My first mission trip was in 2003. I thought I was going to Mexico, but God wanted me in Australia. I made the commitment at an Acquire the Fire event, an organization through Teen Mania Ministries, under Ron Luce. When you sign the ‘card,’ there’s a person who calls you the week after you get home and asks if you were serious about your commitment and what God is leading you to do now that you’re home and a little bit removed from the emotional high of 20,000 teenagers worshiping God together. I don’t remember the young woman’s name who called me, but I remember her being really encouraging and really supportive and helping me talk through my questions, fears, and decisions.
I remember when God kept bringing up “Australia” in various ways and forms throughout the weeks of my decision-making process. It came on a tv show, at a college fair, in a book I was reading. I talked it over with my Teen Mania phone friend and she was just as shocked, awed, and excited as I was to be seeing God’s hand directing me.
She prayed with me, after every phone call. Once I got past the fact that she said, “Lord God” after every sentence (this was a bit different for me), I loved her passion, excitement, and sense of urgency.
This new friend also told me about Teen Mania’s Honor Academy, which interested me as much as the mission trip did. I asked how the academy worked and she explained that she was in the program now, and that her service assignment was to mentor student through the process of getting on their mission team after they signed the commitment card. She explained that during the first few weeks at the Academy the leaders observed the students and gave them assignments based off of their observations, some student made phone calls and others cleaned bathrooms. I wanted to make phone calls. I thought I would be really good at it (and cleaning bathrooms did not sound as glamourous).
This evening, I was talking with a young woman who is working on her application to go to Taiwan. We talked and I encouraged her and we prayed together. During our prayer, God reminded me of this story and of this desire and of this young woman from eight years ago. I never did go to the Honor Academy, but God already chose what my assignment was to be…