By: Kristi St. Amour
The mission of Gateway Church is to connect people to Jesus Christ and one another. We can join in this mission through four areas: Worship, Connect, Serve, and GO.
As a member of Gateway, I have been involved in the first three areas (Worship, Connect, and Serve). If I am being honest, I wasn’t giving enough attention to the last area: GO. As I kept reading Scripture, praying, and listening to sermons, it became evident to me that God was leading me to grow in this area. Yet, even as I felt the pull to GO, I didn’t jump into it right away. Each year as I looked at the list of mission trips, I knew I should sign up, but I always came up with an excuse as to why it wasn’t the right time for me to do so.
The time came when I needed to stop making excuses and just sign up to GO. Before I knew it, I was on my first mission trip to Costa Rica, along with 10 other members of our team.
While in Costa Rica, we had several opportunities to connect people to Jesus Christ. We taught VBS to over 200 kids at several schools and communities throughout the week. In one community, we were teaching and doing crafts in a shack with mud floors while random dogs were roaming around, yet it was the same Gospel message that is shared in comfortable churches here at home. The schools flood easily but are places where the love of Jesus is taught to children that may not hear it in their homes. We heard story after story of the rough circumstances kids are in when they return home from school each day. In spite of this, they were full of smiles and hugs as we sang, made crafts, played games, and learned about Jesus. We were also able to help with the maintenance of one school by painting some exterior walls.
We visited an orphanage to play with kids and heard heartbreaking stories about their pasts. We delivered some much needed medicine to the home of a very sick child. We prayed over this child and gave hugs to the family, with tears in both their eyes and in ours. We went into the community and distributed food to families in their homes. While in each home, we learned their story and prayed with them over many hard situations. We met several fellow believers, and we could see that the common hope we have in Jesus is stronger than any circumstance, language barrier, or cultural difference.
Not only were we connecting people to Jesus Christ, we were connecting to one another. Our team was full of different ages, personalities, professions, and backgrounds. Each member brought with them their unique spiritual gifts that were used throughout the week. Together, we attended worship services that were in both English and Spanish. We gathered each evening to discuss our day and dig into God’s Word. We spent hours each night learning, sharing, laughing, crying, and growing closer to God in the process. It was a gift to spend a week with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ away from the distractions of daily life at home.
I will forever be thankful that I finally listened to the tug of my heart, stopped making excuses, and followed the call to GO. We were only in a few communities, but it made me realize more than ever before there is much work to be done in spreading the Gospel. There are opportunities to be a part of a team both in the United States and abroad this upcoming year. You won’t regret joining in the mission to GO and connect people to Jesus Christ and one another. (Visit Gateway's Missions Page for more information.)