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No Woman No Cry…

On May 15th I made one of the greatest decision of my life, I was finally going to take my first ever missions trip. Ever since I became a Christian at the age of 16, I’ve always had a desire to go on a mission trip but fear always held me back and for 8 years I didn’t pull the trigger. This time it was different though, nothing was going to stop me from doing this trip… well almost nothing. On May 20th I got a message from A.I.M (Adventures in Mission) congratulating me on being accepted to the Philippines Trip. I was over the moon excited, that was until I read the fourth line of the email. It stated that I was the only guy in a group with 8 women. At first I was excited maybe I could find my future wife there but as the date got closer I started getting worried. I live with only my mom and sister so I’m used to dealing with women, but this was different. I didn’t know any of them; all I knew was their name because of a Facebook group so I decided that it would be a great opportunity for me to have more quiet time with God and kind of challenge me a little bit to get out of my comfort zone.

 On June 30th I started my trek to the Philippines and at every airport I looked around to see if anyone looked like they were going to the same place I was. It wasn’t until I reached Manilla where I walked around and saw someone wearing our AIM t-shirt, I got close and asked if she was going to Tacloban she said “yes.” Boom that was one down, we talked for a little bit and then soon after another person walked up to us and asked if we were going to Tacloban. That was two girls down and it seemed like everything was going smoothly, I hadn’t done anything dumb yet. We took our flight from Manilla to Tacloban and got picked up at the airport. Upon arriving at the Lighthouse the realization/fear of being the only guy fully sunk in.  As we got to know one another, I got even more scared as we had girls from all different walks of life. We had a college athlete, aspiring world racers, special needs teachers, youth pastors, former NASA employee, pre-k teacher, an aspiring navy cadet, and a sorority girl. Yeah a sorority girl, you know those girls in movies that are the mean girls to nerdy guys like me. Don’t worry though this story has an awesome ending.

            Over the next couple of weeks though something amazing happened, all the ideas and stereotypes that I had of all these girls started to go away. They started to share their stories with me, they started to teach me a lot of things, and they loved me like one of their own. See the thing is I came in with so many misconceptions and fears of what I was going to face, That I almost allowed that to hinder something beautiful that God was doing in my life. These 8 girls taught me so much about strength, perseverance, joy, and love. See, I always walked around like I knew everything, but in reality I knew things through my perspective. These girls faced some of the greatest challenges that I have ever seen in my life, and like the three men in the third chapter of Daniel, they came out of the fire unscaved. See in this trip I didn’t gain a wife, I gained something so much more valuable I gained a greater appreciation for life and made 8 new lifelong friends along the way. So if you ever get an email saying you are going on a mission with 8 girls, don’t hesitate, just go, I promise it will be fun.