I’m heavily involved in our church’s youth ministry … So, I had to go.
Our group needed a female adult leader … So, I had to go.
I have missions experience … So, you get it.
Thoughts such as “you’re not going to gain anything,” and “this trip is for the kids,” crept into my mind all the time.
Boy, was I wrong.
Time was drawing near and we met the other trip participants from across the U.S. The Engage program led us through excellent preparation, and I prayed for God to do big things for this group. I told the Father that I wasn’t sure why I was there but to restore me in child-like spirit and grant me kindness and joy.
Then He captured my attention with 2 John: 8 …
"Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but we may win in full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the father and the son."
I was in a place of little joy and exhaustion from preparing for this trip on my own – without asking for the Spirit's presence with me. It was very clear to me in that moment of reading 2 John that I was intended to be on this trip … never obligated.
Adult leaders are just as susceptible to the Holy Spirit’s movement as teenagers on mission trips. Don’t ever forget to ask God to go before you on your trips because He taught me so much about His presence for our trip to Honduras last year. We went every step of the way with Him and I felt Him speak to my heart in more ways than I ever have before. He answered hard questions, He provided and proved His goodness over and over again.
Leading mission trips means putting yourself in the game and seeing what your young people see. I thought I was above God working in me on this trip – or being molded in new ways as an adult – but I’m so grateful that He rescued me from that distant mindset.
The trip is over, but God is continuously using it to this day to mold my craving for child-like faith and enhance my desire to have Him go before me all the days of my life.
Talley Hanson is a high school ministry volunteer with Cornerstone Christian Church in Shiloh, Illinois.