Before you find out where you will be going on your summer mission trip through Send Me Now, applicants have to go for an interview weekend to see where they would fit best.
The interview weekend was in February, and David and I, along with Sarah and several other friends, were very excited to finally find out where we would be spending our summers. I had looked over the list of possible destinations several times, never truly feeling any of them stick out to me. Of course, the ones in places I’d never been sounded appealing, but I wanted to go where God was placing me, not just to say I’d gotten to go to this new state or that new country.
I loved my group during interview weekend, getting to know some really cool students from all over Georgia. At the end of the weekend, we were supposed to have our choices in numbered order, our top choice as number one. I had continued to agonize over the list, completely unsure, but I was really interested in the trip to East Asia. It was only for a month, so I’d still be able to work during the summer, and it was very much out of my comfort zone. I also had a two month trip to Orlando, FL, on my list, as well as the Alaska trip and my second choice, a week-long trip to a town in Mississippi.
David, on the other hand, never wavered in his certainty that he would be going on the South Korea trip. He felt God leading him there and knew that’s the trip he would be going on. I envied him that, mostly because I’m horrible at knowing whether or not God is telling me something or if it’s just my loud mouth in my mind.
After we left to come back to Shorter, the Campus Ministers and other interviewers stayed behind to pray over the weekend and where each of the applicants would be going over the summer.
David and I had Sunday at Shorter the next day, a day where prospective students and their families come for tours of the campus, a chance to attend a chapel service, and meet with faculty and current students about any questions they might have. I was nervous the whole morning, knowing that we’d be getting phone calls at some point during the day letting us know where we’d been placed.
I had given a tour, eaten lunch with students, and was helping clean up after lunch when my phone started buzzing in my pocket. I was in the middle of folding up a table as I answered the phone. I had already told myself I would be going to Mississippi because there was just no way that I was a “good enough Christian” to go to Asia on a mission trip. I was shaking until Erin, our Campus Ministries Intern, said, “Are you ready for this? You’ll be spending your summer in…” She paused, and I almost passed out. “East Asia.” My eyes widened, I think I dropped the half-folded-up table in the floor, I might actually have passed out (not really).
I was floored. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I was better at hearing God speak to me than I thought! I was so, so excited and also so, so terrified. After finishing clean-up, I went to find David. He had a big smile on his face, and I knew he was going to Korea. Sarah also got her first choice, Camp Pinnacle, so it was a pretty great day, except I had to go study for a Biology lab practical that I thought would be the death of me, but I somehow
I went on another mission trip before my trip to East Asia, to Arlington, TX. That was a fun trip and I loved getting some more missions experience before heading overseas. It still amazes me to this day how wonderful it is to see God’s work being fulfilled.
In May, David graduated from Shorter. He also got a job as a Campus Ministries Intern at West Georgia in Carrollton. He would literally be living four minutes from his parents’ house. I was glad that he would be that close to Rome for my senior year, but we both knew we wouldn’t get to see each other very much.
After David graduated, he got ready to head to South Korea for two weeks. This was becoming achingly familiar. He had an amazing time on his trip, getting to know the Campus Minister he would be working with at West Georgia. When he finally got back, we had about a month to spend together before I went on my own Asian adventure.
We went to Lake Winnie and rode rides a day or two after he got back. He almost cried on one and I still make fun of him for it. We visited Sarah, Jennifer, and Allison at Camp Pinnacle one weekend. David’s college roommate was getting married there so it worked out really well. The girls got Mexican while David was at the wedding rehearsal, and then we all watched movies around someone’s laptop.
David took me to meet a friend of his family’s that had adopted a little girl from East Asia so she could talk to me about what to expect when I got there. I was nervous, but honestly not about the food or the language barrier or anything, but that I’d get in trouble for sharing about Jesus. I had no idea what it was going to be like, but I was ready.
David took me to the airport the morning I left, and he gave me a big folder with sealed letters from lots of the people I love. It is still the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.
It was a long day of flying, and I even had an out-of-body experience on the sixteen hour flight from Detroit to Hong Kong. It was scary, and I just wanted off that plane. When we arrived, I couldn’t believe how painfully hot it was. The East Asian humidity laughs in the face of our not-even-real Georgia humidity.
It was a crazy month, full of trying and failing to ride a bike, holding my pee for thirteen hours some days (squatty potties and I are not friends), learning (I say that loosely) Chinese, meeting some of the sweetest people in the whole world, and handing out so. many. flyers.
We worked at a local English learning center, where we got to help the teachers teach the little kids English. It was so much fun. I loved the kids, I loved that everyone treated us like celebrities (no joke, we signed lots of autographs), and I loved making a difference in these peoples’ lives. It was a long, tough month, and there were definitely times where I got very homesick, but I had my precious notebook with words of encouragement from so many people I knew were back home praying for me and my team.
When the month was over, I couldn’t believe how fast it had gone by. Sure, I got seriously tired of Chinese food and would have given anything for just a regular toilet, but God used me that month, and it was amazing. I had been so worried that I would get there, and everyone would be like, “Why on earth is she here? She’s not a strong enough Christian for this!” But, of course, that never happened. I was there for a reason, and it was fantastic.
When I got back, David was waiting for me again at the airport, as had become our custom. The first thing I wanted was macaroni and cheese, and, since it was 3 a.m., I had to settle for getting that at IHOP (it was surprisingly delicious!). We had made it through another crazy summer, spending another six weeks apart in different countries. It was time for me to start my senior year and for David to start his very first grown-up job. I didn’t know it yet, but we were in for another year full of surprises.