Beauty in the Unexpected

Here I sit soaking in the reality of re­entry. Having feelings of separation, loneliness, and
uncertainty.  While I begin to process these things for what feels like the hundredth time, if feel a
sense of peace and joy from the unexpected that occurred during the past month in Guatemala.
As I look back on pre­trip preparations I remember reminding myself to go into this new
experience without expectations, being fully open to whatever God has to show me. As much
as I could control, I listened to my advice. With that being said, I can look back now and see
some subconscious expectations about what my month in Guatemala might look like. I
unknowingly had expectations about seeing old friends, expectations about participating in
sports ministry, and expectations about pouring into the lives of the high school students I was
about to lead.  Looking back, some of those expectations were met, but the beauty still lies in
the unexpected results that would follow my 5 weeks away from where I currently call home.
Throughout the duration of my trip I experienced many similar things to my past two times in
Guatemala.  I felt many of the same emotions, and took part in many of the same activities (Yes,
hiking Pacaya is just as cool the second time).
Along with these similar experiences came new and unexpected ones.
Here are a few things that occurred during the past 5 weeks that I did not expect:
1. Learning a ridiculous amount from the ambassador students in which I was leading
2. Building incredible relationships with my co­leaders
3. Spiritual growth
Learning From Students-
Basically, the group of high school students I had the privilege of doing life with the past month
are among some of the coolest people I know. I had the expectation of influencing their lives,
but in reality they changed mine. I can honestly look back to ALL 24 students that I met in
Gainsville, GA and think of something amazing I learned from hearing their story, watching their
actions, and listening to their opinions.
Co­Leader Love-
After having beyond amazing leaders for each of my past outreach trips and leading alongside a
very fun, adventurous, strong woman of God during my last trip to Guatemala I had hoped and
prayed that I would connect with my co­leaders this month. Looking back, I can honestly say
that there are no 3 individuals I would rather have had by my side. The diversity between us
was evident, but our commonalities remained. Each of them taught me so much about myself,
about life, and most importantly about the Lord.
Spiritual Growth-
I know what you’re thinking, did I actually go on a mission trip expecting not to grow in my faith?
No.  I did expect, assume, hope for spiritual growth during this experience. However, I did not
know what it would look like. I expected to spend more time with the Lord. I expected that it
would spark my eagerness to know more and connect with him at a deeper level. I did notexpect for my faith to be challenged, stretched, or questioned. God had a different plan. I
thought I was comfortable sharing my faith, I wasn’t. I thought I was okay sharing about my
past, I wasn’t.  I thought I heard from the Lord often, I hadn’t. I thought I knew what God
wanted, I didn’t. Through co­leaders, mentors, and high school students the past 5 weeks I have
learned more about who I am. I have become more comfortable in sharing with others. I have
become more confident about what hearing from God looks like to me. I have seen healing,
surrender, and deliverance. I have built relationships, grown, and experienced a lot of joy,
laughter, and freedom.
Praise the Lamb for the students, families, co­leaders, ministry hosts, missions organizations,
schools, churches, communities, and individuals that had an impact on this experience.

More Articles in This Topic