Enjoy the Team Australia testimonies as to how God worked in their lives and in the lives of others during their 2015 YOM Australia Summer Missions Trip...
It is not about who you are or what you can do; it is about the One you represent. Several times throughout the trip, I was in situations that were outside my comfort zone. Maybe it was an age group I am unfamiliar with, or we were not as prepared as we could have been. Whatever the reason, each difficult situation turned into a blessing. People would tell me what an encouragement or blessing we had been But most importantly, I was blessed. I was able to see the Lord touch hearts and lives despite my inabilities. The Lord truly wants to use and will use anyone anywhere as long as I am willing to serve.
Christy Hang Tuah
This mission trip was an amazing experience. I never thought it would be this hard to leave Australia, even for the 3rd time. Leaving Australia at the end of more than 4 weeks feels like leaving family. My love for the people that we've met has grown even more and makes me want to come back sometime in the future! We bonded really well as a team. God put each of us with different gifts and that's what make a solid and awesome team. God gave me the opportunity to work with kids at school; it was really fun! Also, God allowed me to work with teenagers at a camp, which I've never done but I really enjoyed it. Overall, this trip has spiritually shown me more about the mission field and has blessed me in many different ways. Thank you for all the prayers and support.
I've wanted to go on a missions trip for as long as I can remember and Australia has always been an interest of mine and God opened the door to it. I want to go on a long trip to really make an impact on others for God but also to grow in the Lord. I don't know how big of an impact I really made, but I know that I grew a lot. I grew to love serving God and serve others in need. I grew and saw God's love in a whole new way. I'd like to mention one week and one person I met and how God worked in me and through me that week. Week 3 was the week of camp; I've never really been to a Christian camp before so that alone was a new and exciting thing. Not only was it my first Christian camp, I also got the awesome privilege of being a cabin captain which was a first. I had four girls: two 14-year olds and two 15-year olds. Every night before lights out we did devotions which was just a 30-minute time to reflect on or ask questions about the different sessions and messages we had during the day. I was able to connect with each camper on a personal level as my knowledge in the Bible and walk with God was really tested. The second night of camp I was asked to give a testimony which comprised of my background and different situations I was involved with and how God brought me through it all and got me to where I am today. While giving my testimony reflecting on God's love and mercy in my life I choked up which is something I've never done before. It was at that very moment I could literally feel the love of God in my heart--a feeling I've never fully experienced. Something else happened that week that I've never fully experienced before either which was being burdened and broken for one's salvation. The 3rd night of camp I was doing devotions with my cabin and I put the girls on the spot to give their salvation testimony assuming that all were saved. However, when I got to this one particular girl, she told me she didn't have a testimony--so I asked if she was saved and she said no. Needless to say I couldn't sleep that night, and I spent most of it in prayer as to what to say and how I should approach this. During the next morning, we spent 2 hours talking even missing the morning activity and lunch--she did mention that she opened up to me in a way she said she never has with another. Sadly, she made no commitment to salvation but a seed was planted very, very deep. God has worked in great ways in me and through me on this trip: it has given me a burden and passion for people's souls and has showed me how blessed I am and all that God has done for me. I truly saw and felt God's love in this journey through me and in so many others.
