I am so excited! I’m even more excited than I am for APEX…if that’s possible. I feel like sometimes I just can’t stop smiling. What is the reason for my anticipation? On Friday, May 12 at 11:30 A.M., I am hopping on a plane and racing off with 17 other team members for the Unbound Ecuador Mission Trip through Global Encounters. A trip filled with ministry, new friendships, and lots of energetic kids.

Very soon, I will be packing my suitcases tightly filled with team supplies of brightly-colored bandanas, craft jewels, beach balls, giant erasers, and a couple inflatable alligators. When we arrive in the Andes Mountains, we will be using these supplies and many more to put on children’s programs for excited Ecuadorian kids. As the children gather, one of the team leaders will split them into groups and send them to where a few team members are expectantly waiting to start a craft, game, or lesson that teaches them about their identity in Christ.

Having gone on the trip twice before, I have been able to see the impact of the children’s programs. Sometimes the results of our work are not visible, but occasionally the team gets a glimpse of the change being made. During one of the programs last year, the team had the opportunity to see many children pray to accept Jesus. God is working through the trip, and it is incredible to be a part of that.

One of my favorite things about the trip is that it takes me out of my comfort zone. Because there are so many things I can’t control, I am forced to trust that God will work everything out. The most amazing part…He does just that!

During the 2015 trip, the team discovered that one of the programs planned for elementary-aged children would need to be adjusted to work with an audience of teenagers. I was nervous. Teaching young children in a foreign country is hard enough, but teenagers! The next day came, and I found out there was an added bonus when working with the older kids: most of them spoke English. Without having to translate everything, it felt so much easier to connect with the teenagers, and by the end of the program, I mentioned to a teammate that it had been my favorite day of the trip!

God turned an abrupt, unexpected change in plans into one of the best parts of the trip. I can’t wait to see how God will work through the team this year!

As part of the Lumerit community, can I ask you a favor? Will you join me in praying for the 2017 mission trip?

Pray for the team.

Missing translators, scheduling surprises, and food poisoning are just a few of the common problems that could occur on an international mission trip. Any of these could hinder our ministry there. Pray that God will keep the team safe and healthy and show them a way to work around any obstacles that might pop up. Ask God to give the team the right words to say and the confidence to speak them with boldness.

Pray for the fellow Christians in Ecuador

The team gets to work with incredible people in Ecuador who are essential for us getting anything done. Pray that God would use our time there to enhance and encourage the ministry of the local church. Ask that God would direct the translators, which are essential to making our ministry possible. (Have you ever tried teaching children a new game without being able to speak their language? Playing charades can only get you so far.)

Pray for those we try to reach

Most importantly, ask that God would open people’s hearts to the gospel. The team can find creative ways to tell kids about the gospel, play exciting games that illustrate the lesson, and make crafts to ensure that they really get the point, but only God can truly draw a child’s heart to Him. Ask God to bless our work and use it to change lives. If we can impact just one person for eternity, the trip is worth it.

Your prayers are such an important part of the trip. So when you hear about the trip’s impact or see photos of the kids that attended our programs, know that you had a part in changing those lives.

One extra prayer request: pray that the team members bring their desire to share the gospel back with them when they return home from Ecuador. Investing in God’s kingdom is not a short-term goal.

While you are praying, ask God where He wants you to be. Next year, you could be the one excitedly preparing to serve God in Ecuador!

– Melanie King

Meet the rest of the team and hear what they’re excited about here!

Watch for team updates on social media by liking the Global Encounters Facebook Page and following @globalencounter on Instagram!