In a few words, Texas was intense, full of stretching and learning, and a time to hear from God.
In more words, I arrived on Monday, June 11th and reached Teen Mania’s campus around 6pm. Yes, I arrived at DFW about 2pm, so I spent about 2 hours in DFW and another 2 hours traveling to Garden Valley from Dallas. I used that time to get to know two sisters, Michele and Katlyn, who were headed to Guatemala. We had some awesome discussion and the time passed pretty quickly. Point number one of God taking care of me. :)
Once I passed through the gated entry to campus, I was able to register and turn over the remaining balance due for the trip (which came 100% from awesome, awesome donors answering the call of the Holy Spirit to financially back me on my trip. I was fully funded and then some, so thank you). It was around that time I noticed that my badge said something funny on it: “Missionary Advisor Candidate.”
Confession time: I had been asked by my rep a couple months back to be one of these Missionary Advisors, but I declined. Three times. It seemed like an unwise decision to accept a position I didn’t understand that involved being in charge of teenagers in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language. Add to that the fact that I knew next to nothing about Global Expeditions and how they work at the time, and I was thoroughly a “no” for this task. At the very least a “not this time.”
So I get to Texas, look at my badge and had someone explain to me what exactly a Missionary Advisor (MA) does. The woman explained that it’s a position where you’re a mentor/RA/leader of a small group of 3-5 people of the same gender. You room together, make sure everyone is doing okay on the trip, keep tabs on where they are at all times, spend time talking about anything they need to talk about, and share what God’s doing in your heart as you’re on the trip. And it was at that moment that I realized that this was God giving me an opportunity. It’s been a desire of mine for a several years to be a small group leader in a youth group type setting… to pour into younger women. I had never had the opportunity before because of how things lined up in my church life, so it’s been a back-of-my-mind type of ‘dream.’
Looking at that badge, it was like the Lord said, “Kristin, this is your chance.”
And I got a little excited.
My project directors ended up officially asking me to be an MA the next day, and I accepted. That’s how I ended up spending a good deal of time with these three lovelies– Jullissa, Ashtin and Rachel.
But back to Texas.
When they tell you you’ll be coming to Texas for “training,” they aren’t kidding. You don’t just come to hang out and play games to get to know your teammates – though you do that, too. You come to be poured into by speakers, by your team leaders and by your project directors. You come to worship and spend time with the Lord. You come to learn tips on how to share the Gospel. You come to be reminded – or hear for the first time – how vitally important it is to speak the Gospel. You come to learn how to share your story of when you met Jesus. You come to learn to shake off inhibitions and put on boldness. You come to make sure that when you step off of campus and enter phase two of your journey– the mission field– you’re prepared, in heart and in head, for the ministry you’ll be doing; so you’ll be prepared to hear from God.
You come to Texas and God speaks.
That’s the heart of Texas.