There is so much that could be said about this last month in Australia. To be honest I was very nervous traveling half way around the world. I was so nervous when I left and I was really questioning what I had gotten myself into. I felt like I wasn’t the mission team type because I wasn’t a Bible major, but I have been blessed beyond what I could have ever thought over the last month. The biggest blessing that I had this month was just getting to know all of the people, especially those who I met at camp. One lady in particular who was a huge blessing to me was Bek. Bek and I led a cabin of six girls during the week. When we first met at the beginning of the week I was really nervous because she seemed almost stand-offish, and harsh. As we were meeting our girls at dinner I was really trying to get the conversation going but it was difficult because I myself am not very good about stuff like that. However after a few jokes were said and we started taking about our beliefs we grew very close. During the week of camp we would do our devotions in the cabin with our girls and we worked so well together. All of our beliefs were the same, and as the girls would ask questions we were working so well together in trying to show them what the Bible’s answers were. As we talked I would just casually mention my beliefs and where I stood on certain issues. I didn’t really think much about it but as the week went on she began to share with me that I had been an encouragement to her because of my beliefs. She shared her burden that she had for those who were changing their views of the Bible to update it or make it easier to understand. She told me how my stand on the Bible was such an encouragement to her. It was a blessing to me to hear that by simply sticking to what I believe in and not changing I was able to encourage someone who was struggling. When I started that week of camp I thought I was just there to help encourage the campers and share my heart with them. I had no idea that I would be able to encourage one of the counselors. Bek and I are continuing to email back and forth, and we have formed a great relationship. I’m so glad that I didn’t let my nervousness in the beginning stop me from coming on this trip. I have seen God use me to do things that I would consider to be small but He used them to really help someone in a situation that only He knew about. God is truly great in all that He does in my life.
I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to go to Australia. So many amazing things happened that it is hard to know where to start. The Lord showed me that there are people all over the world serving Him. Often I wondered if any one other than the people in my circle were serving the Lord, and He showed me first hand that there are. No matter how different the culture, we as Christians have a common bond in Christ--a bond that reaches the other side of the globe and forms friendships that last a lifetime. I learned that the power of prayer is far greater that I ever imagined. During our third week, we went to a teen camp in the Adelaide area as cabin captains. A young girl in my cabin had a specific problem that only the Lord could remedy. I began praying for her and truly was seeking the Lord about this matter. While He may not have answered the way I would have thought, He did answer! He made me realize even more what a wonderful Savior I serve. I could go on and on about what He's done this month. I'm truly humbled and thankful that He allows a sinner like me to be used by Him.
Four years ago, I went to my first mission trip with the Pensacola Team to Australia. I loved Australia so much that I came back the following year for two months. I have enjoyed various ministry opportunities God has given me and the relationships that have been made with believers in these two months. During the second month of this trip, I felt that the Lord wanted me to come back after I graduated from Seminary which was this year. It was that year that Pensacola Christian College was sending a team to Australia and the Lord clearly opened the door for me to go back to Australia ministering to these people again. During the past thirty days in Australia I have seen God use our team to be a blessing to whomever we ministered, and they have been a blessing to us. God helped me grow in many ways and reminded me that I need to rest on Him to do the work. I thank God for particularly three Australian campers that shared their testimonies this year. All three of them were teen campers that made decisions for the Lord four years ago. I was encouraged to see their spiritual growth for keeping their commitments that they have made from this camp and even taking the courage to share their testimonies in front of the whole camp. I also thank God for giving me an opportunity to lead one girl to the Lord in Holiday Bible Club. I remembered Tim taught the Bible story on Christ’s resurrection and gave an invitation afterward. After the invitation, I was standing at the back and saw this girl in the front row looking at me. I waved my hand to her to come to me and asked her, “What do you need?” She asked, “How do I go to heaven?” I took her outside and shared the gospel with her and she asked Jesus to be her personal Savior that day. She then told me she did not have a Bible at home. The next day, we were able to give her a Bible and basic instructions on how she can read and understand the Bible. The smile in her face gave me joy that God used me to lead one child to God’s kingdom. My ministry with these Australians does not end when I leave this country. God will give me many more opportunities to minister to these people through email and Facebook. I will miss them very much, but I do have strong hunch that this will not be the last time that I will see all of them.
