Happy Sunday, friends!! As you are reading this, I am on an island in the middle of the ocean for a week on a mission trip to Jamaica!!
I’m going on this trip with a ministry called Wesley at UGA with 70+ of my best friends in Port Maria, Jamaica. There are 3 other locations for this trip – St. Ann’s, Mandeville, and Montego Bay each with 70+ students. I decided to go on this trip on a whim. I was at a point where I was struggling to find community and my place at UGA, and everyone told me that you find the best community in Jamaica. I figured I’d sign up and see what happens – it’s a mission trip, what could go wrong. Something that was stopping me was the fear of missing out on a fun beach trip with my sorority sisters, but I realized that plenty of people go to the beach and don’t have the best time, but nobody has ever gone on a mission trip and regretted it. So I decided to go to Jamaica, put down my deposit, and now I’m here.
One of my small group leaders encouraged us to write down our expectations for this trip and what we want to see, and how we want to witness the Lord working. Then, when the week is over, we can go back and tangibly see all of the amazing things that happened. I think it’s a lot easier to see the answers that God provides us when we know exactly what we’re asking for. Apparently, one of her friends wrote down “see a shoulder kitty” as a complete joke, not even knowing what a shoulder kitty was, and she saw a man with a cat on his shoulder one day, so I figured anything could happen if I just have the courage to ask.
Throughout our meetings, we talked about the unbelievable capabilities of our God. If we know that God can do anything, we know that we can ask for anything. I’m not exactly sure what to expect, but I know I can expect big things.
- LEARN ALL 70+ NAMES OF THE PEOPLE ON MY TRIP & REMEMBER THEM WHEN WE GET BACK TO ATHENS – Friends who went on the trip last year have told me that it’s totally possible to learn everyone’s names by the end of the week because the sense of community is just so strong. I want to go beyond just learning names and be able to know everyone and ask them how they are when I pass them on the way to class, eat with them in the dining hall, and sit with them at Freshley when we get back. I’d say I’m pretty good at remembering people, but I also want them to remember me.
- FIND A FAMILY IN MY SMALL GROUP – I can already tell that the girls in my small group could be some of my best friends. I want to have deep and meaningful conversations while also being able to laugh until we cry – those are my favorite kind of people and the people that are my people.
- BE INSPIRED TO READ THE BIBLE – This is something I’ve always struggled with, and I’ve felt that reading the Bible is more of a chore and I never really get out what I should. I want God to transform my heart and have me rely more on the Bible and read His word because He want to speak to me not because that what Christians are supposed to do.
- LEARN FROM THE JAMAICAN PEOPLE – I want to be humbled and amazed by the people of Jamaica. Even though we’re supposed to be going there to help them, I think that I have a lot to learn from them.
- FIND THE COURAGE TO REACH OUT TO PEOPLE FIRST – I’ve always been more of a person who waits for others to say hi to me, but I want to be the one to say hi first. I also have this fear that nobody remembers me so I’m just gonna get over that.
- BE UNASHAMEDLY FAITHFUL – It can be hard to be so outspokenly faithful especially in college when party culture is so prominent. I’ve definitely experienced judgement from people when I tell them that, no, I didn’t go completely wild in college. Although it’s much easier to proclaim my faith in college when I’m at church or with like-minded friends, there are still some people that it can be hard to be unashamedly faithful around. I want to come back not afraid to show my love for Jesus.
- FIND PEACE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS – I want to physically feel the arms of God around me, and be calm knowing that He is the One I should lean on and forget all of my worldly concerns. I think that a lot of my anxiety and struggles stem from fear of finding my place in the world, but He’s been trying to help me find my place with Him.
Obviously, my first and foremost priority is to serve the Jamaican people and just love them. Some of these are a bit vague and unspecific, but I’m not even sure what to expect from my first mission trip. While I am hoping it’s everything I want and more, I will be okay if I come back and don’t feel like a completely new person. I will definitely update when I get back next week!! In the meantime, please pray for me, my team, and the people of Jamaica that this will be a week just full of the absolutely unconditional love of God!!!!! :)))))