 

This was the first time I was in an Eastern cultural context and coming in I was excited and interested to see what life is like there. This was an area where I only got a small handful of views from different forms of media and not the full picture. After talking to people who have been there and who are currently working there I was excited to begin to learn from the culture and the people about who they are and to see how God is working there. Something I learned from the people is what respect means. What does respect look like to people older and wiser than you, but also what does shallow respect, or two-faced respect look like? This observation brought on questions about how is respect treated in their culture and our culture. Is it earned or bought? Is it brought on by your family, profession, age, or gender? Is it respect built on pride or humility? Does respect come from tradition and/or religion?

 

While I was there I was able to be present and listen to two spiritual conversations of the difference between Islam and Christianity, and also who Jesus is. Both sides agreed that Jesus was a person, but is he God? Yet, before you can say Jesus is God one must admit there is something internally wrong with them. Why can they not do good continuously? Why can’t they fix themselves? Once you accept that you have this burden of sin you cannot escape who can help you? In one conversation I heard one missionary was trying to explain to another that we cannot fix ourselves and in the end that won’t get us into Heaven. And in the other, one has understood that we have sinned and that on our own we can’t get rid of it, but now there is the search for who is Jesus. I am grateful I got to listen to these conversations and learn from them.

 

Before I began this trip I was told by the team there that this is a city where the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, and they are right. This is a country filled with beautiful people and I learned a lot from them, but they are lost, and I pray for the team there, for the believers there, and for the future workers going there that they continue to be salt and light to them.