It has been my honor to be sent by Bridgeway to work with our Missions Partners all over the world. I’ve worked at Bridgeway for almost eight years and have had many unique experiences across the different departments, but being a part of a missions team never once crossed my mind. Then something happened in March of 2022.
God has a funny way of pinging our spirits before we even know why. Last spring, a desire to go on a mission trip reignited in my spirit for the first time in a decade. At the same time, the Ukraine Missions Team was gearing up to head to Hungary. Just six months later, I was asked to join the team on Bridgeway’s second trip to work with Ukrainian refugees, and I thought that was it! I had done it. My desire to go on a mission trip was fulfilled.
But God had different plans, and I was asked to go on yet ANOTHER mission trip – this time to Cancun, Mexico. I was invited to join the trip as a leader focused on photo/video documentation and leading worship with the students. In our months of preparation meetings, I taught the students about worship – not just praising through song, but expressing their love of God through journaling, prayer, and meditating on His Word. Yes, we spent our times of worship singing about God, but we also took communion together, or just sat in silence with our Creator. Rather than thinking of worship as something we do on a Sunday morning, we had to learn that worship should be throughout the week and in everything we do on the trip and beyond. This is one of the songs our team learned in our preparation. Click play on this video and listen to it in the background as you continue reading.
For us on the trip, “throughout the week” meant while we were out in the sun mixing concrete and carrying buckets of water to build a house. We couldn’t exactly stop working and start singing while we were delivering groceries to the community or shopping in a Mexican Walmart. How would I as the trip Worship Leader create moments of praise and worship among moments of exhaustion and dehydration? How would I be able to lead them when my voice was gone and there was no guitar around?
That was when preparation was met with opportunity. I didn’t have to do anything.
Throughout the week, students were constantly writing about their experiences in their journals. I overheard groups singing Yeshúa in their downtime. Students prayed over other students. Leaders and students danced together to Bless Me by Maverick City in the hotel lobby. Worship was not just about what we sang at VidaLife Church on Palm Sunday morning! Worship was about reading the Psalms together in the heat of the afternoon after a tough worksite day on a Wednesday. It was about sitting in attentive silence while someone else shared their testimony about how God brought them through the toughest time in their life. We curated an atmosphere of worship that carried us from our preparation meetings to putting on a puppet show to Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” It carried us from our one-on-one conversations with each other to teaching children the moves we created for “I Thank God.” And it carried us to the airport for our return home through our post-trip meetings and hangouts.
The YWAM team hosted us for one of their worship sessions on Thursday after our final worksite day and before our final park outreach. The atmosphere in the room was electric. Darius, the director for that YWAM branch, opened the service by expressing what we had been talking about all throughout this process – this time was not just to sing, especially if we didn’t understand the words in Spanish. This time was for us to feel free to wander around the room, to sit and journal, or to grab someone and pray. I was also personally challenged in my expression of worship when Darius asked if anyone had a word to share. I shared about the goodness of God based on Pastor Sandy’s message from the week before. It was amazing seeing God move throughout the room as we celebrated who He made us to be.
Yes, there was work to do, but it wasn’t just work building a house or praying over the Cuna Maya community. There was work to be done through worship in breaking down each of our personal walls. I’ve never seen teenagers and adults sobbing together in gratitude and joy like we did. I shared tears with so many because while we were pouring out our hearts and bodies physically for God, He was pouring back into us with overflowing joy and love.
Thank you, Bridgeway, for trusting me on these amazing trips. Thank you for praying with and for our team. Thank you for trusting us leaders with your children! I encourage you to read their personal accounts of what God did through them on the trip at this link. All of us were blogging during the trip and will continue to upload stories as often as we can. Keep worshiping in everything you do and you will be amazed at what God does through you.
If you would like to hear more testimonies of how God worked in and through the Mexico Mission Trip, I hope you can join us this Thursday night on Zoom! Register here to receive the link. This is sure to be an impactful time of giving thanks to God and sharing stories of his faithfulness.
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