This Friday, we leave Nashville and head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Where has the time gone? There are a handful of us who have been to this phenomenal place, but there are a good number of us who have not. In preparation for the trip, I’ve taken notice of the reactions of my teammates who have never been. It has reminded me of myself, my first time around.
I transferred to Belmont University three years ago. Transitioning to a completely new environment again was scary and unknown. After spending my first month of summer school with the team I thought I had a pretty good feel for what I was in for, but I was one hundred percent not prepared for what came next. One of my very first experiences as a Belmont Bruin was our mission trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I remember the first time I heard about the trip and the multitude of emotions I felt immediately afterwards. At first there was a lot of excitement and anticipation, I was thrilled to get to be a part of something so special and fulfilling. I couldn’t wait to share God’s love. Those feelings started to fade, and I was struck with uncertainty. Don’t they speak a different language? I need to prepare a testimony? They want me to TALK about my relationship with God? What had I gotten myself into. My mind began racing and I couldn’t help but think about how I wasn’t satisfied with, at that time, where I stood with my faith. I felt incredibly underqualified.
Betty Wiseman is one of the most influential people in my life, and I am only one of so, so many others that would also say that. The trip three years ago was the first time I really sat down and talked with Betty and I instantly knew she was going to have a serious impact on my life. Betty helped any uncertain, uneasy feeling I had felt prior to the trip disappear. I had such a great appreciation for the leadership from Betty and Sharon Fairchild.
Day in and day out I was repeatedly in awe of God’s work all around us. It was absolutely remarkable to realize how simply loving on the children in Rio brought them significant joy. Yes, they do speak a different language, but God’s love has no language. Yes, I did have to speak about my relationship with God, but that’s easy when you’re speaking from the heart.
A seed was planted in my heart in Rio, one that changed my life. I wanted more of myself. I wanted to strengthen my faith and put much more of a focus on my walk with Christ. It took me a little while to come to terms with all the emotions I was feeling after the trip, but when we came back I eventually reached out to Betty. It was February of 2016 when I decided to give my life to Christ. I felt total and complete peace in my new, stronger relationship with Jesus.
The world we live in is a crazy place. One of the craziest things is that so many of us don’t have a full worldly view. We get very caught up in specifically where we reside. The lens in which I view everything is forever changed. I cannot wait to expand on that even more and for my current teammates to share in this experience. While preparing for this trip, those of us that have been have shared some with our teammates who have not. The biggest thing I’ve realized is that there is no way I could put that experience into words that would do it full justice. God is about to speak through us in the ways in which he intended, and there is not a more powerful way to lead into our 2018-2019 season. I hope that all of you continue to follow along and continue to pray for us throughout our journey. God bless.
Psalm 96:3, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples”