This is part two of Nick’s story, read the first part here.
My first major step of faith was my trip to Hungary last year—my first overseas mission trip. It started a fire within my heart and a hunger to serve the Lord. I want to be strategic, so that I am effective in my approach to Kingdom work. I want to exercise wisdom, so that my labor is not in vain. I want to be bold for the Lord, so that His message is stated through my words and deeds. In observing what God is doing in me, I have become willing to walk away from my current secure life to achieve this end—to serve the Lord strategically, wisely, and boldly.
But why? Have I simply lost my mind?
The American Dream tells me that financial security, comfort, building your family and legacy, and the pursuit of happiness comprise the pinnacle of the human experience. While some may find what they seek in the American Dream for a short time, I am thoroughly convinced that we were created for greater things and bigger purposes. The curriculum theme for this year at SEC dealt with identity, purpose, and where you are going in life—all topics that God has been exploring with me over the past year. This made me enjoy the opportunity to dig into these things further with the students. In my journey with these topics, I’ve had many honest conversations with God where I sought to understand what truly matters in life. I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with financial security, comfort, building your family and legacy, or being happy; but I do believe that when these things become the end-goal, they will fail to deliver the satisfaction they promise. I would rather my life be characterized by the pursuit of serving the Lord, speaking the truth in love, meaningful relationships, and sharing the love of God with others.
So, what are you waiting for?! Get your feet wet! Don’t miss out on the joy of exercising your God-given talents to advance His Kingdom! Through these mission trips, God has shown me with greater clarity that my primary spiritual gift is service. But does your spiritual gift need to be “service” in order to go on a mission trip? Absolutely not. In fact, it was a welcome blessing to have a larger and more diverse group of people with different giftings come from Crosspoint to serve at SEC this year.
As I’ve shared, my time in Hungary has challenged me to think differently. SEC has stretched my faith in ways that I would have missed if I had not taken the step to serve God in a “missions” capacity. While there may be some discomfort in the process of being stretched, it allows me to reach further. Does that sound scary? Well, take it from an introvert (me), it’s worth it to venture outside of your comfort zone. Especially for us Americans. We need experiences that break us out of our limited cultural dogma and give us a fresh perspective on the needs that exist in the world around us.
What I’ve realized is that I always get as much, if not more, out of serving God as those who are benefitting from my service. It’s a win-win situation, and a mission trip often provides the unique environment where life-change can happen.
As I promptly step down from my soapbox, hope I have accurately expressed the joy it was to serve at SEC. I hope that I’ve captured the internal work that God has been doing in me and how SEC played a vital role in the process. I thank God for how He has blessed me and many others through SEC. I would also like to extend my gratitude to those who have supported me through prayer and financial sacrifices to make these mission trips a possibility for me. My prayer is that everyone would experience what it is like for God to work in you and through you—whether that sends you trekking across the ocean or to your local community of believers.
I’m already looking forward to SEC 2018… *Hint Hint* Save me a spot!
– By Nick Sullivan, OMS Hungary English Camp Volunteer