All year, I’ve been eagerly anticipating for the two weeks of July that involve my church’s Bathurst Mission Trip. Whenever people ask me what I did in New Brunswick, I find it difficult to come up with a short answer. There were so many amazing experiences and stories, I could go on for a long time. But, I’ve decided to narrow it all down into five categories. Here are the major ways I saw God working in Bathurst over the past two years:
The Kids of Bathurst
Bathurst is a smaller city with amazing people. Our day camp started very early in the morning, and most of the kids who came had to drive about an hour to get to the church. Last year, I was a crew leader of a group of older girls about 7-12 years old. One of the girls in my group insisted that she was only coming for one day because she didn’t like it, and frequently complained to me about the quality of the camp in general. I thought I’d never see her after day one, but lo and behold, she came back every day of the week. On the final day of camp, we had small group time, and this girl asked me for proof that God was real. Before I could even think of an answer for her, the other girls in my group had faithfully given her their own answers. As a camp leader, it’s hard to know if the stories you’re teaching the kids will be remembered, and sometimes it feels as if they have no idea what you’re talking about. Not only did my group understand what we were teaching them, they were teaching one another as well. I was amazed to hear these girls talking about their faith and what they believe to one another and to see God working in their lives.
Music and Worship
After a tiring, but exciting day full of service projects, setting up, cleaning, or running a morning of VBS, we would gather together at the end of the day in our close living quarters, to have a time of worship and share our experiences that day. This was one of my favourite parts of the mission trips, because after all the hard work done during the day, this gave us the chance to praise God for the work we were able to do and to put our focus back onto Him. It was easy to become stressed and tired on the trip, but these debriefs allowed us to reflect on the real reason we were there. In these moments, I was able to push aside all my thoughts or worries of the day or the days to come and keep my focus on God.
Nature, and the Beauty of God’s Creation
I was talking to my coworker about Bathurst during my break the other day, and I tried to explain the scenery of New Brunswick. Living in Toronto, I’m used to a crowded, busy atmosphere and being able to take the bus, or walk to get where I need to go. When in Bathurst, we had to drive everywhere since everything is spaced out and far away. When we went to the town square, we could see the ocean and the beautiful sunset in the evenings. We also went to Pabineau Falls As I sat by the water and just listened to it moving, you could feel God’s presence through His creation. Visiting these places was a reminder to me that God created this earth, and that the earth and all it’s beauty is His. Watching the water and the stillness of nature in Bathurst brings such a peaceful atmosphere, it’s so easy to feel God’s presence in the beauty of His creation.
The Bathurst Team
Going to Bathurst with a team of great people made the trip an amazing experience. Everyone was excited to travel to a new place. Everyone had their own job, and as a team we all worked great together. Last year, living in a small house with 22 people could have gone terribly wrong. But instead of arguing over space, or complaining about shower times, we were able to survive two weeks without getting sick of each other. I thought I knew everyone in our group pretty well, but after the mission trip, I had learned so many things about them, and the trip had brought us so much closer together, and so much closer to God during this time.
If you were to ask anyone from the mission team about Bathurst, they will mention Sean. We met Sean the first year we went to New Brunswick. He’s a member of St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church and was there on the first day to welcome us. As we began our service projects in the community, he joined us and soon became a part of the group. It was almost as if he had come with us from Toronto. Seeing God work in Sean while we were there made me realize how God can use one person to do great things. It has been a blessing for everyone to see how meeting Sean on the mission trip made a huge difference in his life and in our lives.
Our team leaves for Bathurst on July 14th. I hope you’re as excited as I am! Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for our third mission trip!
Come back regularly as we will continue to post more information about the Bathurst Mission Trip. This post was excerpted from Annie’s blog, The Earth is Yours. Check it out and read more about her experiences, thoughts and challenges in living a life with Christ.