Today, I introduce to you Andrea Lanier. Andrea has been involved at Walnut Hill UMC since a young girl, and was baptized this past May. She is active in our youth program and youth choir, and is currently a junior at W.T. White High School. I asked Andrea to share from her perspective about how she sees the time and service given to the church being fulfilling in her life through her experience of mission work.
"This isn't Mountain Top," I thought while on the road to Houston. 'Mountain Top' was one of our previous mission trips, and at the time, last summer, I didn't think Houston could compare. However, it did.
This Center for Student Missions (CSM) trip was one I've never experienced before and if you would have told me what an impact it was going to have on me I would have said, "Yeah right." You see I didn't understand just how much faith I would be seeing in one week: from 'Crossroads,' the homeless shelter where we passed out clothes, to the 'Way station,' where we handed out mail and breakfast. Each day was a chance to see God's work and so when I'm asked what my favorite part of the trip is I must say, "all of it."
While on the trip our guide, Cameron, taught each of us many important things that I still use and act upon today. For instance, you shouldn't call a homeless person 'homeless,' but rather, a 'person experiencing homelessness,' because if you just label them as 'homeless,' you don't see them as a person, as an equal, but they are. I also learned that a mission trip isn't a vacation, it isn't a get away or a place to relax, a mission trip is a duty to others; it's an enriching experience that can change lives.
I didn't think I could survive a week without air conditioning, and through the week our group seemed to fall apart, from stomach bugs, to asthma attacks, but the faith we all were experiencing kept us together. Then I thought, "Some people live in this type of weather or freezing weather," and it opened my eyes to the fact of just how privileged my life was, even if it doesn't seem to be all the time.
At the end of the week, when we packed up to head back, I was sad. The thing is, it doesn't matter weather or not you're in Tennessee on a mission trip, or right in your back yard, each experience you have, you grow with, and it's hard to let go. Last mission trip was one that I will never forget, because it taught me that no matter where you are or what mission work you're doing, you will be inspired and you will see God's work.