After 7 weeks with feet stuffed in boots and only 15 kilos of possessions at my disposal, I am home free! Slowly readjusting to life without my family of 14 and a world where everyone speaks english and nobody greets you with a kiss!
Chile – nothing short of amazing. Teen Missions – nothing short of hard.
After one week of prepping for leadership (one week is obviously sufficient prep…) our scared looking team of 10 rocked up to boot camp. 4 leaders, 10 members. Strangers unified through the craziness that is boot camp.. Corny and cliche, but ah, it’s truth. (Mad props to Jeremy for the sweet footage!)
The end of boot camp brings us to Chile. A country diverse in terrain and thick with culture. And way more spanish than I was naively expecting. I mean, doesn’t everyone speak a little english? We were north of Santiago in a little town called Petorca. The majestic Andes to be our daily scenery for the next three and a half weeks.
Three and a half weeks is really not a lot of time in the big scheme of things. But three and a half weeks in Chile, with no technology, terrible water pressure, no personal space, 13 people constantly surrounding you,
annoying you, challenging you .. that is a big fat chunk of valuable precious time.
What did we do in Chile? Well the team worked their butts off renovating the local church. Leaving a ‘forever impression’ on ‘Iglesia Biblia Abierta’ in the teeny town of Petorca. I, on the other hand, cooked and baked alongside the one and only Miss Katie Wilkinson (a barrel of laughs that woman!), feeding 10 hungry teenagers day in, day out. Flip a stick, someone wife us.
Missions changes you, you can expect it to, I mean, you’re miles from your comfort zone, instantly grateful for (and often regretful over) your hundreds of possessions and thirty zillion times more aware of your need for God. Being my fourth trip with teen missions, I was oh so aware of what was going to go down and ready for the challenge, *cough cough*. About a week into our time in Chile, I sat during morning devotions complaining to God that I felt the same, like nothing was challenging me, nothing was changing me, nothing was lighting my heart on fire. I was afraid it would just be a ‘nice’ summer, with no significance spiritually. A complaint I hesitated to voice out loud, knowing what I was essentially asking for.
Cue tests, trials and challenges.
I learnt a bgillion little lessons this summer, and a couple of big fat ones. One for freebies, is that I didn’t need to go to Chile to get a shake up, to be challenged and changed and stretched and to grow. It just happened to be the circumstances that God chose as a tool. We don’t often tell God in our normal mundane lives that things aren’t challenging enough, that there aren’t enough trials. But we could, couldn’t we? We could invite him in daily to use life and all it’s sticky situations to mould us and change us. We don’t have to wait for the mission trips, the sunday sermons, the conferences. We should fear staying in the same place and not moving forward. It should concern us when we aren’t growing in the day-to-day mundane. Because the lessons are there. In the same way, we don’t need mission trips to bless people, or to reach the lost. The opportunities are there in the humdrum of everyday.
Don’t be scared of allowing God to work in your world. You’ll defs look better when he’s finished his handiwork.
While i’ve just made the point that you don’t need a mission trip to change your life or the life of someone else.. don’t forget the importance of missions. It’s been said that it’s the Great Commission not ‘the Great Suggestion’. Be willing to share the gospel wherever God wants you to. Get out of your comfort zone. If you want to know more about Teen Missions head to http://www.teenmissions.com.au/mission-trips. If you’re not a teen, teen missions desperately needs adults every year to give up their summers and lead teams. Consider it. It will legit change your life.