Students share trip experiences
At the crack of dawn, a group of 10 campus students along with 20 other individuals from the community met at Peoples Church to drive to the LAX Airport, July 21. The team flew on a 13-hour flight to Malta International Airport where they would start a brand new adventure serving the people of Malta on a missions trip.
Malta is an island nation that neighbors Sicily. An independent nation, Malta is a European country and has been a member of the European Union since 2004. The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English.
Malta is a predominantly Catholic island. With 90% of the island Roman Catholic, the team decided that Malta had a need for a Christianity revival. Dj Oquist, outreach director for student ministries at Peoples Church, reflects on why he chose Malta for this missions trip.
“There are actually quite a few factors we consider when deciding where to go,” Oquist said. “We asked, is the destination relatively safe? Will it allow all 7-12th graders? Can it handle the number of students we want to bring? Is it a reputable organization? Is this where God wants us to go? So far with Kenya (2016), Malta (2017), and South Africa (2018), when these have all been answered with a yes. If the answers are yes then we go on the trip.”
For most, it took a leap of faith to leave the comforts of home and safe environment. The experience of traveling to a foreign country 6,614 miles away from home creates anxiety and fear. Megan Raynes, ‘19, reflects on how she felt about this trip.
“Leading up to going to Malta, I was beyond nervous,” Raynes said. “I didn’t think I could actually go because of my anxiety disorder. I went because I felt I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I am grateful for that I went because it was an amazing experience.”
I felt really tired but it changed my perspective and the way I lived my life. My life changed because seeing all of the Christians in Malta have so much faith in God. This made me realize that I could have that faith back in the states and be involved in my school and church. — Hunter Raynes
For Hunter Raynes, ’21, the evangelism did not stop when the team returned home from Malta. Joining the church leadership team and making key steps to start a school Bible club, Hunter reflects on how he felt after returning home.”
“I felt really tired but it changed my perspective and the way I lived my life,” Hunter said. “My life changed because seeing all of the Christians in Malta have so much faith in God. This made me realize that I could have that faith back in the states and be involved in my school and church.”
The trip was packed full of various activities including sports camps, gourmet meals, service projects, and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Lorenzo Fierro, ‘21, reflects back on his favorite parts of the trip.
“The sports camps were really cool,” Fierro said. “I got to work with a Colombian women’s professional soccer player. Also, working with the little kids during rec time was amazing. Telling kids that do not know Jesus about him was a life changing experience.”
Traveling on a missions trip often causes mixed of emotion, from anxiety to excitement many students experience a change. Oquist reveals a change in the students.
“The main difference I see, that was common among all the students, is their demeanor and attitude,” Oquist said. “To me, each student has a different way in which they carry themselves, they are confident and are willing to do what God wants them to do. Because they have seen God work in their lives and have practically stepped out in faith, they don’t have excuses anymore.”
The Peoples Church student ministries next mission trip will be in South Africa during the summer of 2018. They are partnering with an organization called Impact South Africa to help those in poverty get access to medical care and sports camps.
Slideshow below includes images from multiple sources on the Malta mission trip.