As we have been transitioning back to Greenville at the end of July, we had been looking forward to our daughter taking part in her first mission trip. This five-day trip was a great opportunity for Hannah to re-connect with her old friends and leaders in student ministry, and to connect with new ones.
She was excited when she first signed up for the trip back in the spring, but over the next couple of months, she grew less excited. Being more on the shy and hesitant end of the spectrum (much like her dad), she didn’t know what to expect.
However, her enthusiasm was renewed when she got to be around other Grace Church students who came to Allendale on their mission trips. Although we had plenty of Grace teams come down over the past couple of years, Hannah now saw them through the lens of what it looks like to be a teenager on a mission trip.
God used this trip to help her grow – in Christ and in community – as I wrote about in Beautiful Underneath. And as we have continued to talk about her experience during the week, I asked her what she learned about God, about others, and about herself.
I love how she processed this question:
God: Primarily through the evening teaching (from the book of Corinthians) sessions, Hannah learned that God is there with her in tough situations. She was able to apply this during one of the service opportunities. She didn’t feel comfortable (socially and emotionally) at one of the job sites, but then she remembered the teaching and did what she needed to do.
Others: Another point from the teaching was that short-term discomfort for yourself can bring others pleasure. Again, this truth sunk in during a couple of the service opportunities. She saw what she was doing as a way to bless others, and to show the love of Jesus, even if it wasn’t how she preferred to serve.
Herself: One of the final points from the evening worship sessions was to “stay on the mission trip.” The students were encouraged to keep serving others, even when then get back home and get settled in their normal routines.
I am thankful for the staff and leaders of Grace Church Student Ministry, who sacrificed by pouring into her and her peers on this mission trip. You are a blessing to so many families like mine!
I’d love for you to read my guest post on the Grace Women’s Ministry blog, where I explain more about how the church has helped us grow. And I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.