Michelle Hansen – Recent Trip Participant from Ahwatukee Campus
When I went on a recent trip to North Africa, I really wondered how I could be useful. There were so many gifted people going on this trip that I didn’t see how my gifts could be used. After my third sleepless night in country, I admitted to God that even if I wasn’t very useful, I would commit to listen, learn, and grow during the trip. Instead of doing important things for God on this trip, I would learn. Once I decided that, wow did God teach me things!
I learned from my married team mates how Christian couples treat each other with respect and love. I learned how to react in a Godly way to a stressful situation by watching my team leader as we were told over and over again by the airline staff that they couldn’t figure out how to find our tickets for the flight home. I learned how to persevere by watching the sickest team members keep going out to experience Egypt without complaining even though they felt terrible. I learned that I don’t like beans in Egypt any more than I do in America. I learned that being part of a team is better than being alone. I learned about jokes and laughter and sarcasm (but I still don’t get it).
As I watched our team, I learned that real love for your teammates is sitting nauseated in the cramped back seat of the bus stuffed in with all the luggage for 4 hours so no one else has to. It’s allowing your team mate to shower first even though you are cold and there is only enough hot water for one. It’s carrying their bag for them when they have a bad back, giving up the comfortable seat for the hard wooden chair during an amazing four hour lesson from a field worker. I saw Romans 12:10 acted out in so many ways during those ten days.
I learned from the field workers what it looks like to love and obey God so much that they are willing to give up everything and move to another nation to fulfill His statute; that the love of God be preached to all nations (Mark 16:15). And they don’t mention all they gave up and who they miss, but they weep as they talk about the Muslim people that God has entrusted to them to love.
I learned from the Muslim women I met how to be so devoted to God that they stop everything five times a day to focus on Him and give Him glory. I learned that life is hard for a Muslim woman in Egypt, who is often beaten, cheated on, forgotten, used, but they are still willing to smile at me on the street, help me navigate an Egyptian toilet (it’s not as obvious as you think), and show me how to wear my hijab (head covering) properly.
I learned that Muslims are some of the most welcoming, open hearted, generous people I’ve ever met.
I learned that whether I am used for great things by God or not, He loves me the same. Now that I am back, I can see the incredible importance of praying for my Muslim friends, that they will come to follow Jesus so that I can hang out with them (minus the beans) for eternity.