To be completely honest, I went into this summer with really low expectations.
I may have talked it up like I expected God to do some amazing things.
But if someone had looked me in the eyes and asked me to honestly tell them what I thought God would do through me this summer… I probably wouldn’t have had much to say.
Sure, I couldn’t help but to learn tons about myself and about my Father in heaven. I might even get to physically help some people through the medical side of the mission trip. But really, could God use a handful of college kids to actually change people’s lives in the Philippines?
My parents spent eight years working with an unreached tribe in Venezuela, but were forced out of the tribe before they were able to chronologically teach the redemptive story. I saw very little fruit come from that, so I let it taint my view of missions in general. The following four years we spent in Mexico were also fruitless because I was to busy chasing after my own happiness to let God use me. Even last summer’s stay in Honduras didn’t really help to raise my expectations. I was exactly where God wanted me to be, but my own fears of failure crippled me and didn’t allow me to see all that God had for me to do down there.
All of my experience told me that long-term missions didn’t seem to yield much fruit, so why would a short-term trip be any different?
That was my outlook as I stepped out of the car for orientation in Alabama. But it didn’t last long, that night during worship I stood side by side with over 170 other college kids as we sang praises to our Father. Something compelled me to open my eyes and turn around to look at the uplifted faces behind me. And in an instant I felt my Father say to me,
“This is my army, Nothing can stand against this generation, All of hell trembles at their song.”
But even this didn’t prepare me for the work God planned for my team and I to do in our village. Three to four bible-studies every day, leading house-church every Sunday, teaching in the elementary schools, discipling anyone who wanted to walk with God more closely, and trying to love everyone even when we physically and emotionally felt like we had nothing left to give.
When we first stepped foot in the village I wasn’t sure there was a single follower of Christ there in E.G. Montilla. When we waved good-bye for the last time there were at least twenty-five people who had worshiped with us at our house-church on Sunday and who wanted to continue walking with their heavenly Father in the ways God had taught them through us.
In less than two months God used us, a group of ill-equipped, inexperienced college students, to advance His kingdom in a marvelous way. People have their entire eternities re-written because of what God spoke through us.
That utterly overwhelmed my expectations.
I serve a God who can do anything.
To Him be all glory.