This week I wanted to highlight the Houston missions trip. This trip was the first trip to Houston that NCU has taken. It was led by Stead and Sarah Halstead, Tim and Lauren Riley, along with 13 NCU students.
I asked two students a few questions about their trip and how it went. The first was Brooklyn Alexander, a freshman who has been on a missions trip before. In addition to Houston, Brooklyn will be going on the Cambodia trip this summer.
1. What did you learn from doing missions in the U.S. versus doing missions abroad?
I was opened to a lot of hurt that doesn’t usually get noticed when in the midst of a well-established place. This trip was a reminder that we don’t have to go as far as our own communities to be doing ministry and that where there are people, there are needs. Due to it being in the US, there wasn’t really much culture shock, rather a shock in the realization of the devastation that has happened to people in a place that isn’t much different from our own homes.
2. How were your view on local missions changed from this trip?
This trip reminded me, that we as followers of Christ have just as important of a mission here in our own local communities. Although there has been a different kind of hurt in Houston, there is plenty of hurt here in Eugene and on our campus as well. The myth that tends to be believed is that we have to go somewhere far for there to be impact, rather God is at work everywhere and we are called to be disciples right where we already are. Because of that, I think that the importance of local missions can be overlooked.
3. How was your experience as a group? Did you all work well together?
This is my fourth mission trip, and it was by far the strongest team I’ve been on. Going in I had concerns, given that I didn’t know a lot of people on the team. Those worries were quickly altered, because as soon as we began our trip I saw a type of community and fellowship form that was so sweet. I felt extremely blessed by the friendships this trip provided and the willingness of every person that came.
4. How are you going to use this missions trip to prepare you for Cambodia ?
This was a good chance to focus my heart a bit more. Because of the length of the trip and the culture shock in Cambodia, it’s important for me to be spiritually filled and prepared. I think that God is going to use Cambodia in ways I’m unaware of, but I do know it will challenge and push me, so having the opportunity to go to Houston was a good ease into my prep for that trip because of the real battle ministry can come with.
Senior Caeli Barnhart was the other student that I chatted with about her trip. This was her first missions trip, so she touched more on the experience of a first time missions-goer.
1. Overall, how was your first experience on a missions trip?
My first experience going on a mission trip exceeded all of my expectations! On the logistics side the trip was fantastic. Yes, we had our plans rearranged more often than not, but our leaders always handled it well, and the team demonstrated incredible flexibility. Then there is the spiritual side of a mission trip. I knew that God would move in the team but I honestly did not expect Him to work in my heart as much as He did in such little time. God opened my eyes to what it is like to simply love His people. I’ve never felt so much genuine love for strangers before. He’s teaching me how to see His children the way He does, and to love them just the same.
2. How was your experience as a group? Did you all work well together?
Another aspect of this trip that I did not expect was the teamwork that our group showed. I’ve never witnessed a large group of people work so closely together and never once have an issue. Going into the trip with about six meetings beforehand, I was nervous to see how we all got along. I was waiting for everyone to group up and form little cliques, but it never happened. When we had to separate into different projects, the groups were never the same. I had the chance to work with every person on the team in different capacities and it always went without a hitch. This team was honestly incredible! I’m so blessed that I can be a part of it and witness God’s work in everyone’s life.
3. Would you encourage others to go on this trip next year?
This specific trip might not happen again next year considering the nature of the trip, but I highly encourage everyone to go on a mission trip! People might dismiss a spring break trip because they want to enjoy a little vacation, but I feel more refreshed after our trip than I would have if I spent the week catching up on sleep.
Especially look into the trip if Sarah and Stead Halstead are leading it because they are amazing! They brought so much laughter, joy, and encouragement to the team! You are definitely missing out if you have not had the chance to meet/talk to them and see their love for the NCU students.
Thanks for reading this week!