22 Aug Lessons from a High School Mission Trip
Sam Middleton attends Grace Church Pelham and is involved in our high school ministry, Forge. This summer, Sam had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua with 20 other students and leaders of Grace Church. Here are his thoughts on his experience there.
The trip was an amazing opportunity. One that helped me grow as a leader and as a follower of God. During my trip, I experienced situations that were both trying and humbling. I now truly see the world as God’s effortless creation.
During the trip, my group focused on the attributes of God by studying The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. From studying this book, I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of how big God is and how perfect He is.
One big realization I got from the teachings on the trip was that God’s plan is somehow perfect for everyone. He works to bring us closer to Himself through means that we couldn’t possibly understand while they are happening. Things that may seem bad to us while they come to pass in our lives are intricately connected to the work God has for us to do. I find this to be so comforting knowing that God has my best interest in mind through whatever suffering happens in my life.
I find this to be so comforting knowing that God has my best interest in mind through whatever suffering happens in my life.
Over the week, I also came to realize my prideful character. This became very clear to me when I had to come under the authority of one of my peers for the entire week. I began to question why a kid my age had got to lead the rest of us. God made it quite evident to me that I was being immature, and I began to realize it was a growing opportunity for myself. I also came to see what a good opportunity it was for my friend to get to lead his peers.
The trip was a very formative and humbling experience for me personally. I realized that, as Romans 12 would put it, I don’t need to think that I’m better than I really am. Overall for myself it was a fantastic opportunity to learn and to grow and, more importantly, to begin to realize just how big, loving, and perfect God is.
The culture in Nicaragua is different in many ways from the culture of the United States. The ways they spend their time are quite different from the ways that we do. The kids roam unaccompanied as they please. The church there is also very prominent, and it seems as though most communities will flock from all around to come to the nearest church.
I think that in the US we can learn a lesson from the people in Nicaragua.
People in Nicaragua don’t view time as a valuable commodity in the same way we do in the US. Here, we are always rushing and always busy. It is a very different story in Nicaragua. As one of our leaders described it, they work on “Nica Time” which means things will get started 30 minutes or an hour later than they were scheduled to start. In that respect, Nicaraguans savor the time they have and don’t rush around and try to be busy all of the time.
I think that in the US we can learn a lesson from the people in Nicaragua because we often rush through important things such as studying our Bibles and praising God and giving Him thanks. We go through the motions and it turns something awe-inspiring into a mundane act we are just supposed to do every day, or every Sunday. In Knowledge of the Holy the point that we can never truly grasp just how great and amazing God is, is often reiterated. But that shouldn’t stop us from praising Him in any situation and learning about Him and spreading His Word.