Hey guys!! It’s Alyssa, Happy (almost) Monday!! I am so glad you are here & I am so excited to share a little bit about my missions trip today!
Okay lets recap: The whole summer after my freshman year I was praying for God to use me to glorify Him and to spread His name, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would look like. I learned about Operation Barnabas at a youth conference called Momentum & my parents were very skeptical for me to apply. For months, I would beg and beg for them to just let me apply. Finally, about a month before the first deadline for applications, they let me apply, but my parents said that didn’t mean they were going to let me go if I got accepted. I was so excited to apply, and this proved to me that God will do everything in His perfect timing!! I applied in October, and I waited patiently to find out if I was accepted.
Then one snowy, December night I got a letter from Operation Barnabas! I opened it and at that point I had no idea that this piece of paper would lead to such amazing things!! I was accepted & I was so excited to see what God would do through this ministry!! But, next came the hard part- telling my parents. I was afraid they were going to not let me go, and I got my hopes up for nothing. They told me that if I can come up with the $200 deposit, they will let me go on the trip and help me find ways to raise the remaining funds. Now, this may not seem like a hard task, but for a broke high schooler that is at a fried chicken restaurant, it wasn’t going to be so easy!
I was determined to raise the money I needed, so I started to pick up any shifts I could and to watch how much money I spent on extra things like food and coffee. Before I knew it, I had $150 of the $200 I needed for my deposit, but I needed to come up with $50 within a week. I had bills due, and my whole paycheck was going to paying those. I needed gas and I was trying to recover financially from the holidays, so needless to say I was FREAKING OUT. How could I get so close to go, to not be able to go at all? I remember praying that somehow I could come up with the money, but I kept doubting that I could do it.
Then one cold, snowy January night, I picked up a waitressing shift. In fact, it was snowing so hard & it was so cold, they cancelled school for the rest of the week! I switched to a closing shift, which means I stayed and cleaned late and would be the last waitress there for a little bit. We were super slow that night and I had little tips. Then, when I was the only waitress on, 5 tables came in!! It was absolutely crazy & I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was so excited & I gained hope that I could come up with the remaining money I needed! I made some tips, but not enough. Then at 7:58, (2 minutes before close) a table of 8 walked in! While everyone else was mad that they had to stay longer, I was so happy!! Everyone in the group was so nice and really made time fly by! While I was cleaning (& still freaking out about not having the money I need for my deposit), a lady from the table came up to me. She said I did an amazing job and she appreciated how I stayed late for them and she handed me a $50 bill! THE EXACT MONEY I NEEDED!! At this point, I started to cry because it was so evident that God had Operation Barnabas in His plans for me & I couldn’t be more thankful. I remembered going home and telling my mom, and at that point it was clear to her that I wanted to go on OB and I was willing to work for it.
My mom and I started to brainstorm ideas on how to fundraise for the remaining money I needed to go on the trip. (The trip was about $2250 + airfare) We decided to sell pepperoni rolls, and that alone provided about $600 for my trip! My church so generously gave me a chunk of money as well, which helped immensely! I also babysat and put almost every tip I received at both of my jobs towards OB! My mom travels a lot for work as well, and she had points built up that helped offset my airfare costs! This is such a true testimony of “Where God guides, He provides“!! Although I had doubts of being able to raise enough money for my trip, God taught me that His timing is PERFECT and it was so beautiful and faith-strengthening to see how everything worked out.
Now that the money is settled, it really began to sink in that I was going to be gone for a month of my summer. (3 weeks in LA & 1 @ Momentum) It was becoming evident that I was going to miss a lot of graduation parties, birthdays, family gatherings, friends coming in from out of town, and so much more. I worked at an ice cream stand for the summer, and I ended up going 2 months without a paycheck. I was a little upset about the thought of missing so much, but I knew the ministry and impact I was going to have on the people who need the Lord most would outweigh any doubt and second thoughts. I turned to prayer for God to ease any anxiety that was arising and that I would keep my mind focused on ministry. Everyone was SO excited for me and how I was going to help so many people that summer! Well, everyone except one person…
At the time, I was in a different relationship. I am bringing this up as a way of showing how the devil knew that I was going to go do amazing things for the glory of God, and how he tried to bring me down and disrupt that.
In this relationship, he was not a believer and was not supportive of my trip at all. I won’t go into deep details, but he was not interested at all in church and obviously was not a Christian. I never put being a believer at the top of my priorities for a guy, and OB made me realize how important it is to be in a relationship with a believer. I remember my leaders pouring into me about how I need to 1. pray and 2. really take some time to think about my relationship with Christ and my relationship with him. I remember praying that God would just show me what He wants, and after some time I realized it was for me to be in a relationship with a believer. I was really convicted and I made up my mind that me and him needed to have a serious talk when I came home. When I came home, it was pretty evident that God was giving me a way out of this mess. Things were not the same in our relationship as it was when I left, and I know no break up is easy, but God lightened the toughness on it tremendously.
