Power Point of Nicaragua Mission Trip – first draft…

Nicaragua Mission Trip

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Why did I go to VOM in the first place??

There are many reasons that I could say that I went to VOM. I had friends that were going, I missed not going earlier this year, I saw it as a chance to get to know some people better, this trip would count toward three credits for school, and of course my favorite reason was that my best friend was going along with me:)

These are pretty good reasons, and they were all a part of the reason that I wanted to go. But I think my true reason was to gain another view of the ministry. I had just spent a week in Nicaragua working in the field, and now I wanted to see what happened when you area supporting the field workers.

It truly is the scenario that Jesus told his disciples. “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 The laborers need support and that is the vision of VOM. The area the servants to the servers. Yes, they do everything they can to spread the Gospel, but instead of only doing direct evangelism, they are helping others reach their country men and provide a way for their needs to be met. I would also have to say that they have a good system on how to work with the people that they serve. In the area of volunteers, I think that they have also mastered the art of delegation and are great to work with if you are an over achievers type of team:)

My personal thoughts about VOM, I don’t know how God plans to use me, but I do know that He did not place VOM in my life for no reason. Maybe, it is to bring awareness to my own faith and how I sometime take it for granted and that someone pays the price everyday for their faith. Maybe, they are part of the plan that God has for my life. My future goals has been confirmed this summer. I have felt the Lord calling me to missions and being able to work both behind the scenes and in the field was a great experience to take part in. I don’t where I will serve, but I am willing to do whatever He calls me too.

Regardless of the reasons that I went to VOM, I was blessed by my last trip. Not only did I grow in areas of my own life, but I also got the chance to see His hand on other people’s lives and that is sometimes the greatest blessing of all.

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Pictures of Nicaragua…

I have finally had the chance to post some of the pictures from Nicaragua. They are on the Picture page. Seeing them reminded me of all the things that I experienced while I was there. The laughter and the tears are something that I will never want to forget. I hope that when people look at my pictures that they see past the pain and poverty but see the beauty and the love that captured my heart….

Service learning: What it truly is…

For sometime I have been struggling with understanding what Service Learning is…

I read the official definition for it but it did not make sense to me until now. It is not about service or even learning how to do new things. It is what happens on the inside of a person once they have accomplished their goals. For me, it just took a little longer then most to set in. I did not realize what I had learned until I was talking to my College Plus! coach about VOM. She was asking me why I would consider an internship with them for next summer. This was my reason:

I believe that the American church (including myself) has a glamorized view of the mission field and sharing the gospel to non-believers. We have taken for granted the freedoms that we have here in America. For some, a big mission trip is staying in a nice hotel and going to a neighborhood, that you are afraid to go into in your own home town, and tell poor street kids about how Jesus loves them. I’m not saying this is wrong or judging those who do this, but I feel that this is what the American church calls missions. This is not true missions…

The true mission field is going where you are giving up yourself entirely. No will of your own and willing to die for what you are doing. That is what the people who are helped by VOM are doing. They are witnessing in their own countries and are willing to loose their jobs, families, go to prison, and even die for their belief in Jesus Christ.

What about me???

Is my faith so strong that I am willing to do this???

Only through time and maturity in my walk with the Lord will I ever be able to endure even half of what my persecuted brothers and sisters go through everyday. However, I must not give up hope in myself and I must never forget those who are in chains. That is why I support the work the Voice of the Martyrs is doing. They are truly the voice for those who, I’m afraid to say, have been forgotten by their fellow believers. It is up to us, and it starts with me, to set the record straight and to not let this continue to happen.

So, what am I going to do???

No idea, I’m in school, teaching music lessons, working part-time, and trying to be a good daughter and friend. There is not much time that I have left, but I can pray, tell others about the ministry, and ask the Lord to prepare my heart for whatever He has planned for my future.

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The biggest challenge…

So many things happened while at VOM and I learned many different things. Some were more spiritual in nature about God and being His child but others were more down to earth and practical in nature. Some were easy to learn but others proved to be challenges. One of my biggest challenges was being in charge of the finances….

