Hey, guys! Welcome to the blog! It’s been a hot minute since I posted here, which wasn’t entirely intentional, but the break was helpful while I finished my freshman year of college. So much has happened since I last wrote, which means I’ve got a lot of fresh stories to tell and life lessons to share 😊
My last adventure was actually a mission trip (as an internship) to none other than New York City. I had never been on a mission trip outside of my own city before, so this was definitely out of my experience level. I was able to learn a LOT about urban ministry and the different cultures and religions that call NYC home, which was very interesting and eye-opening for me. I also had never been to the Big Apple before, so I was able to cross several tourist-y things off my bucket list, haha.
My plan is to share several stories with y’all over the coming weeks, and what God taught me through each of my encounters on the trip. I was there for three weeks, so I have plenty to say! I’ll also be sharing pictures on my email list, so make sure you’re subscribed to get the whole experience. 😉
A main takeaway of the trip—a “defining lesson,” if you will—was definitely learning the importance of getting out of my head and praying instead. Before we went out one night, our leader encouraged us not to try to force anything to happen, but instead to pray and wait on God to see what He wanted to do. It was a lesson I had already been learning on the trip, but his encouragement reinforced it and highlighted it for me.
There were many times I found myself wondering what I was supposed to be doing, or how I could be more helpful, or how I could learn more or do more or say more. It was exhausting, especially as an introvert, always trying to bring my A-game and never feeling like it was enough. Everyone else was so good at ministering to people, and I just….wasn’t.
However, the times I had my greatest encounters were the times I stopped trying to make things happen. One particular encounter, definitely my favorite of the trip, happened late at night in the Bronx while my team was out with a food truck serving hot dogs. I was manning the supply table, handing out bags of cosmetics and clothes, while I watched everyone else engaging in conversation. It had been a long day and I was not in a particular mood to talk to anyone this late at night, but I asked God to send someone anyway. And sure enough, He did. A lady walked over to the table a few minutes later and asked for prayer that she would find her way back to God, because she felt that she had gone too far and didn’t know how to break free from her addictions. I went around the table to put my hand on her shoulder while a teammate prayed for her, and she said afterwards that she felt it was a God-thing that she had met us that night. I couldn’t have agreed more, and I still pray for her by name.
Many of my other team members had great encounters that night as well, and even though it was our latest outreach of the entire trip—we didn’t get back until after midnight—it was so worth the lack of sleep the next morning. I arrived to the site tired and discouraged, but left with a little more joy and love (even though I was still very much tired XD).
I have other stories as well, such as the night we went to Union Square to set up a “prayer station” (basically a table with a banner inviting people to come get prayer). It was a day or two after the Uvalde shooting, so people were on the square’s platform sharing their thoughts and honoring the victims. I had been praying for Texas already (I was actually at a prayer service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle the day it happened, which was where I had heard about it), but being in that atmosphere helped me to pray with more focus.
I was worried that everyone would be too absorbed in the platform speakers and wouldn’t bother to come get prayer, but God was like “don’t you think I can bring people to you when the time is right?” And He did.
We were getting hardly anyone at the table, like I feared, but then a new college graduate came over and asked for prayer for his mom, who was with him visiting from out-of-state for his graduation ceremony. I still remember her name too, and try to remember to pray for the both of them. We were blessed to pray for other individuals that night, but I distinctly remember those two because they came at a time when I was looking for God to move instead of trying to will something to happen on my own.
Through everything that happened on the trip, I learned that ministry is ultimately a lot of chaos and figuring things out as you go, which doesn’t always fit my personality. I like to have things organized and know every last detail before I set out to do something, so winging it wasn’t always super fun. We had some miscommunications, and we had some drama. But we were able to push through all of it and accomplish what God had for us there.
Prayer is definitely not one of my strong points, and I often find myself wondering if it’s even making a difference. It’s hard to walk by faith when I don’t see anything happening. But this trip was a good reminder at how much more fruitful our lives can be if we rely on the power of prayer more than our own strength.
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.Zechariah 4:6b
We aren’t called to do things for God, we’re called to do things with God.
Have you ever been on a mission trip? What are some things God has taught you through ministry? Do you have any similar stories to share? Let me know in the comments down below!
More stories to come, so stay tuned! Excelsior, Ambassador.