Mission Monday: El Salvador

Mission Monday: El Salvador

Watch this video to hear about senior Lydia Dunlap’s mission trip to El Salvador and why you should consider going on a mission trip.

Video shot and edited by Candyce Slayton
Produced by Grace Vandergriff

Want to know more about Lydia’s trip? Read down below!

“In my fall semester of my first year of college, I was really wanting to go on a mission trip. So I talked with the director of Volunteer Student Missions, Angela Rice, and she said she didn’t have anywhere as far as where I wanted to go, which was pretty far away, but she said she did have El Salvador. I told her I had never really been that far down South and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go anywhere in Latin America. She told me that she really thought I should try it and that they were going with the Shoebox Ministry. So, as a girl in GMAs, I had always packed shoeboxes before. We gathered up the toothbrushes and different games and we would put them in boxes and ship them to wherever in the world, and I never knew where they went or whatever happened to them once they left.

“So, I went with a team of about 10 people and only 3 of us were teenagers and then the rest were, let’s call them, older, wiser women. They were WMA ladies or they were just people from different BMA churches, as well as Angela Rice and the security leader for the BMA, so that was really neat. So, it was kind of this random group of people that all went together who didn’t know each other and when everybody got off the plane, I remember thinking, “What in the world are we going to do with all of these random people trying to have a mission trip?” I had only ever been on VSM trips where it’s all these teenagers who had built relationships. So, I didn’t necessarily know how this was going to go. But, it was one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with on a trip. All of our personalities meshed really well. The shoeboxes were already in country so we went around to all these different churches all across El Salvador, which, El Salvador isn’t that big of a country.

“They wouldn’t remember who we were but they would remember the way they felt. I think probably the biggest part of a mission trip is that it’s not about us. It’s not about who we are, or our name, or if we came back in a couple years and they remember us. It’s about giving them hope in whatever situation they’re in, because you can’t take them out of those situations. But you can show them Jesus through it and that’s way more impactful and way better than trying to get them out of the situation.

“I remember we went to this one village and it was really just this field. All these kids were there lined up and they were waiting to get their hand marked so they could get a box. I remember, there was this one girl and she was probably my age, we were both about 18. All the kids wanted to start jump roping, because, sometimes in boxes, they have jump ropes. But, they didn’t know what to do with the jump ropes, so they would take them out and it was just this long rope. It hit me for the first time that they didn’t know what a jump rope was, so we showed them. Even the older ladies on our team were jump roping and we got to have a great time. Eventually, our pastor brought out this really long rope and we swung it from one end to the other in this field. The kids would jump in and some would even cartwheel in. It was very impressive.But, I remember I was trying to make friends with this one girl and she was my age and we were on either sides of the jump rope. I didn’t realize, because I thought she was a kid like me, that she was a mom and she had 2 of her own babies there and they were getting shoeboxes. I just looked across at her and thought that it was a picture of…me. In mission trips, you see all these people from all these different places and all these walks of life, but she’s the same as I am. Through Christ, we are the same daughters in Christ and there is no difference in us. So it was cool to be able to look across and see that we lived such different lives, yet we’re still able to be sisters in Christ and that’s the gospel. That’s it right there, because you get to see people that you would have never seen and they get to be who they are in Christ, just like you get to be who you are in Christ, no matter what has been in your background. No matter your culture, no matter your language, it doesn’t matter because Jesus loves everyone.

“I remember I went on one of my previous mission trips, I went to the airport and I landed on this whole other continent I had never been in before and Satan started putting these lies in my mind. He told me, “You can’t fly super well because you get motion sickness. You can’t eat a whole bunch of food. You can’t speak the language. Why are you here?” I’m not super street-smart either so I could easily get kidnapped. So, I’m not necessarily your best candidate to take on a mission trip. I’m not someone that you are going to look at and think, “That’s going to be a missionary one day.” But, the thing is, no one has to think you are going to be a missionary. You don’t even have to think that you’re going to be a missionary, because the Lord equips you for what He has called you to do.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re equipped or you’re ready, because the Lord doesn’t need us to be ready and to be equipped, He just needs us to be willing. He needs us to love people and to serve people and once you say yes to that, that’s all He needs. He is going to use you through whatever you submit to.
“So many places that I went on mission trips, actually all four of them that I have went on, I didn’t want to go to originally. I had my mind set on where I wanted to go and who I wanted to serve. Then I got to these countries and thought, “This is perfect. This is exactly where the Lord wants me to be.” I didn’t have to know that. I didn’t have to know where I was supposed to go or who I was supposed to reach, because the Lord knew. There’s something so beautiful in letting go of the control that you think you have and just saying, “Lord, I’m ready. I’m going to go wherever you lead me.” I have had to learn so much on mission trips, so much more than in the states, how to rely on the Lord. Yes, in the states we do have to rely on the Lord, but it’s nothing like being in a country that’s not your own, not being able to speak to people, not being able to eat the food and just relying on the Lord.”


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