I love how it’s becoming popular to go out and travel the world. It is so amazing what you can discover apart from every day life, especially for young people who generally aren’t tied down by responsibilities. Travel gives you a chance to experience different cultures and grasp a new understanding of the world around you. It can be, and very often is, life-changing.
Clearly there’s enough push to travel and experience life outside of your own community that there is no need for me to blog about that. However, as much as travel becomes popular, missions seemingly doesn’t grow. That’s where my problem with modern-day culture lies. As great as I believe travel can be, missions is greater. It is so important to learn to be a servant, and it is one of the most, if not the most, life-changing experience you can have.
Too often I see friends and family go into college with so many expectations of what they want to study, and end up changing direction later in life, drowning in the student debts of something they will never use and never truly wanted. If I had my way, I’d make a gap year required before entering college. There are so many ministries out there – ministries of every religion, ministries of every type of work – that make possibilities endless no matter who you are, what you’re interested in, or where you live.
There is no doubt about it – a year on the mission field will change your life, and for the better. It can make or break your conception of what you’d like to study, as well as deliver you a security in what God has gifted you in and called you to in your life. Ministry does not just mean working in an orphanage. It doesn’t even need to be international! All you need to do is type “ministries in [your hometown here]” into google and countless opportunities will unfold before your eyes.
Even if you are 100% sure of what you want to do with your life, I still recommend coming to the mission field. Becoming a servant and being fully dependent financially, emotionally, and spiritually, on God prepares you better than any class or training program ever could. The miracles I have seen here, the dependence and deep relationship I have developed with My Father, the responsibility and maturity that’s grown inside me, is something irreplaceable and unexplainably transformational.
The time I’ve spent here in Honduras I’ve met many people, from those who’ve stay a few days to those who’ve stay for years. I can say with complete transparency that I have not meant even one that hasn’t been changed in some way or shape by their time on the mission field. Some are changed greatly and change the direction of their lives, while some just start tithing more or praying more. Some just learn about a new culture and never return, while some become moved and continue to return over and over again. The majority, however, are changed significantly in an indescribable way – a way they can’t shake, a way they can never lose. They become connected to the place and the people so deeply it pushes them to stay connected for the rest of their lives.
Those who have known me most of my life can see the change in me. I’m not the person I used to be, and that’s not just because I live in a different country. One mission trip three and half years ago completely changed my life, my personality, my beliefs, and my view on the world. It wasn’t an overnight thing, but over time it shook my soul and awakened me to a life of peace, joy, and immense passion. To this day I am changing and transforming, and I am so grateful for it.
If there is no other advice I can give to – young people especially – anyone in general, it would be to get your butt down to the mission field and take a year to be a servant. You will not regret it.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”
– 1 Corinthians 7:17 (ESV)