I went on my first international mission trip in December of 2013.
I dreamt about it for weeks, and I wasn’t sure what to expect on the entire plane-ride over, but I was very excited about what the Lord was going to do through me to help the people there!
Our hosts were absolutely phenomenal. I had never seen two people more passionate about their community and reaching the lost and hungry souls that surrounded their neighborhood. Over time, I would come to learn that there was much more about their character that would stand out to me throughout our trip.
As the days went by, I noticed that this couple never seemed to get stressed out! We would be minutes away from missing our cab or being late to an important meeting, and both of them were always so calm! And you know what? We would always make it on time. They had six American youth under their care for 2 weeks, in addition to two of their own young children, and they never seemed to worry about anything. They just trusted the Lord to meet all of their needs. Every day, I kept seeing this verse play out in their lives:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. | Philippians 4:6-7
There was one day in particular that this worry-free attitude was exercised so beautifully in their lives. We were getting ready to head to the Vacation Bible School that our group was hosting. Most of the group left to set up early and two of us stayed behind to finish up a few other things with our hostess and her 2-year old son. All of a sudden, we heard an ear-splitting scream coming from her little boy’s mouth in the living room. When we rushed over, we found that he had fallen and hit his forehead on the corner of a baby-sized wooden chair. We could tell from the screaming that this was no ordinary hit, and I felt my heart fall into my stomach while I watched the welt on his head grow bigger and vibrantly blue, until it looked like a giant, blue tennis ball sitting against his teeny head.
Of course his mother was afraid, but her immediate response was a calm prayer. We iced his head, and despite his screaming, his mom continued to pray. I was amazed. She wasn’t reacting the way that I think I would have if I’d seen my baby’s head grow to that size. We called her husband and I thought he was going to flip out once he saw (and heard) his baby screaming. However, to further my amazement, her husband walked into the small apartment, kissed his baby’s bruised head, and smiled as he prayed calmly over him.
No stress. Just prayer.
Before we knew it, the baby stopped screaming, and within a couple of hours, his head returned back to its normal size. I had the opportunity of seeing him last year and he’s the sweetest little boy!
Have you ever thought about how your actions might be affecting the other believers in your life? There’s a reason we are called to be unlike the rest of the world around us – we have Christ to display in our lives! I know it’s much easier to not worry about that part or to think that you can just do that later on in life. But the truth of the matter is this:
life is short.
God will give you opportunities to live by His example, but only if you’re wanting to be used.
I had set out for my mission trip thinking about all of the ways that God was going to use me for the people there. But in many ways, it was the opposite that happened! Amazing things take place when we act on what God teaches us in His Word. It’s because of my hosts’ Christ-centered attitude in all circumstances that I’ve been able to change many bad habits in my own life. I’m so thankful that God uses regular people to minister to us, even when we least expect it!
So how will you impact and encourage the other believers around you? Brainstorm some ideas, create a plan and make it happen! God will take your willing heart to serve Him and do so much more with it than you could ever possibly imagine!