About two months ago I had the immense pleasure of spending a week and a half in Scotland on an outreach trip. It was much the same as a missions trip. We had a very wide range of fields we worked in, such as school, in the church, with the elderly, with toddlers, and most everything in between. It was quite the adventure. I was incredibly blessed by the experience and hope I was a blessing to others as well. It was an emotional roller coaster, but I enjoyed every moment. There is something about an experience that stretches you that makes it so much better. I have never been put out of my comfort zone so many times in such a short period (but in the best way possible). Personally, I did not go looking for opportunities to share my life story in front of thirty or more people. I do not particularly love doing new things, like gigantic live paintings (see youtube link below) in front of one hundred students without practice. Thankfully every situation turned out well, but overall I cannot tell you how much the experience truly meant to me.
It began with the people. God amazingly blesses us with the people he puts into our lives. I was one of six girls on my team. An unlikely group of near strangers turned into an amazing group bonded by hard work, laughter, and love for each other and the Lord. The pastor my team worked with could not have more perfect. A father of two grown boys, he was way out of his comfort zone with six ladies. Di is David’s wife. She is so kind and incredibly funny. Their home was our home for the ten days we spent there and even when we were giggling, dancing, playing record albums, painting, or making sandwiches they loved having us all the same. (Or at least I hope so…) We grew incredibly close and started calling them mom and dad by the end of the week. Then there was our extended team, made up of Lynsey, Laura, and Robbie. They helped with driving, support, organisation, and making our team a hundred times better. I am so glad I had the chance to get to know them because they made me feel comfortable and when I was nervous about anything, their encouragement and smiling faces eased my worries about the task at hand. Then there was the church family. They opened up their homes for us to stay in and fed us amazing food. If I were to thank them solely for the food they provided, it would need to be one ginormous thanks. That was just how they cared for our physical needs. I know they prayed—and continue to pray—for us often. As well, they provided transportation for us, cared for us, went out of their way to get us resources like church cookbooks with Scottish delicacies in them, and were genuinely interested in us. Even simply their interest would have been incredible, but they went above and beyond for my team and I.
The second big part of outreach was what my team did. As I said previously, we did quite a variety of things and like most would, I have my favourites. Everything we did was very fun, but my top four were giving my testimony at the Sunday evening service, visiting some of the church members in their homes, doing the live painting at the school assembly, and spending time with the Youth Fellowship. They were all rewarding in different ways and taught me different lessons. Giving my testimony showed me that my trials and the lessons I have learned, even in just my short 18 years of life, can make an impact on others lives. Visiting the church members blessed me by showing me that even those who are blind or struggling with old age or loss have joy throughout their undesirable circumstances. Doing the live painting showed me that artistic talents can be used to impact others in Jesus’ name. And spending time with the Youth Fellowship helped me realise that generation holds the next missionaries, pastors, evangelists, business men and women, teachers, and leaders. They are those that will impact their peers, children, and even their elders in whatever circumstances life leads them through.
Because of this experience, I can definitely say I have been changed. I am not sure in exactly what ways, yet, but I can say that I believe that it was for the better, and there is none to thank for that but God.