3 years ago. Wow. Time flies. 3 years ago I went on my first mission trip to Kitwanga, Canada. Kitwanga is a First Nations village in Northern British Columbia. For months and months, my team planned lessons and made crafts, we talked the trip to death, and I was becoming more and more anxious to leave and go change the world in Kitwanga. Of course along with this anticipation I had boatloads of fear, maybe pure terror. I was leaving the country for 10 days, with no family members, going to a place where I was going to possibly be unsafe, and for sure going to be uncomfortable.
As I agonized over the trip, the days flew by and suddenly the trip was a week away. Then it was 5 days away. And then it was tomorrow. I had packed 3 weeks in advance, I’m a little OCD. But still I felt unprepared. I knew God would use me, but that really brought no comfort.
At this point in time, my faith was rocky. I thought going on mission trips was what made me closer to God, and I basically had to win his favor by serving. As I’ve gone on more trips to Canada as well as Nicaragua, I’ve learned how wrong I was. God doesn’t care where we serve, who we serve, or how long we serve, all He wishes is that we do it in his name. He wants to me to get out of bed in the morning and say “Jesus, work through me today.” He doesn’t want us to impress him. There is no need for us to impress him. When we think about God in our human brains, we confine him and his love into a small space that doesn’t truly capture him. Our human brains can’t accept the fact that Jesus loves us no matter what. What?! How crazy is that?! It took me a loooooong time to figure that out, and truthfully sometimes I still wrestle with it.
As I said I hadn’t learned these lessons yet. I hadn’t figured out how to give God control, and how to properly glorify him. I was 14 years old, I thought I was going to go change the world. And my plans to change it didn’t involve God, they mainly involved me relying on my own strength.
When we arrived in Kitwanga, a 24 hour drive later (!!), I started my mission of changing Kitwanga, or so I thought.
As our day of vbs started, I saw a little boy walk down the rotted stairs in the musty church basement. He was incredibly shy, hiding behind his parents and siblings. Immediately I was drawn to him, I didn’t know why at the time, but it was all God’s plan. I know this for sure looking back now.
I tried to weasel my way into his life, but he shut me out. He was too shy to talk to me. But suddenly something clicked and instantly we became best friends. I honestly couldn’t tell you how it happened. It was nothing short of a miracle, truly from God.
Thats where this story truly ends. I wish I could tell you stories of what happened that weeks but it was a blur. All I know is it was full of love and laughter. I remember thinking multiple times that week, “If this is what loving your own children is like, sign me up!” The love I felt the week I was in Kitwanga was incredible. It’s always good to look back on past experiences, because I see now how arrogant and foolish I was for thinking I would improve Kitwanga. Through this trip, God improved me. I didn’t change the world, but God changed my world, and he did it all through a little boy.
Above: year 3 with with my buddy