1. Every culture and country reflect the character of God in such a unique & beautiful way.
- The people who live in the Himalayan region are so hospitable, generous, and kind. Our outreach team would be walking down the street, and the people would invite us into their home for tea. They would offer us snacks and be fully present to hear what we wanted to share. They weren’t consumed by their busy schedules or their phones, but they were interruptible. They stopped their day for us. I think that’s how Jesus lived when He was on the earth. He was interrupted by people all the time and stopped to listen and give them His attention. Jesus was generous with His time, and God’s heart is hospitable. Even though maybe Jesus didn’t have a physical home to welcome people into, He welcomed people into His heart and His life.
2. God is bigger and more powerful than I thought, & prayer actually works!
- Sometimes in America I put God in a box. I get comfortable going to church on Sundays, singing a few songs, and having Bible study once a week. I think about stories from the Bible of healings and miracles, and it seems like they were so long ago. On DTS outreach I saw the power of God up close! We walked up to one lady’s house, and she welcomed us in and served us tea. She was bent over and appeared to be in a lot of pain in her back and knee as she walked. We asked if we could pray for her, and she said yes, probably eager to see if anything would help the pain. After we prayed a simple prayer, she stood all the way up straight and said there was no pain in her back. She then started jumping up and down and said there was no pain in her knee either. This was a miracle! The same power of God that healed people in the Bible is able to heal people today too. Prayer really works, and this lady experienced God’s power. We all saw it in front of our eyes.
3. I can still show God’s love without speaking the same language.
- If I could have any superpower, it would be the ability to speak and understand every language. It is so frustrating to not be able to communicate with someone right in front of you. It can look comical as we both speak and try hand gestures and still have no idea what the other person is saying. I began learning small words or phrases in the local language, and some young people there knew English, but I learned that there are many ways to communicate, have fun, and show love without speaking the same language. Every time we were around children, we either played soccer, painted fingernails, danced together, played with puppies, shared snacks, threw a ball, played patty cake, took silly photos, or braided hair. These may seem like insignificant or silly moments, but I believe it really showed these children value by getting creative and spending time with them. It would have been easier to give up, so I really had to be intentional, but I believe Jesus would have done the same.
4. Material possessions don’t matter as much as I thought they did.
- There are lots of things I have to be thankful for living here in America, and I don’t realize it until I travel to a developing nation that lives mostly below the poverty line. I often enjoy my comfortable bed in my own room or drive my car without even thinking twice about how many people in the world don’t own a bed or car at all. I mostly eat the foods that I want, when I want them, and get to shower in hot water every day. I own plenty of clothes and use a washer and dryer to clean them. When we were on DTS outreach we often slept on the floor, showered in cold water, washed our clothes by hand, and ate rice every day. At first these things seemed rough and made me realize how much I take for granted. But as our team began to make friends and live alongside the people, those material things didn’t seem to matter as much. I saw firsthand that the things of God and the kingdom are way more important than any earthly possessions or conveniences. After all, the things here on earth will pass away, but treasures stored up in heaven will last for eternity. We met and shared life with many people who don’t own a lot of material things, but they’re some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. They have a passion for God and joy that comes only from Jesus. They have incredible faith and complete surrender to Him. They enjoy a simple life with God as their true Provider. I had to depend on God more than ever before because of the moments of being uncomfortable, and He was so kind to remind me of what really matters: people’s souls for eternity.
5. There are many people in the world who have NEVER heard of Jesus before, and they’re eager and ready to accept Him if someone will tell them.
- Often on DTS outreach we would go out in groups of 3 or 4 with a translator to meet local people and share about Jesus. On one particular day we felt like we were supposed to take a left toward a specific house. As we walked up, there was an elderly man sitting on the front steps. We told him we had some good news for him and asked if he had ever heard of Jesus before. He said no. He had never heard of who that was. He asked us to tell him, who is Jesus? Why should he know about Jesus? We proceeded to share the story of the gospel and how Jesus loved him so personally. We asked if he understood and wanted to receive Jesus. He began to cry and shared how his family was in a really hard situation with one son in jail and another son that had passed away. He said, “You say this Jesus offers peace and security of eternal life?” His heart was ready to receive. We prayed together and gave him a Bible and rejoiced together. We shared some other stories of what Jesus did while He lived here on earth, and we invited him to join us for church on Sunday. There are many people on the earth who have never heard of Jesus before, but they are ready to receive if someone will tell them!
6. God doesn’t NEED me, but He will use me if I’m willing.
- There’s a paradox here, and I often go back and forth between two thoughts. On one hand, in my pride, I began to think that God needed me to be a missionary in order for people around the world to be saved. It was so incredible to pray for people and see them get healed and saved right in front of me. Why aren’t more people being missionaries? God needs us to go tell people about Jesus! The other half of the time I think, “How could He possibly use me–nobody special–with moments full of insecurity, fear, and doubt?”
- The reality is: God is capable of revealing Himself to everyone on the earth, and 2 Peter 3:9 says that He doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Him, but instead wants everyone to come to repentance. But God loves to use us if we are willing. It really still blows my mind that God would use me. He loves it when we partner with what He’s already doing in the world and come alongside to join His work. He loves how it builds our faith and how it helps us grow to become more like Jesus. He loves to use our stories–full of brokenness, fear, and doubt–to impact others. Because all the glory goes to Him anyways. It’s not about me, or anything I do. It’s about Him. I was able to share my testimony on DTS outreach and see how God used my failures, shortcomings, and insecurities to bring breakthrough for others.
7. The things I’m passionate about aren’t an accident & God can use them in missions.
- I’ve been an athlete since high school, so I’m very passionate about sports and fitness. I have also loved missions since high school and felt called to be a missionary. I used to think that those two things don’t go together at all, but now I know that God gave me those passions on purpose to use sports to connect with people and share the gospel. On DTS outreach we were able to host some soccer games, volleyball tournaments, and dance fitness classes to connect with people, share our testimonies, and preach the Good News about Jesus. I’ve seen this in my friends with other talents as well. In missions there is a place for people who love children, people who love photography, people who love acting, people who love painting, people who love numbers and math, people who love cleaning or being behind the scenes and everything in between. Whatever your skill,gift or passion, God gave it to you on purpose, and He can use it to impact people for the Kingdom of God.