When I first heard about this trip, I felt the Lord's calling to go. Two of my good friends, Mitch and Mark, came and told me that they were going to sign up. The Lord kept this trip on my mind so I figured that I would at least sign up. I did, and I was accepted. I did not feel experienced or very confident. In fact, I was quite nervous meeting new people and ministering with them for one month. I knew that the Lord wanted me to go because God needed to stretch some areas in my life. God is always doing that. He is constantly bringing me various situations that I know 100% I cannot even begin to imagine getting through them, but God always is faithful to give me His grace (I Thess. 5:24) The fact is that God brings me into situations that are too great for me so that I place my dependance on Him. When our team landing in Melbourne, Australia, we started serving the Lord by letter-boxing. As we continued serving God, I noticed that I had great peace. I cannot even begin to explain it because I know it was all God. When we ministered in the Sydney area, I met a lady and told her how I was nervous coming on this missions trip but how God has give me a great peace. She told me something like this, "Tim, you received that peace because you are doing what God wants you to be doing. When you are walking in obedience to God, He will give you that peace to endure your hardships." It was like a light bulb just clicked. I knew that, but just how she worded it just made everything click. God used many people to change my heart. One man we met was always cheerful and desired to know and serve God. Another man had such a kind, compassionate spirit and loves the Lord very much. He also said he would take me hunting in the bush if I ever came back. Another man told me how much the Lord really worked in his life. This just goes to show that there really is a God! Just to see the lives that have been changed is evidence that only God can do that! There were also times when I was sick with a cold and sore throat and drained of energy. Yet it was on those days where I saw God work the most. That reminds me that God's grace is sufficient enough even when I am at my weakest moments, God can still work mightily. It was not me, but was all God. I praise God for the many opportunities that He gave me to learn new ministries. Camp was a new experience for me. It showed how God's hand moved and changed people's bitter hearts into loving hearts.
When I consider what my testimony would be after this trip, I asked myself where should I start! It has been an amazing, life-changing trip! It has been a time of growth, training, and friendship. I hoped to be a blessing to others on this trip, but I was greatly blessed by the kindness and generosity of Christians we met along the way. From Melbourne and Sydney to Adelaide and Mildura, the great fellowship with believers has been amazing. The week at camp was a great highlight. It was a pleasure to see young men in my cabin make decisions to grow in their Christian walk! Another great opportunity was to lead a young boy to the Lord while we were at the Holiday Bible Club in Wentworth. God has been so faithful to give fruit for our labors throughout our journey this month. We saw at least 7 saved and others make great spiritual decisions. In Mildura, we met Mudgee (John) and Georgina at the church who were great helpers for our Holiday Bible Club. It was so much fun to fellowship with them too. I have a great burden for all the lost we came in contact with and I would jump at the opportunity to return to serve more in Australia if the Lord opened the doors. I'm so thankful to all that endeavored with us to give and pray for us as we served God in the Land Down Under! G'Day!
God really used this trip to teach me how He uses people. We were able to work alongside four churches in Australia. All of these churches love the Bible, love people, and love Christ. It was unique to see how every church had its own unique character. There were the city churches and small town churches. We worked with pastors, businessmen, doctors, fence makers, fruit farmers, school teachers, and many others from all walks of life. But God didn't use the doctor more spiritually than the fence maker. During our trip God used the willing servant hearts of so many to fulfill a specific purpose and part of His plan. All it takes is willingness to obey God for Him to use you. I also learned much about the power of prayer. Our team was being prayed for by people around the globe, and we were praying for the people we would minister to, and we joined in prayer consistently every morning. God answers prayer! We saw 7 people come to trust Christ as Savior! We were able to distribute thousands of gospel tracts and have open dialogue about the gospel with countless people. We saw many Christians make deeper commitments to live for Christ. During camp week, we asked God to break chains of sin and darkness in our campers' lives, and God answered by shining the light of His Word and Christ's love in our campers' hearts and decisions for Christ were made. This trip has truly been a life-changer. It is encouraging to know I have faithful Christian friends serving God around the world. I am so blessed to have learned how to share my faith more clearly and to see that God works mightily through us if we simply allow Him to do so. God is so good--"Heaps good!" 1 John 5:5