In junior high and high school, I went on four different mission trips. Two of them were what we called “local”. They were in Kentucky. The other two were further away, Toronto and Mexico (Southern Texas).
If you’ve ever considered going on a mission trip of any kind, I would highly recommend it. There really is nothing that compares to the experience as far as I know. You create bonds with people that you never would have imagined bonding with.
The two local trips were work trips. We spent most of the time doing stuff like painting, roofing, siding, or anything else that needed to be done in the area. We also had devotional time together and time to worship with our team. It was a time to develop a true community among believers. Of course it was also a time to develop crushes on people that we’d never see again too.
The other two mission trips had a different element to them. The Toronto trip was all about interacting with other people. We helped out at soup kitchens, and packed lunches that we distributed to homeless people on the street. It was really an eye opening experience.
The Mexico trip was different altogether. We did the standard work trip stuff. We also held a couple of vacation Bible schools for the kids in the area. However, one thing made this trip different than all the rest. On one of the nights, one of my friends gave his life to Christ when the whole group was together. This was truly a time for celebration, but for some reason I didn’t feel anything.
After everyone dispersed from the emotionally charged evening, I went upstairs to where we were sleeping. I just sat there and wondered what was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I feeling the emotion that everyone else felt? Maybe I didn’t say the right words or do the right thing to become a Christian.
All of a sudden a wave of emotions hit me. The realization that my friend and I would get to spend eternity together in Heaven was overwhelming. I couldn’t keep it together. This was a change that would effect both our eternities. It was at that moment that I went downstairs with my eyes filled with tears, found our youth leader, and recommitted my life to Christ.
While this life event didn’t necessary reveal an additional purpose, it did renew the sense that I should be living for something bigger than myself and that I couldn’t and shouldn’t attempt to do life on my own. I’ve been reminded of this recently as I try to determine what I should do with my career. I feel a strong sense that I should be doing more than what I am. I should be doing something that makes a difference in the life of others. At the same time, I have to have patience and seek the will of God in my life concerning these things.
As one of my friends recently put it, “have you ever noticed how easy it is for us to say that we should have patience and wait on God, but when it comes to doing it, it’s not that easy to put into practice?”