I always thought I was good at balancing money. I know how to keep a budget and can say no when things cannot be bought. However, even with twelve people eating three meals a day for a week, and facing gas prices at almost $4.00 a gallon, you have to be a wise steward of the finances that are placed in your care. Especially when you want to give back to everyone some part of their money back.

This task proved to be bigger then I thought when I said yes to do it. The handling of the budget was biggest and hardest thing that I had to do. Not only did I have the food budget, but also the gas budget and the just in case budget. Since we placed it in one account, it was up to me to make sure I did not get finances mixed up. I went over budget in some things, but at the end of our trip, we had extra money to give back to each of the team members. I am happy to say that I have a better understanding of keeping and making a budget that I know will help me in the future.

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Being the head chef:)

The first few days of being on a mission trip are always the hardest. You find out what people like and dislike. You are trying to get to know them and they are getting to know you. With having the responsibility of being in charge of the meals, I was looking forward to cooking yet I was nervous about it as well. My greatest fear was that we would run out of food. This almost happened a couple of times when we had more guests then we thought. However, my faith in God’s provision grew while I was there and I realized that watching FoodNetwork finally paid off. I was able to use what was available to me and make something that was filling and delicious:) We always seemed to have guest every day for a meal or for desert and sometimes we never knew the headcount until we started eating. It was amazing to see that God always seemed to have the right amount of everything and leftovers too:)

One thing I did learn was that I now have a greater sympathy for those in charge of the meals when I go on mission trips. It is not about have everyone praise your cooking and you being the most popular person on the trip. It is being the one that wakes ups early before everyone else, planning in advance and even cooking in advance. The best advice that I followed was to make as much ahead of time and all you have to do is warm it in a crockpot. This not only saved time, but gave me a chance to spend more time working at the volunteer center. I enjoyed being the cook for the trip and I hope that I get to do it again in the future.

The second trip…

Well, we are on our way home from being at Voice of the Marytr. It was the most amazing trip that I ever had. God did so much in the time period that we had. It was an interesting group, some had come before but most of the group were first timers to VOM. We all came from many different life circumstances and walks in the Christian life. I think that is what I enjoyed the most about this trip.

To start from the very beginning is the only way to begin this reflective blog. This trip was first mentioned about 6 months ago when I was talking to one of my student’s mother about VOM. They were familiar with the ministry and what they did, but did not know that you could volunteer at their headquarters. My mom gave her further information and she discussed it with her husband. They later gave the okay about going. We then spent the last few months finding others to go with us. The final number was twelve people. Two moms, six twenty year olds, two teenage boys, and two kids. I think that was one of the first things I learned from this trip.

God can start working in the heart of someone at any age and that they can do things for Him at any age. So many Christians get trapped into the idea that you have to be in your late teens, early twenties, and single to be of any use for the ministry. Or, you can wait until your are retired and have grandkids. This is not true, God has never put an age limit on those who can serve Him. The scripture is full of children, young adults, single, married, men and women that had a heart to serve God and were used mightily for Him. He sees the hearts of people, and has the amazing way to bring people with the same heart together.

At the end of the trip, I did not want to come home, and could have stayed for another week. I learned to live with people that I only had a few things in common with and not really have a relationship with. Now, I see what God has done in their lives and I am excited to see what the future holds with them as my friends.

Back home….

It is good to be home. My life will never be the same. I have been blessed by the opportunity that was given to me and I have felt God’s presence in everything that I did.

I tried to find one word to define my experience and I believe that I have found it. It is a word that many people would be surprised to hear, but by God’s grace and mercy this one word says it all about my trip.

Happy!!!

Strange word to use when working in the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere but it is the truth. I experienced this the entire time that I was there and did not even realize it. I was watching a semon today on my iPad, since I slept for about 11 hours this morning and somehow this was able to sum up this trip. Click on the link below to watch this video…I hope you enjoy this.

Happiness

Five hours…

I should be in bed but I still have to pack before going to bed. Good thing I have know how to pack light and fast. It is so hard to believe that this moment has finally come. I’m absolutely scared….but like my big sister said, being scared is a good thing. It makes you to rely on God more. This will be my last post until I get back…now on to packing and wrapping up the little details. Aiming to be in bed by 2am…four hours of sleep should be fine:/