Apply to be a summer missionary with MissionLab and you risk the possibility of: poison ivy infested legs, meeting hundreds of incredible individuals every week and saying goodbye to those same individuals at the end of the week, falling in love with the most eccentric city on earth, and having your life changed forever.
No big deal…right?
Well, for me, it was a big deal—the biggest deal. However, I definitely didn’t realize this when I first applied to be a summer missionary in the summer of 2014. I applied because I knew I had loved working with MissionLab as a camper, but I had never spent my entire summer working at a camp. Nonetheless, I knew it was something I wanted to try at least. After applying and being accepted, I was pumped for the summer to begin. I had been to MissionLab as a camper, but I knew I didn’t know all that went into being a summer missionary. I had decided to go into the summer with no expectations. Also, I wasn’t aware that the Lord was planning to use this summer to truly change my entire life.
I knew I would probably come back from that first summer with a few new acquaintances, new skills, and selfishly feeling pretty good about myself, but that proves how small my view of the Lord was and how small I believed His plans were.
Wrecked does not adequately describe what the Lord did to my extremely small view of Him and His plans that summer. Without a doubt, I believe the Lord used my time at MissionLab and continually uses it to change me into the person He created me to be. I believe the lessons I learned at MissionLab are practical and extremely important for all followers of Jesus.
Here are a few:
- Community is vital. The other Summer Missionaries and the MissionLab staff taught me and continue to teach me what real community is.
- Prayer is not a second or final option. Pray about everything and everybody. If you struggle with believing your prayers “do anything,” literally ask the Lord to help your unbelief.
- Honesty and humility. Be honest about yourself and your struggles. Lay yourself down to the Lord every moment of every day.
These things seem simple because it’s just a nice little list, but I know they are not simple and I know they are impossible without the Lord. Because of these lessons, time and time again, I have found that asking the Lord for help is the best possible move to make.
So, after that first summer, I worked for MissionLab the summer of 2015 and 2016. I have countless stories I could tell, but this blog would quickly become a novel if I were to write them all here. However, the best way I can sum it up is to say, I know now that the Lord is always doing more than you believe he is and He’s infinitely more loving than the best kind of love you can imagine. What He says is more real than anything you can hold in your hand, and immeasurably more is the only way He operates.
You may become a summer missionary and experience things vastly different than I did, but I can promise you this—if you’re a follower of Jesus, He is going to use this time for your good and His glory and, really, that is all that ever matters.
Abby | Former Summer Staff