As we prepare for the Senatobia District mission trip to El
|Rev. Amanda Gordon|
Salvador on July 12 - 19, 2014, Nathan Hickerson, the Senatobia District United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) coordinator and I have been asked to share why missions are so important. We plan mission trips to build something or teach something, but when we arrive we realize that it's ultimately all about relationships. It is surprising how close you grow to others who are part of your team during one week. Like Nathan says, "These are not just bonds like friendship, these are family strong bonds."
We think we are "taking God to people," yet serving on missions has reminded me that God is already there. All people were created by God. We may look different, we may worship differently and we may have different beliefs, but we are all God's children. I am overwhelmed at how absolutely big and amazing our God is! Missions have helped me to break down barriers and stereotypes and have strengthened my desire to serve. This is one of Jesus' greatest callings for us--to serve others.
I have participated in at least 13 mission trips. In my youth group, we did local missions and then after my 11th grade year of high school, our youth group took our first mission trip to Houston, Texas. We almost were unable to go because we could not find a female chaperone and there were only five of us signed up. Thankfully, a devoted youth worker stepped up, but her health wasn't great, so she was unable to work in the sun. It is hard to explain the way I experienced God on that trip. That first mission trip ignited a passion for missions.
My first international trip to Mexico was very eye opening. The one thing that stood out was how frustrating it was to not be able to talk to the people there because I do not speak Spanish. However, it makes you think about alternative forms of communication. Although Nathan's mission experiences have been in the United States, he has experienced what it is like leaving your comfort zone and totally relying on God. I agree with Nathan when he said that, "when you step out into the unknown in faith, that is where you meet God and have a one-on-one bond with God, greater than any you have previously experienced."
Nathan has served on two mission trips - one in Spirit Lake, North Dakota and the other was at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky. He had been praying for direction on an international mission trip and when I mentioned the Salvadoran Mission Projects Inc., an UMVIM approved site, we both felt that God called us to lead this mission for the Senatobia district.
Paulette West, executive director of UMVIM, Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ), recommended the mission work in El Salvador to me. As I researched it more, I realized I had friends who knew the missionary, Brian Dubberly and have met people who have worked with Salvadoran mission projects. The more I learned about the mission projects in El Salvador, the more I felt drawn to this work. As one recent mission applicant wrote, "How can you resist going on a mission trip to a country named for the Savior?"
The El Salvador mission trip is open to anyone 18 and older who attends a Senatobia District United Methodist church. The deadline to submit an application and deposit is December 2, 2013 and we are limited to 20 participants.
I challenge the Methodists in the Senatobia District to give one week of their lives in service to the Lord on this mission to El Salvador. We are even considering making Spanish classes available to members of the mission team that are interested in learning a little of the language, but stress that speaking Spanish is not a requirement for this trip. Going on a mission trip is never a predictable experience and the greatest thing is that you never know what moment(s) God is going to use to impact you. It rarely comes as you might expect!
For more information, visit www.minormemorial.org, or contact the Rev. Amanda Gordon at 662-781-1333 or amandaMMUMC@gmail.com.