My trip to Nigeria was my first-ever mission trip, and I'm happy and grateful for the whole experience. Like many who go on their first mission trip, I had no idea what to expect, which had some advantages given that Fr. Jacob kept telling us to have no expectations. I didn’t even know if we would be sleeping in a house that was built in a week out of logs and mud--which we didn’t!
Coming in without expectations allowed me to appreciate each unique experience for the first time. Although, the first few days took some getting used to, I slowly became more and more comfortable with the ambiguity. One thing that stood out to me was how happy many of the villagers, especially the children, were, even though they had very little reason to be when measured with our standards. It was evident that the natives of Calabar view life different and value things differently than we do. After each day of missionary work, we would return to the compound around 5:00pm and all the kids at the church doors would come and greet and hug us. For reasons that still don’t completely make sense to me, they were just so happy to see us. Witnessing happiness that you cannot explain really is a wonderful experience.
Something that I really liked about the trip was that it forced me out my comfort zone. Going around to locals and talking to them about the church and bible isn’t something I'm accustomed to, or talking to large groups for that matter. The mission trip challenged me to do something new, and I'm happy I got to experience it because I wouldn’t have done it on my own.
Although I don’t have any big messages or takeaways to share, there are many small things that stood out to me that can form at least one overall message. I will leave you with one: You don’t need a major reason to be happy, or even a small one at that; just knowing that God is with you is enough. Taking note of the smallest miracles in your life can remind you of that.