Go Now Missions Orientation, a weekend of preparation for college-aged summer missionaries, took place from May 22-24 at Dallas Baptist University. I, Erin Turner, with four of my friends from the UT Arlington BSM, arrived before 2pm that Friday to check in and meet our tribes. We were all so excited to see what God would do that weekend!
My tribe (a group of missionaries that the Go Now staff put together based on trip/location) was made up of seven girls who would all be serving in the Houston area, or somewhere else in Texas. Our first activity was to make up a tribe name, motto and build a shield to represent that. To get materials, we had to quote Scripture to Go Now staff or the sending team members. I was glad I'd been reviewing them every chance I got so that I could a) have Scripture in my heart and b) get materials to build our shield. I stood up to present my tribe's shield to all the missionaries, something I wouldn't have been comfortable doing even a few months ago at Discovery Weekend. At dinner I saw my friend of two years, Alex. He told me he was proud of me for standing up in front of everyone and that he couldn't believe how God has been working in me and giving me confidence. All I could do was nod. Everyone around me was in such good spirits and sharing hearts and stories, and I am certain that the Holy Spirit was there with us.
That night, exhausted, we all went back to our dorm. Some of us went to use the community bathroom, myself included, and were confronted with signs announcing the (fake) contamination of the water and instructing us how to take a "bucket bath". I just laughed and headed to bed, resolving to take one in the morning. Several girls took them that night, and I could hear them talking about how "it wasn't so bad". That bucket bath was not the worst thing I've ever had to do. But I also must consider the fact that I'm in America, we had hot water (thank goodness!) and that it was more of a fun experience than a necessity. Lots of people all over the world have to take bucket baths in much less comfortable surroundings than a shower stall with lots of soap and privacy. Lots of people are less fortunate than we are, which was a lesson learned again that day at lunch.
Everyone drew a card before entering the cafeteria. The number on your card determined which table you sat at and the color determined what food the lunch staff put on your plate. Some people ended up with only rice and bread, other tables had steak and salad, and others had something in between. I had rice and bread, to be eaten with chopsticks. Most of us left the cafeteria fairly hungry and with heavy hearts after discussing the typical meals of many people in the world and the people some of us would be going to share the Gospel with. I remember having the selfish thought, "I'm just going to Houston, I'll have normal food there! This isn't fair to those of us who are staying in America." Then I remembered the phrase repeated to us over and over that weekend: It's not about me, it's about Him. So often, we tend to be so self-absorbed; it's about my stomach, my needs, my desires. But it's about His, the center of it all. God definitely softened my heart at lunch that day, and I'm sure many others as well.
Orientation was filled with seminars, shield selfies with our tribes, and stormy weather, the latter forcing us into the dorm stairwells at 2:45am on Sunday morning. The commissioning service that afternoon made things so much more real. We're going out into the world to share the best news in the world: that Jesus died so that we could know Him, love Him and make Him known. I will depart for Houston on May 31st, and I'm beyond excited for what God is going to do through me in the lives of those kids. I also can't wait to hear the stories from my fellow missionaries about God's works around the world! This is all about Him, as it should be.
Erin Turner is a Go Now Missionary currently serving in Houston, Texas.