This mission trip was my second overseas mission trip. I wasn't intending on going but I received the opportunity so I went for it. I only had about a week to prepare myself for this trip. I wasn't sure if my preparation was sufficient and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I prayed that God would help me out.
When we first arrived to Peru, I got a cold vibe from the missionary that picked us up. He didn't have much facial expression and looked sort of grim. I didn't think much of it guessing he was nervous. But as the week progressed he was the same. He talked to the adults but didn't talk to us, the youth. I tried my best to strike up conversation with him. He was kind of mean but he started to open up. He would make some comments and jokes that were "SAVAGE".
One of the evenings our team had to transfer from one church to another. The missionary told the girls to ride in the cars and the boys to walk. As Pastor Hong was leading the missionary's wife to the car to load up. The missionary said, "my wife doesn't need a ride. She needs to walk. She needs the exercise."
Another time, one of our team members was taking a photo where he was jumping. After the picture was taken the missionary went up to the ground beneath our team member and said "WOW, the ground didn't crack."
But come to find out I could see why he was so cold and "SAVAGE". Turns out we were one of the two teams to work with him this summer. He said the last few years the amount of teams that came started to decrease. He told us that he used to pray for more teams to come but he said he stopped because his prayers didn't seem to get answered. He was discouraged. He, in some way, lost hope.
The last two days of the trip we could tell he really enjoyed and liked our group. He showed happiness and comfort. He sincerely enjoyed our presence. It's crazy to me how missionaries sacrifice what they have in the states to go out do God's work. The missionary shared how he had kids living in the states, but rarely got to see them. I could tell the last couple of years turned him into a "SAVAGE".
Most people think the purpose of these mission trips is solely to make a difference and make change. But it's pretty close to impossible to do that in a short week. That week in Peru really opened my eyes about these short term mission trips. I figured out that its about the little things. Sure, we did some construction, VBS, and revivals. But ultimately we were just a blessing and an act of God. The people we worked with: the pastors, missionaries, and staff all enjoyed our presence. We were an encouragement to these people. I'm not totally sure how they were all doing spiritually, but I hope that we were able to touch them and kindle a fire to grow their passion to reach out to the people of Peru.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I'm very happy with how the mission trip played out. It was truly a blessing to see how happy the missionary and all his staff were. It was a blessing to see how passionate they were about the work they were doing. It was a blessing to see what God has in store for the people of Peru. Hopefully, our group was an encouragement to the missionary and his staff and that we did in some way make an impact and make a difference.