Although I'm in college now, I'm not going on vacation for spring break. I'm not even going back to my hometown. Instead, I'm spending my spring break going to Guatemala for a week to serve with a missions organization. I'm not doing this to look good to others or to future schools and employers. Instead, here are a few of my reasons for serving over spring break, rather than taking a nice vacation on the beach.
1. To follow God's call.
I truly believe God is calling me to return to Guatemala. Throughout my senior year of high school, I spent about six months living in Guatemala. This country holds part of my heart. However, I'm not just returning because I want to (even though I do). Instead, I'm returning because after praying about it, I feel like God is calling me back there to serve.
2. To love others and build relationships.
I'm going to Guatemala to love others — Americans and Guatemalans alike. Although my team is serving in Guatemala, I believe a short-term missions trip is just as much of an opportunity to love others that are apart of my team and to build relationships with them as it is to build relationships with others abroad.
3. To share the Gospel through my actions.
This reason goes hand-in-hand with my last reason. I believe that to share the Gospel with someone, you first need to build a trusting relationship with them. Even if I don't build strong enough relationships with people for them to fully trust me, I want to show them a glimpse of Jesus' great love for them through my actions.
4. To listen and learn.
As I've been praying in preparation for this trip, God has really laid one thing on my heart. Be quick to listen, and slow to speak. I'm going to Guatemala with intentions to learn, not to force my own ideas upon others. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so I'm going to try my best to act accordingly.
5. To renew my mind and re-center.
Service is a great time to re-center our focus on Christ. The past few weeks of my life have been SO exciting! However, sometimes the exciting times in our lives distract us from our ultimate purpose. Rather than focusing on all the worldly excitement, service will help me to renew my mind in Christ so that I can stay humble and focus on Him.
6. To be impacted.
A short-term missions trip is not all about making an impact on another country. If we're being honest with ourselves, our impact on others may be slim to nothing. The reality of missions is that it takes a long time to build relationships with others and lead them to Christ. However, one week can change you if you let it. I'm going to Guatemala with my eyes and ears open to what God wants to show and teach me. Some of the most influential times in my life have been spent in Guatemala. So rather than focusing on how much I can impact someone, I will focus on how God can impact them and their life. And I know if I focus on this, He will also impact my own life and my personal walk with Him.