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Strengthening faith through missions trips


The link that we, as Christians, have with God is strengthened in many ways, including reading his word, living through Jesus, connecting with fellow Christians, and sharing the gospel. Each one of these factors is fundamental in building our relationship with Christ and one way to increase our faith is through partaking in mission trips.

Here at Eastern Christian, many fellow students and teachers have experienced mission trips. Mr. Stephen Bailey, the teacher who organizes and leads the mission trips at EC, shares his past experiences in attending mission trips and the importance of getting involved in the Christian community. Skylar Kuiken, a freshman in EC, also shares her time this summer at her first mission trip with her church. The opportunities are endless for places to go to share God’s word. Skylar, for example, went to the Jersey shore to spread His word with young children and even people on the beach at the same time. Similarly, Mr. Bailey has gone to various places and his friends who are involved in ministry, also have gone all over the world.

From the time Mr. Bailey was young, he knew that he had wanted to get involved with ministry. When he began working towards this, an opportunity to work with Touch the World was introduced to him. He immediately knew that this was the path that God was paving for him, so he took the opportunity. His first mission trip was with Touch the World to Kansas City, and the following year, he went for a second time. After attending these trips, Touch the World offered him to be the liaison. After jumpstarting the mission trips again after COVID-19 hit, he went on a trip to Kentucky last year as a liaison. Then, with Spark of Hope this summer, Mr. Bailey went to Ghana to minister.

As a member of Emergence Church since she was 4 years old, Skylar had a connection to the mission trip she participated in this summer, which was based on a children's program at the beach. Skylar says, “I got to talk to kids about God and I didn’t realize the type of impact I could make on a child’s faith at such a young age. It could change their life!” Being a follower of Christ lends to the responsibility that we have, as Christians, to share the gospel in order to make this type of impact.

Through going on mission trips and seeing firsthand the impact that it can create, both Skylar and Mr. Bailey acknowledge the importance of missionary work and mission trips. Mr. Bailey believes that these trips help people become closer to God. He has seen instances where “students come in that are atheists and they are a 1 on a scale from 1-10 in their faith, but they come out of the trip as a 3, which shows that they have realized there is a presence of God. In other cases, there are students who are at a 7 and go up to a 9 because they learned they want to pursue ministry.”

He sees people draw closer to Jesus because he believes there is a key that when we do the work of Jesus, it helps us engage our heart and see how Jesus is doing work for us at the same time. “In the Bible, there is a close relationship in how we help our neighbor and how we also honor God because both impact each other.” In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus gives a profound prayer and then he adds, immediately after, ‘if you don’t forgive your brother, how can you expect that God will forgive you’. There is an emphasis of the significance of how we honor our neighbor is how we also honor God and when we love God the outflow is to love our neighbor well. Mr. Bailey says that on these trips, they have had endless conversations about what Jesus is doing and where they saw His work in the day, which leads to intentional praying time over people in the group. He believes that mission trips are a natural outpouring of Christianity, for our faith is founded upon the belief that God is a God of covenance and we want to express that covenantial love to others.

Skylar’s trip this summer encouraged her to grow a stronger relationship with God because after sharing her testimony for the first time and teaching the kids about God, she could see the impact she is able to make, which greatly motivated her. One of the journeys in faith that Sky witnessed was a girl who came in as an atheist and was lost in seeing how God was acting in her life. As time went on in the trip, the prayers and lessons that the group did became more natural for her. Skylar later learned that she was asking her mom more about God and she was interested in contacting the leaders of the church.

Skylar encourages those that are interested but unsure about going on a mission trip to take the leap of faith and go. Mr. Bailey also always hears students say that they will go next year, but that won’t always be possible so do not let the fear stop you from doing what you feel like God is pulling you to do. He says that the “experience is invaluable.” Although you can learn by reading textbooks and watching others, to experience firsthand is something else. As Albert Einstein once said, “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience. You need experience to gain wisdom.”

This year, EC is offering Spring Break mission trips to Kentucky, Dallas, and Guatemala. To apply, see the application form on Real Time or fill out the pre-interest form if you feel interested!


 

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