CDA Student Braeden Murphy shares how his life has changed by simply attending one mission trip.
I have been very involved in missions in my church for the past four years. I have been to Belize on family mission trips five times in the last four years, and I recently went to Vancouver, Canada, on a student trip. Mission trips have become a huge part of my life and something that I have developed a passion for. I love working with young kids and pouring into them and showing them love when they most likely don’t get it at home or elsewhere. For the work I’ve done in Belize, my parents were really the ones who made the choice to take this mission trip, so I got involved mainly because my family was involved in it. I just came along for the trips, but they have had a bigger impact on me than I ever imagined. As for the trip to Vancouver, I made the choice to go on this trip actually because it was a student mission trip at our church and I was invited by my girlfriend and a couple of my buddies from the church we’re currently attending.
I had never been on a mission trip with our church’s youth group and I figured it was one of my last opportunities and it was something I knew I had a passion for in working with kids. This time the way I got involved was really through my girlfriend and it was a great decision to go. For both of these mission trips I really didn’t get into the trip myself, it was either through family or through other people. Because of the impact that these trips have had on my life, I have no doubt that God orchestrated that to perfection. Starting with my first trip, He has made it evident to me that mission work is one of my was a passions.
For every single trip I’ve taken, there has been something different that I learned about the Lord or about myself that I have taken back to Texas and used to change my daily life. From a trip like the Belize mission, you come back with something new each time. Sometimes you learn it through quiet time or from the kids you work with or sometimes even from the group you are with. This year in Belize there was a vast difference in the behavior of the kids, many of the kids are into gangs at just 12 or 13 years of age.
Coming back this year and seeing that some of the kids that I met four years ago are now into the a gang known as "The Crips" is a heartbreaking thing. That being said I think this most recent trip changed my life the most out of any other. I really struggled with the question, “Why do I come back to Belize?” I quickly learned that the reason I go on mission trips isn’t to have this massive alter-call and bring 50 people to Christ. While that would be great, the reason I go can be as small as a single conversation that could possibly plant a seed that I may never live to see the fruit of.
The way that changed my life back here in Texas is that it gave me a new energy for the gospel that I hope to carry with me everywhere I go. As Christians we are called to be different, so it helped me to focus more on being different and being the salt of the earth.
Learning this really helped me on the Vancouver mission as well because it was a very different kind of trip, one that made focusing on a single conversation very important. On this trip we encountered more educated conversations as we not only were spending time with kids but also with random people throughout the fishing village. The Vancouver trip changed my outlook on life because I realized, going to a place like that, we are so beyond blessed to live where we live. So many people in the Vancouver area didn’t even know what a Bible was or who Jesus was, and it was devastating.
A majority of the people in Vancouver don’t identify with a religion so they have zero knowledge of anything about Jesus. Where we live you rarely encounter someone who doesn’t identify as a Christian and hardly ever see anyone with as little knowledge of Christianity as many of the people in Vancouver had. So all that to say Vancouver gave me a new and improved appreciation for the place we have been so blessed to call home.
For me serving on these trips has been such a big part of my life and has developed into a passion of mine. I think that serving is extremely important in any form because the Bible calls us to be different as Christians. I’ve always heard it explained like this: when someone looks at your life and the way you act not only towards others but just in general they should see something different in you. And in my opinion that is the biggest part of doing our job in working at carrying out the Great Commission, in a place where it is hard to minister because we know everyone and we are comfortable and things like that. I think that is the biggest part of why serving is important.
The point of serving is to do it in hopes that someone may see or hear what you’re doing and see that you have something different. But even more than that, all service is for the glory and honor of God not of man. Overall these are two great trips that changed my life and hopefully this serves as encouragement to others who are looking to get into missions. It has drastically changed my life and going on these trips were some of the best decisions I’ve ever made.