Although it was hard at first, God rewarded me for following His plan for me faithfully. I am now in a beautiful relationship with a BELIEVER and we have Gospel conversations daily. (Side note: church dates are the best thing ever and there is nothing more precious than praising the Lord with your significant other) Christopher and I strive to keep Christ in the center of our relationship and it is such a huge difference than where I was 6 months ago. Chris is also in his church’s worship team, playing bass! We also want to go on a mission’s trip together hopefully in the next few years! (WHAT A DIFFERENCE IN SUPPORT THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS) I am so thankful I listened to God when he tugged on my heart about relationships. If it weren’t for OB, I would not of realized how important it is to be of “the same yolk” as it says in the Bible, and how important it is to keep Christ at the center of relationships. (& I would of never got the experience and complete blessing it is to be in a relationship with Chris!!)
On Operation Barnabas, God made it every clear about His calling for my life. While on OB, I had lots of opportunities with children’s ministry. Ever since I could remember, I’ve loved working and being in the presence of children. As soon as I was old enough to, I started to volunteer in the children’s ministry at my church with toddlers. I really made an amazing connection with these kiddos and loved teaching them how Jesus is their friend and He loves them so much. Seeing them so young but still grasping the Gospel is the sweetest thing ever. God has truly blessed me with the ability to connect with kids, and on OB I had the blessing of making some pretty amazing connections with some kiddos. I knew I wanted to work with kids in my career, but I wasn’t sure how. Then came a day that everything made sense.
July 6th, 2018.
I was on OB, and we were in a Hispanic-dominated area in Orange County. It was about 110 degrees out, and we were having a “fiesta en el parque” (Party in the park). It was so hot out, not many people were outside (or wanted to be outside). We had lots of food, snow cones, games, crafts, and a few program scheduled throughout the night. I was working the snow-cone machine, and I noticed across the [very busy] street were 2 little girls and what looked to be their older sister. I felt led to bring them snow-cones and invite them over to our party, so I did. As I approached the girls, I noticed that the one had a significant amount of burns on her. She also had bandages everywhere. Her burns that I could see looked to be in the healing process- but looked to be pretty severe. I knew that she had to had gone through some pretty terrible and painful things, and her life could of very well been taken.
When I invited them over, they seemed a little hesitant but they did end up coming over. We played games and made crafts together, but what came later changed me forever.
On OB, we did something called the cross illustration. There is a story and a piece of paper involved with it, and basically a cross is made in a piece of paper with a single tear. At the end, there is an invitation to accept Christ and to be saved. When offered the gift of Jesus, the sweet little girl accepted Christ for the first time. God used me to lead someone to Him, and MY GOODNESS IT IS THE MOST AMAZING FEELING EVER! I was the happiest girl in the world, and my heart was so full for the rest of the day. I remember I kept on thinking to myself that God CHOSE ME to be a part of this little girl’s salvation… what a blessing it is!
At the party I also met a little boy. He spoke Spanish, with very broken English. Out of everyone around from my team, I felt the most confident with my Spanish, and so I asked him if he wanted to play with me. We played a water balloon game, and I remember asking him if he wanted blue in Spanish. When I asked him, his face LIT UP. I met him at his level, speaking his language, and instantly made a beautiful connection with him as well.
I love to speak Spanish, and I plan to study it in college, but I never knew how I would use that in my career. I also love kiddos and sharing the Gospel, but never considered myself as one to go into ministry. When I heard the words “full time ministry” before, I always thought of men going to be pastors. But if we’re being honest, it means so much more than that. To me, full time ministry means that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are intentionally making an impact for the name of Jesus. You are surrendering yourself to the Lord, to whatever He has in store for you.
I plan on going into the medical field because I want to live a life of helping others and caring for them. I am also currently taking nursing classes while being in high school, it is such a blessing to be able to start my career at such a young age! I absolutely loved doing ministry for an extended period of time, and I knew that God has a calling for me in some type of ministry. Later on the night of July 6th, I was reflecting on what God had did that day. Then I began to cry, and cry, and cry.
God was calling me into ministry. But not a typical ministry, but a ministry that includes my passion for the medical field, speaking Spanish, and working with kiddos. I realized my calling for my life is to one day care for Hispanic children & their families physically & spiritually. Although I am unsure as to how this will exactly play out, I am so excited and honored to live a life worth imitating and to life a life for Christ. That night I realized every pepperoni roll, tip and extra shift picked up was completely worth it.
EKK I JUST GOT A RUSH OF ENERGY BECAUSE LIKE I AM SO EXCITED GOD CHOSE ME TO DO HIS WORK LIKE WHAT A HONOR IT IS.
I know this post is like a mile long, but I really just poured out my heart these past few hours writing this. I hope you have an amazing day, thank you so much for reading!!
Me sharing my object lesson for the kiddos!!