Our Great Adventure
Where does the Great Adventure begin? Perhaps it all begins with a promotional video, a flier, a testimony, or a youth leader challenging you to attend an Apostolic Youth Corps trip. You pray about it and decide, “Yes! I want to help!” Eventually, you turn in your application and try to prepare for the trip of a lifetime. You read through emails, texts, and posts for any information to help you prepare for this unique experience.
You become a traveling salesman, expert car washer, and an experienced chef raising money for your great adventure. Finally, it’s departure day! You have been preparing for this day for months. You say aloud, “Passport? Check! Comfortable shoes? Check! Bible? Check! Fresh mints? Oh no, I left them at church. Mom, we have to stop at the store!” One thing is missing—one thing for which no AYCer ever remembers to prepare.
No one tells you how to prepare for the life altering moments. How do you prepare for:
…Walking down busy streets and staring into the hopeless eyes of hundreds of Puerto Ricans? You have what they need, and while you hand them a simple flier, you catch a small glimpse of hope spring back to life. This hope they are starting to access is not tied to possessions or circumstances but rather the essence of compassion and Christ. Once you return, you receive a report they came to church and experienced the unconditional love of God. They have hope once again all because of a simple piece of paper and a willing servant.
…Dancing in the altar with a woman from Ghana, so carefree? Noticing she has nothing, but is giving God everything. You look at her face and her naturally contagious smile. She has this unexplainable joy that you have never found before. It is a joy that challenges you to overcome your fears and grab ahold of an unexplainable peace from God. Your faith is instantly increased.
…Being welcomed in Sri Lanka by a standing ovation from the churches as you enter? You are watching as those same people raise their hands when asked if they want to receive the Holy Ghost, and you realize the power of this life-saving message. Suddenly you’re face-to-face with a hunger for God that is impossible to ignore, and you are challenged to deepen your walk with God. You are challenged to share truth with any and all who will listen. Millions of miles from home, you realize the world starts at your doorstep. The great commission becomes my commission.
…Falling in love with people you just met and a place you have only been once? You create a bond with people in a few short days that will last a lifetime. At the end, you leave a part of yourself, never to return the same. A part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for AYC, and it is a price you would eagerly pay over and over again. It is worth it.
As you travel home, you realize you didn’t expect those life changing experiences. All the moments that challenged you to have a deeper walk with God and changed your perspective forever. At the beginning, you said, “I will go on this trip to help— to serve; they need me.” However, you leave with this repeating thought, “I needed Ghana/Puerto Rico/New York City, more than it needed me.”
This article was written by Seneatha Clayton, with the help of the AYC class of 2014 AYCers. Seneatha is the AYC promotions coordinator. God moments, traveling, adventures, and down-to-earth people make her smile. Youth ministry is her heartbeat.