This past summer I went on my 4th mission trip, this time to Nicaragua, a country in Central America. I went on a team of 5 girls (myself included), 2 men (one a pastor and one a guide), and a woman. This team was through my church and was the first team taken to Managua, Nicaragua.
This trip was scary. I’d gone on missions trips before but I never needed to get vaccines for foreign illnesses. I could get malaria, and would have to wait a year from when I returned to know if I had it (uh scary… I still don’t know if I have it). I was flying 3000+ miles from my family and my security blanket. I’ve never been a homebody, so I wasn’t homesick, just scared.
I had taken 3 years of Spanish, but it had been years since I had practiced. Needless to say I was VERY rusty. I was scared I would have no impact where I was serving because of the language barrier.
I was scared I wouldn’t like the food.
I was scared that I would be so incredibly hot and miserable (I was definitely hot, never miserable though).
I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pay the $2000 for the trip.
I was scared our team wouldn’t bond or get along.
Are you seeing the point? I was terrified, in nearly every aspect of the trip.
This is a prayer I wrote in my journal 8/3/16:
Lord, there are 17 days until I am on a plane flying to a dangerous foreign country to serve you and love others through and like you. God, am I ready? Is my faith in the right place? Will I be able to communicate your love through my flawed being? It seems so far away and yet so close God. Help me prepare to serve. Put my heart in the right place. Help me to move out of my comfort zone. I thank you for this opportunity and I pray you reveal any future plans for me regarding serving and missions.
This is why I LOVE keeping a prayer journal. It’s crazy to literally see what I was thinking and feeling. And I’m often dumbfounded by what I write, like that is so powerful it must be God’s words not mine.
To try and combat the fear I was feeling, I planned. I planned every detail I could about this trip. I also turned to scripture. Some of my favorite being Ephesians 6:7-8,
Serve whole-heartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
Another being Mark 16:15
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
These verses were how I knew this trip was God’s plan. The Lord rewards believers for the work we do, through Him. For me this is missions trips, that’s what I love doing. And it’s not for everyone, but find your niche, and give glory to God through all you do. We know God never gives us more than we can handle, and if he commands us to go and preach, it is not too hard. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) right? I knew God would give the strength to endure through this trip, and he would give me the right words and actions to glorify Him.
This post is just about the prep for this mission trip. I will be doing more posts about the work we did, the tourist activities we did, and how it has affected me after the trip (maybe more, who knows). But for now here’s this.
I hope this gives you comfort in serving God, it doesn’t need to be abroad but if you have the opportunity I highly recommend you take it. Trips like this has changed my life.