Trips that Make a Difference
We might tell ourselves a perfect time will come for that overseas missions trip…after we’ve achieved a little financial stability or reached a certain career point. But who says the most convenient time is the perfect time?
Anthony had no money. No way was a missions trip to Africa part of his plan. Studying to be a physician assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) took every dollar and all of his time. But then a PA who went to Seacoast came in to talk to his class. By the second photo of children in some remote clinic being treated for malaria and inoculated against measles, Anthony felt something stir. “This is what I gotta do.”
A Different Kind of Spring Break
He took a step of faith and fundraised his way to Africa during spring break with some of his MUSC classmates.
Since then, Anthony has gone on eight Seacoast global missions trips: two to South Africa and six to Togo. “For anyone considering missions,” he said, “you don’t need a particular skillset to go. There is always something for you to do.”
“For anyone considering missions, you don’t need a particular skillset to go. There is always something for you to do.” Anthony, Medical Missions Team
When Anthony first went to South Africa, a gentleman named John came in to the clinic, seeming drawn more from curiosity than concern for any major health issues. After his check-up, he lingered, as if waiting. “When we asked him if there was anything we could be praying for him about,” Anthony said, “that’s when he started asking about Jesus.” By the end of the conversation, he wanted to accept Christ.
Anthony and a fellow PA student, Gabby, exchanged a look. “What do we do now?” All the pastors were busy doing other things. So they took John by the hands and led him through a prayer to receive Christ.
A Defining Moment
“That,” Anthony said, “was a defining moment in my spiritual journey. I thought you needed a seminary degree or some advanced knowledge of the Bible to be used in such a way, but God showed me that he just needed us to be a willing vessel that he can work through.” Afterward he and Gabby prayed with John and introduced him to the local pastor who followed up and continued the discipleship process after they left.
“People often ask me,” Anthony said, “ ‘what happens after you leave?’ That’s the great part actually. Seacoast has spent years developing good relationships with local partner organizations. That brings continuity to our projects and let’s us focus on the long-term.”
Oh and the PA who prayed with Anthony for John? She’s now his wife.
Looking at the Long-term
Teams might dig a well or build a medical clinic in a remote village where people have never heard of Jesus. By a Seacoast team’s next visit, there’s often a thatched-hut church in that village with missionaries staffing it. People like John come up and show you their Bible and how much they’ve learned since last they saw you. That is true change.
In doing short-term missions trips, people often ask, what happens after you leave?
In Togo, there was actually a village whose name translated to “Hell”. Like most villages in Togo, it lacked access to clean water. But once someone from Seacoast donated money for a much-needed well, things started to change. This village now has a well, a church, a clinic and a school. The government recently renamed it “Place of Refuge.”
“Gabby and I can’t tell you how missions trips will change your life, but we can tell you that they will. We have learned so much from so many incredibly strong people in South Africa and Togo. It changes how you look at the world.”
What about you? There are lots of ways to contribute. You can donate, pray, support missions dinners, or go on a missions trip yourself. If God has put it on your heart…take that next step. At least sign up for more info…and see God work!