Trailblazers DTS student, Bailey Scully, sat down with Josie McGuire, one of our Music & Arts DTS students, when she returned from her mission trip to Spain and Germany. Here are some stories and thoughts she shared from her recent outreach.
Bailey: Is there a moment that revolutionised your time on outreach or changed your perspective?
Josie: My trip was not characterised by big dramatic stories. I think what Europe needs is human connection. They don’t need the food [donations], they don’t need the building of houses, they don’t need any of that really. Mostly what I believe Europe needs is people to listen and break the isolation. A lot of our outreach, both in Germany and in Spain, was about cultivating relationships. Everyday in Spain we would go to shops, we’d talk to people, give them artwork and simply make friends with them. We were all expecting something really cool and awesome; miracles and healings. But we submitted to the quiet, small things and I think this was most important. We did that and became content with building relationships.
We realised the strength of relationships we’d built on our last night. As we went around to say goodbye, people started crying [because] we were going. We had been there for 3 weeks. We knew everyone, and everyone in that little tiny town knew us. People invited us to [stay in] their homes if we ever came back again. They’re still in contact with our team. One person, an Indian man who ran a candy shop right next to our house, gave his life to Christ! Baloo is not the sort of person who would choose to convert because people asked him to or just to make us go away. We pretty much talked to him every day; we gave him flowers, we gave him artwork, we hung out with him after hours. On our last night we asked him if he knew Jesus, then we walked him through the Gospel story and he listened to us. We didn’t actually have any extra Bibles, so we gave him one of our own. I’m continually praying for Baloo, and that’s sort of how [our outreach] was characterised. By a steady, firm, projection of love into people’s lives that really grew up and flowered into a blossoming plant. It was amazing!
Bailey: So, during the three weeks your team was in Spain, did the locals know you as “the Christian missionaries”, or just as people?
Josie: They thought of us just as people. They thought we were tourists! We were honest with them, of course, when they asked, “why are you here?” We basically explained that we went to the Discipleship Training School and now we were there to show Jesus’ love and bless them. But that wasn’t their first impression; they thought we were a bunch of teenagers.
Bailey: You mentioned you found contentment in God’s presence, even though there weren’t really any big stories.
Josie: We learned to settle with Jesus which is really the biggest story of all I think!
Bailey: Has contentment with Jesus changed your perspective on evangelism or community?
Josie: Definitely! I think you’re never going to get anywhere with people if you have an ulterior motive, even if it’s to share Jesus with them, because people are pretty good at telling when you want to sell them something. Have genuine love, isn’t that what Jesus said? ‘By this all men shall know that you are my disciples! That you shall love one another!’ Isn’t it love that drove Jesus to come in the first place? It’s love that’s the true evangelistic method, and love is what everything else is supposed to come out of: healing, resurrection, driving out diseases or demons, they come out of love. Paul said, ‘everything’s a clanging symbol without love.’ So we learned to love. I learned to love.
I am really amazed that love is the first thing that God gave us. It’s the most important thing that anyone could have. I’m going to go home and I didn’t learn how to live in a third world country. I learned how to live in conditions that are like my own home, but live like that for Jesus. I learned how to go home for Jesus! It changed the focus of how I live completely. It’s not about the big things, it’s about the small things. That’s pretty typical to how God operates in the first place; it’s not only the rich people He looks at, its the poor people also. He looks at both the big and the little things. So, it changed me completely.
I’m going to go home and change the world from my neighbourhood.
Bailey: What kind of advice would you give to students who are about to leave on their outreach?
Josie: Well I think that ultimately you can never be prepared when you go on a mission trip, you just go do it. But, I think the first thing that you really need to be prepared for is developing love. When you first arrive in that new place, you are first very concerned with yourself; figuring out how to adjust to your new surroundings, and how to adjust to the people you’re with. In the midst of that self-focus, its really hard to be outward focused.
Developing love and unity first, that will make your mission trip so powerful!
Again, it’s by love that people will know that you’re His disciples.
Also, something I think that is really good for people to be aware of (I’m still developing my own spiritual beliefs in this area) is that when you go into a new place, there’s a spiritual culture of good and bad things, a spiritual mindset that is in a place. When you go into that place, you will find yourself acting in that same way. I don’t know why, but when you go into a new place that has a lot of darkness in it, you really need to prepare to act in the opposite way. If you see greed, or fear, or hopelessness, in your own personal life, you need to start acting with hope, contentment, rejoicing in the Lord. So, be prepared for what you’re going into, and start off in love, I think that’s the first step for anybody.
Bailey: Do you feel that you’re now ready to go home?
Josie: I’m excited to go home because I’ll want to do these things back home. I want to go on walks, praying all over my hometown. I want to play the ukulele and then talk to people when they come up to me. I want to be evangelising in the shops that I go into. I want to do all of those daily life things. I’m really excited and I’m really hopeful, but at the same time there are a lot of challenges that I’m going back to. However, I think for the first time I’m actually going to be okay because God has a plan and purpose, and as I obey Him it’ll happen. That’s why I can trust Him as I go home.