Alaska 2022

Michael Shanks – Alaska Mission Trip Reflection

First off, I want to thank God for the opportunity he gave me. I also want to thank Belmont University, and Ryan specifically for putting together such a well-rounded mission trip. There are so many things that I could talk about regarding this trip, but I will try to cover the most important things. First off, I want to talk about the group of people that went on this trip. I went into this trip, with only knowing Ryan, and my two teammates. I was a little nervous because I am a little bit shy. The first couple days went by, and the group was acting as if we were family. And now reflecting on the trip a couple of weeks later, we indeed are family. It is amazing how God worked his purpose of this trip to help others in the Unalakleet community, but also how he worked this group of people to become so close so that we could maximize our impact. Another thing that I brought away was the different families and people we met in the village. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly to us. We were complete strangers to the village, but they welcomed us in like family. I also want to say that the kids that we met were so grateful and willing to learn. I was amazed with the attitude that they brought every day to the basketball camp. They were coachable, and always showed up with extremely open minds. I knew that we were making an impact on them but there was some proof that showed up later in the week. We received multiple graduation cards and gifts from the kids. They were also constantly asking us when we were coming back to the village. After seeing all of this, I am in fact willing and wanting to return to the village in the future. Leaving on the last day was so emotional because everyone became so closet throughout the trip. Kids were crying and hugging, and it was sad but also had a very accomplished feeling to it. It really showed how we made such a big impact in such little time there. Once again, God is good, and Unalakleet is pretty stinking cool.

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