living savior || missoula, MT
Nakiya Chatham, Suzette Smith, Tamara Thomas, and Kayla Darica Matthew-Ward || Kingdom Workers Volunteers
Going to Montana was a new experience for me. I got to meet new people, make new friends and even engage with some of the children and explored their thoughts and dreams.
While we were there we were split into groups and we got to see the beauty Montana has to offer. We played games such as frolfing, soccer, ultimate Frisbee and we taught them how to play cricket. We got to visit places while volunteering to do community work. We went to Splash Montana, parks, food bank, nursing homes, rattlesnake trail, as well as, lakes and hiking.
The people we met were very kind and friendly and always happy. While being in Montana, the concept that stood out to me the most was the concept of team work and helping others with whatever talent you have. God gave us all many talents and when we put them together we can get any task done and help one another.
Overall this experience is one that will forever make a lasting impression on me and will help me spiritually, physically and mentally throughout everything for the rest of my life.
My mission trip this summer to Missoula, MT, went beyond my expectations. Prior to visiting this place, I had high hopes that my time there would be wonderful, and truthfully speaking, I was not disappointed. Each day was packed with a variety of activities. In the mornings, we had opportunities to hear and share God’s word and engage the children in sporting activities as we focused on the theme: ‘The Hands of Jesus’. The afternoons, on the other hand, allowed each participant, both children and volunteers, the privilege of putting his/her faith into action by serving others.
In reflecting on this trip, I was impacted spiritually and also able to be a blessing to others. I was truly amazed to see how very friendly the host volunteers and the children were, although we had different cultural and racial backgrounds. This to me was a great witness of their service to God and so clearly corroborated the camp’s theme. Moreover, interacting with the children, particularly on a one on one basis, presented me with opportunities to share my faith and be an encouragement to them.
Though the aforementioned were all great experiences, the service projects - visiting the elderly at a nursing home, cleaning the neighborhood park and school, and packaging food items at a food bank for the unfortunate, all enriched my experience. I think these projects were significant because I feel as Christians we sometimes ‘pay lip-service’ in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ without really demonstrating His love in practical ways. A visit with an elderly couple of over 50 years provided me an opportunity to express the love of which I speak. Though there was not much talk about my faith until the gentleman inquired the reason for my visit; in that moment, with God’s help, I was able to exhibit God’s love not so much by words but through actions. The other moving experience I had was reading the word of God with one of our members who resided at the nursing home. Although she appeared to have Alzheimer’s, she was still so delighted to hear God’s word. This lady’s thirst emphasized the scarcity of God’s word within the institution and further stresses the need for individuals willing to avail themselves for this kind of service. These two practical applications are two of my most treasured blessings. They along with the other experiences helped to move this mission trip well beyond my expectations.
My experience of the trip to Missoula, Montana was very eye opening. It was lovely being able to spread the gospel with other Lutherans as myself and sharing it with the children by strengthening their faith or simply introducing them to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was amusing to hear that some of the children haven’t heard of God or know who he is, especially coming from the Caribbean which is where most of our social attributes come from the Bible.
I was extremely happy that I was one of the few who were chosen to do this mission trip. Especially, in a state that is said to be “country” and not visited as frequently as other states. Also, I hope that this experience will still be available for the other Antiguan young Lutherans to come so that they can go forth and be disciples to different and other environments. It shows why we are Christians and strengthens the faith we have with the Lord as well.
Kayla Darica Matthew-Ward
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