By Kelley Stopnik, Journey GO Director
I am no stranger to world travel. I was a flight attendant for many years, have visited many countries with my husband and absolutely adore traveling, trying new foods and experiencing other cultures.
However, in the summer of 2013, one trip completely wrecked me. Even though, by all accounts, the experience wasn’t so different than many I have had before on my travels. The difference was Jesus. Let me explain.
I was asked to lead one of our Global Outreach trips to Huánuco, Peru. We were there to do some building maintenance and support the staff and residents at a shelter for sexually abused women and children. I speak quite a bit of Spanish, so I felt like this was where God was calling me to serve.
Let’s fast forward to the last day, the most important part, of my story. On the bus ride to the airport, I turned to my friend and said, “I don’t know what else to do but cry.” Being exposed to and immersed in a culture full of poverty and injustice changes you.
I have experienced many things in this world. I have toured the most beautiful cathedrals Europe has to offer, eaten some of the most exotic foods in Asia and walked down the poorest streets in Central America, but this trip was different. Jesus met me at the shelter in Peru, and he broke me wide open and revealed so much to me.
There is so much to gain from serving beyond your local community. Jesus was continually reaching outside of Judea to foreigners such as the Samaritan woman and the Roman Centurion. When we allow the Holy Spirit to move through us, we literally become His hands, feet and mouth on this earth.
When we go, we give up our comforts; familiar foods, known language, privacy, rest. Without these securities we lean in to Jesus and get to know Him more intimately. You will begin to see people the way God sees them. We really aren’t so different after all.
When you go, you learn you are capable of much more than you thought you were. God is not looking for people that are ready, He’s looking for obedience. Our faith grows when God gives us the opportunity to go and we trust that He is ready. You will be changed. Your world view will be changed.
Just go. It’s worth it.