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5 Lessons I Gained Through Being Vulnerable and Brave

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When God told me to go on a mission trip to Haiti I said yes, but I had no idea that a hurricane was going to hit the very day that our flights were booked. When the news of the hurricane came out, our church leader canceled our original flights and called each of us to see if we would be willing to fly in three days later. Without a doubt, my answer was again, “Yes.”

People thought I was crazy and tried to discourage me from going. It was hard to move forward while not knowing what to expect, but God had been very clear with me. Therefore, I had to go.

I think God puts you in uncomfortable situations because that’s when you grow the most. Yes, I had to learn to take cold showers, sleep under a mosquito net, and throw my toilet paper into a wastebasket instead of the toilet (which I then had to un-learn when I came back home). But, I will never forget the experience, growth, and knowledge I gained from this trip. It was an irreplaceable experience where I grew closer with God.

Here are the 5 big lessons God taught me during my first mission trip:

1. It is okay to be taken care of.
As much as you can prepare for a trip like this and pack what you think you need, there were still things I forgot and things I didn’t need. For one, I did not need the rain boots and pants I packed, considering we were in extreme heat where I always felt like I was at the brink of dehydration. In fact, I got majorly dehydrated the first day I was there and then got sick again halfway through the week. I was so sad that it was preventing me from helping my team with the work. I felt a boat load of emotions, including helpless, useless, guilty and weak (and each came with numerous tears). But, in the midst of my illness, I was so incredibly blessed by the people around me not only taking care of my physical needs, but offering words of encouragement. God broke me of my pride and taught me that it is okay to be taken care of and to learn that sometimes you need to be served and to accept it with gratitude.

2. Sometimes things don’t go as planned.
On our third day into the mission trip, we had plans to go into the local village. We were on the bus all ready to go and something was unexpectedly happening in the village, which prevented us from going. Plans changed and we had to stay on campus. But, we had the chance to pack 536 medical supply kits that day for people that were suffering in the south from Hurricane Matthew. We also got to bond with our fellow teammates, the interns and the staff on campus! God taught me that when it comes to plans, ours may change in order to fit His. He taught me that it is so rewarding to learn to surrender and trust in Him and know that His plans are truly the best!

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
This was a huge lesson for me on this trip. I kept looking at the people around me and how their gifts were impacting others. I wasn’t good with medicine and I wasn’t physically strong. On one of our last days, we were at a home planting a tree and as I watched the others plant one in record time I was wishing I had their strength, while the owner of the home was standing next to me. She was an elderly woman and I heard God whisper in my heart to love her. The whole rest of the time, I had my arm around her and even though I couldn’t understand the words she was saying to me, I just listened and held her tighter. When the translator explained to us that she just recently lost her daughter, it was hard to know what to say in that moment that could bring her encouragement. It was especially intimidating when our group leader noticed the woman clinging to me the entire time and asked me to pray for her. I thought, “Me? What can I possibly do?” When we were about to pray, she wanted to go down to her knees, so we all followed suit. I was panicking with the responsibility of leading the prayer, but as I wrapped my arms around her frail body and was about to pray, something happened that honestly hasn’t happened to me in a long time. All I can say is it was not me that was speaking that sunny afternoon. The Holy Spirit spoke. Afterwards, I barely remembered what happened, but felt so full of the Spirit, was joyful and felt Jesus’ presence in a way that made me feel like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. God created us all with a unique set of gifts that make up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). God taught me to finally let go and to stop comparing myself to others and let God work in the gifts He gave me and how He created me.

God taught me that when it comes to plans, ours may change in order to fit His.

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4. Difficult situations happen for a reason.
I truly feel that God sometimes pushes us to extremes to strengthen us. God stretched me so much on this trip. One of the things I prayed for before I left was to be braver. I know our Lord has characteristics of both the lion and the lamb. He is both strong and gentle. I don’t have a problem relating with lamb-like qualities, but struggle with lion-like qualities. I asked that the Lord would work through me to help me be bolder in Him. Well, let me tell you, God is faithful and He answers prayer! Though I had feelings of insecurities and struggled with illness, God taught me what it means in the Bible that His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8). Before the trip, our group leader asked us all to write out a devotional to share each morning. When it came to my turn, I was again terrified. Leading a devotional to 10 people was not something I was comfortable doing, but in my weakness, His strength was made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9). I prayed that God would help me write a devotional and He led me to the same verses that God used to call me on the trip:

“And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13: 10-11

God gave me those verses three weeks prior to the trip. Little did I know it would relate to exactly what happened at the elderly woman’s home the following day. Only God can do that. All the glory be to Him.

5. My identity is found in Him.
Before I left for the trip, I was struggling with my identity and have always struggled with thoughts of unworthiness. The kind of intimacy that God showed me on this trip, the lessons He taught me and the way He took care of me brought me back to the place when I first became a Christian 10 years ago. I think being away from distractions and being at a place where it was all about Him was the reason why He brought me to Haiti. I came on the mission trip thinking I was going to teach others about our Lord and Savior and although that did happen, God did so much more. God taught me and reminded me who He is. I also learned from the people in Haiti, who know the Lord. Even though the elderly woman at the home had recently lost her daughter, she had so much joy because she had a relationship with Jesus Christ. When I attended church, I was in awe at how much the people worshipped with such abandon. By the end of the week, my heart was so full, I too was singing at the top of my lungs during worship. He also broke me in a way that I needed to be broken. Lastly, He reminded me who I am. I am His. That is my identity. I am worthy because I am a daughter of the Most High King.

I think God puts you in uncomfortable situations because that’s when you grow the most.

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I am so glad I went to Haiti because it was the most incredible experience. I did things I’ve never done before, experienced things that changed me forever, and took away memories that will last a lifetime (and far beyond). Memories like kids in the village being so happy that they were like little jumping beans—jumping into your arms and giving you the biggest smile for simply remembering their names.

One memory definitely stands out: being the chosen one to lead a goat off of a bus and bringing it to a family in need. Yes, I heard the chuckles as this clearly American redhead walked down the street with a goat in hand. But, I was proud to be the chosen goat handler.

It’s been several months now since I’ve been back home from my firt mission trip and I can’t even begin to explain in words how good our Lord is. I am so grateful for these lessons that God taught me and still hold them dearly in my heart. I hope one day, I can tell my grandchildren how God helped their grandmother be brave. I also hope that if one day they are asked by God to do something challenging and put into a similar situation where they too have to answer the question, “do you still want to go?” I hope that their answer will be without a doubt “yes.”


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Asia’s dream is to travel the world, creating her very own “Indiana Jane” adventures. A lover of the arts, she’s often found painting, acting, and writing.

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