A Beautiful Opportunity to Serve
Hi! My name is Britnee Joaquin, and I am a sophomore here at NCU. I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua last year and the experience challenged and encouraged me to see the world, myself, and my fellow NCU students differently. There are many reasons to go on a mission trip – and so many doubts that fill your mind as you begin the application process – so I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on why you should go on one of the NCU mission teams!
God has given each individual person a unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities to use to build his kingdom. Mission trips are a beautiful opportunity to use what he has given you to serve others with, as well as finding out some gifts and talents that you didn’t realize you had! Jesus was the ultimate example of how we are to serve. He humbled himself and came to this earth to serve, not to be served. Jesus also commands us to make disciples of all nations. If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, you have a responsibility to share the Good News with people all across the world. I find it fascinating that even though God has enough power to accomplish everything on His own, he graciously allows us to be a part of the process of growth and hope wherever we are, and play a role in His work. And while we are serving others, we are impacted in the process!
We tend to get wrapped up in our lives at home and become comfortable with familiarity – going to the same places, interacting with the same people, and doing the same routine every day. But God can work in some incredible ways when we get away from the things that are comfortable; we get to uncover what we value and realize what we are pursuing with our lives.
For some, mission trips serve as a life reset. When you spend time with people who have little material possessions but have so much joy in the Lord and give so much love, you begin to see what is truly important in this life. Mission trips ask you to get out of your comfort zone in a lot of ways, from being surrounded by a new language, trying new foods, meeting new people, and sharing your heart with those around you. That can be scary. And risky. But the more you take those risks and take the step outside of your comfort zone, the more you realize that it is not actually that scary and you gain a new perspective on your life. You learn lessons you couldn’t otherwise, and you have the opportunity to overcome the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, and the fear of looking foolish. It is totally worth any risk.
Being a part of a mission trip will build lasting friendships. You will meet people of all ages where you are serving and be touched by their stories. You will gain friends in another part of the world, and can continue to build those friendships and keep in contact beyond just the time you spent there. But these new relationships are not only limited to the people you meet during the trip – they include your own team members. Your mission team will be made up of people you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. Mission teams are a unique mix of people from all around NCU – people with different backgrounds, majors, hobbies, interests, etc. – that unite around a common purpose for the specific trip. In preparation for the trip, you will get to know each other, pray with one another, and learn about what you will get to do together. During the trip, you will get to be out of your comfort zones together – traveling together, learning a new language together, trying new foods together, using your gifts and talents together, praying together, sharing the things you are learning together, and ultimately, growing together.
In Nicaragua, one of our goals each day, no matter where we were going to serve that day or what we were going to do, was to get to know one team member better. There were several opportunities each day, while raking leaves, repairing desks, or picking up trash around an elementary school, that we could split up in pairs and be intentional about building relationships within our team.
Those friendships don’t end when you return home. After the trip, you can check in with one another, process what you learned together, and tell stories over and over together. It’s always a joy to see and spend time with the people that I went to Nicaragua with around campus. We love reminiscing about that week together and we always find ourselves dying with laughter over all the crazy things that happened.
If there is any desire in your heart to go on a mission trip, I urge you to not ignore it. There is a reason God is putting it on your heart. I challenge you to stop making excuses to not go. It’s too expensive. I don’t have the time. I’m not ready yet. The truth is, you will never be completely ready. Let this be the first step out of your comfort zone. I promise you it will be worth it.
Whether or not you think you’re ready…just go!