Photography by Najha Restrepo

March 2015 I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a mission trip to Croatia & Austria. Four months later I am here to share how it impacted and changed my life. So much took place within me that it felt almost impossible to process through what I had experienced. This trip pushed me out of my comfort zone and into my destiny, into the realization that I was living way too small. 

We tend to have a lot of head knowledge, but fail to walk in the reality of what we know to be true. My experience in Croatia & Austria proved that this is exactly how I was living. A lot of the lessons that I had already learned came like some sort of epiphany to me. Things just began to click. These revelations are now solidified within me:

  • Faith requires action. Yes that sounds so simple, but it's so profound. Sometimes we believe that simply thinking that God will show up is enough, but many times he wants us to step out in faith before he makes his move. Several times I found myself in a position where I had to step out or stand around waiting for something to happen (which sounds pretty stupid now that I think about it). Every time I stepped out in FAITH God gave me the perfect words to speak life into someone's situation. We don't always have to have it all figured out, we just have to obey what He is saying. Risk brings breakthrough!
  • Many of us know that we should look at others through the eyes of God. Something that hit me like a ton of bricks was the realization that I did not look at MYSLEF through the eyes of God. I allowed my insecurities to hinder me from being bold because I was constantly being critical of myself. God set me free from perfectionism. Perfectionism is the spirit of excellence on overload. With my perfectionist tendencies, good was never "good enough" and I did not take the time to focus on what was great about who I was and how I did things because I was too focused on what I needed to improve. God doesn't look at us that way. He rejoices when we do something we were once too fearful to do. He doesn't say "I know you stepped out of your comfort zone Najha, but that didn't quite come out how I imagined" OR  "you stuttered a little when you spoke in front of that crowd, better luck next time" NO! God is not cruel, so why should we ever be that cruel to ourselves? Through this I learned that I was full of pride; so consumed with self that I allowed my actions to convey that I knew more about me than God. Therefore setting limits on what I would do for Him. Thankfully, I was set free from over-analytical thinking in a BIG way. Now I celebrate every tiny victory, instead of putting myself down for "not being good enough" (whatever that means). 
  • You can learn a lot by serving with a group of 20 people because there are so many different personalities and perspectives. One of the greatest things I learned was that we don't see things as THEY are, we see things as WE are!

Think back to when you were a child. You're sitting at the dinner table playing with your food. Mom, in a stern voice, says "eat  your vegetables." Your response, " but moooom I don't like broccoli!" She then goes on to explain how there are kids in Africa or some third world country that are starving. Hearing this type of thing as a child gave me the impression that the only people that needed help where the children in Africa. In reality people all over the world are in need of something, weather physical, emotional, or spiritual. You may wish to one day be able to help people in poor nations. My simple advice to you is to start where you are. Someone within a five mile radius of you may not need food or a place to live, but they do need someone to encourage and uplift them. 

The beautiful thing about mission trips is that you go to serve people and to feed them spiritually and/or physically, but at the end of it all you feel as though you have received more than you gave. 

Do you have any questions about my missions trip? Comment below or e-mail lovecreatepeace@gmail.com