Surrendering your plans to follow a call of God can feel scary, thrilling, confusing, and uplifting all at the same time. That is how I felt when God led me to take a break from pursuing my career in order to embark on a five-month mission trip.
When I was 18-years-old I had my cosmetology license, been employed at a hair salon for two years, and planned to move up at the salon. It seemed as if I had everything planned out for my life, but God intervened and changed my course. He laid a passion and desire for missions on my heart. At the time, it was confusing and felt unwise. Why would I drop all of the things I had planned for my life just to do a short mission trip? What if I didn’t have a job when I returned? What if this was a mistake? I felt like I would be entering a season of unknowns and risks.
That is when God started teaching me how to fully surrender and rely on him. In January of 2019, I started my journey with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Montana. The first twelve weeks of the mission trip were focused on learning more about the Bible, cultivating relationships with other students, learning how to share my testimony with unbelievers, and becoming more familiar with other cultures and religions. At the end of the twelve weeks, a team of us left Montana to spend the next eight weeks in Cambodia. When we arrived we took a six-hour car ride to the YWAM base in Battambang, Cambodia where we would stay for the duration of our trip.
Much of my time in Cambodia was spent teaching English. In the mornings my team and I would go into the local villages to play games with the kids, teach them some English words, then do a skit from the Bible that we had prepared. When we were done in the village, we would return to the YWAM base for lunch then prepare to teach English classes at a school in the afternoons. In addition to teaching, we spent our time doing house visits. We were able to share the gospel, pray for healing, and continue to build our relationships with the locals.
From the start of this journey, God was teaching me how to surrender. I went to Cambodia with only a hiking backpack full of necessities for the whole trip. I didn’t have a lot of materialistic things available to me for the first time in my life, but I was perfectly content. I witnessed extreme poverty in Cambodia, yet the Khmer people were some of the most joy-filled people I had ever met. I remember biking down the dirt roads and passing children who always had big smiles on their faces and would wave hello to me as I passed. In those moments, I could hear God’s voice saying to me, “You don’t need anything but me to be content and joyful.”
Stepping into the unknown can be daunting, but if God is calling you to it, he will be there to guide and provide for you. While I was deciding on this mission trip, I wondered how I was going to provide for myself when I was finished. But after experiencing what it’s like to not have a lot, I realized that my security is in nothing but Christ. He gives us all that we need in order to complete the mission that he has laid before us.