By: Katya Jimenez, Go Now missionary and student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
I went on my first mission trip when I was eight years old. My parents introduced me to missions when they took me to Reynosa, Mexico with our Spanish church at the time. I was so heartbroken by seeing how the people we ministered to lived, and I could not help but gain a huge ambition to do whatever it took to help them while we were there. Since then, I have fallen in love with missions.
Throughout middle school and high school, I went on numerous mission trips with my youth group both in my city, Houston, TX, and to other places in the United States such as Florida, Missouri, New York, Louisiana and Arkansas. During all of those trips, I was under the protection and authority of adults, a really strict schedule and a lot of rules one would normally give to minors.
However, the mission trip I just came back from in Beaverton, OR, was a different story. This was the first mission trip I have gone on where I flew on a plane all by myself, I did not have adult supervision 24/7, and I was completely responsible for myself. I was really nervous about all of these things at the beginning of the trip. But God, as always, reminded me that even when I am “alone,” I am not alone. He put amazing people in my path at the airports and planes to help guide me, which was a refresher to me that God will always take care of me, no matter the situation.
As I got into the ministry portion of the trip, the rest of the team and I hosted Christmas parties for both kids and adults, baked a lot of cookies and gave them out to people, caroled through an apartment complex, hosted two photoshoot sessions for families to take their Christmas family photo for free and helped one of our supervisor’s neighbors decorate their house for Christmas.
However, a lot of things happened throughout the week where things that had been planned in advance were canceled at the last minute, and we hit a lot of bumps on the road. For someone who works better with structure, I became extremely frustrated and irritated with how much of our plans were changing all at once, and I even started getting anxious a lot to the point where part of me was ready to just give up.
But Thursday morning, our supervisor started the day with having a team meeting. She told us that she felt the need to share what God had done so far, since she knew we were getting discouraged with all of the last-minute changes. She told us that we had encouraged many families such as a family from Mexico, whom the husband is a few steps closer to accepting Christ; a Muslim family who are all ready to accept Christ; a couple who have been living together for years, have three kids and are now engaged; the family we helped decorate their house for Christmas were so encouraged while they were having a really rough time with their church; and the kids and parents we had encouraged during the parties.
After hearing all of these things, I realized something. Satan tried to get in my way by making me frustrated and anxious about how crazy the week had been. But God stepped in and made these changes because He knows better than us, and He wanted us to minister to other people in a different way. Now that I think about it, if our plans would have stayed the same, we would not have been able to impact the specific families we did.
Overall, through this trip, God taught me that not only can He change plans on mission trips, but He can also do the same in my everyday life. I do not need to be anxious, worried or frustrated because He knows better than me, and I will still have a great impact on people for the advancement of God’s kingdom, simply because He is in control. I am so thankful God allowed me to go on this trip. He taught me a lot about myself and about life, and I always want to be ready for whatever He has in store for me for the rest of college, as well as in the near future.