by Marjorie Remy
In high school I received a letter about studying abroad. At the time my parents and I were unable to finance the trip, so I couldn’t go. Despite this, receiving the letter was probably the start of my longing to travel and visit different places in the world.
Fast-forward to my freshman year of college. There were a couple of students around campus encouraging us to participate in missions trips. It caused me to think, “what good would it be to travel the world and not impact someone’s life?” Then I realized my desire to travel stemmed from something deeper than sightseeing. What I really wanted to do was extend myself to others and to be a light in dark places for those who may not have heard the good news of Christ.
My summer mission trip (SMT) this past summer to Haiti and the Bahamas confirmed this realization. I wanted to do something greater than benefitting myself, I wanted to help others. I hadn’t been to either of these places, but I was so excited to be a part of something so great!
One thing I learned this summer was how much of a blessing and joy children are. The majority of the summer our team led vacation Bible school (VBS). During our first week the children were very excited to meet our team. They were open to trying new games and learning new songs despite the language barrier. It was amazing to see how much joy they had, despite their difficult circumstances. It didn’t matter if they had the same outfit on all week or if they came to VBS without shoes. They were there Monday through Friday, with big smiles, ready to learn about the Word and praise God. It didn’t matter if I was tired from the day before or sweating from the intense sun, the children were my encouragement. It helped me continue to serve with the right attitude. I was grateful to be a part of the mission.
I also learned was about relationships. It started with our nightly team debrief, which included our highs and lows of the day and what we would be doing the next day. Our first night in the Bahamas we did devotions a little differently. After a recap of the day, a team member suggested we each say something we like about another team member. While we were going around the circle listening to everyone receiving his or her praises, you could feel the joy in the room. In the midst of this, I started to realize everyone is special.
As the week progressed I saw even more clearly that everyone all over the world has a story. Regardless of whether we know them well or not, it’s so good to see the positive in everyone’s character. Going overseas and meeting so many people, it’s sometimes easy to make assumptions or judge by what we think we see or know. But my SMT experience has taught me to try to see others as Christ sees them—with love and compassion.