When Liberty University student Ayana was given the opportunity to take a service trip through winning the school’s Global Focus Week Passport Competition, God led her to travel to Málaga, Spain as part of a 10-day G5 Project exposure trip hosted by Christar. Below, Ayana shares in her own words how God used her time abroad to reveal not only His glory but His desire for her to use her talents to serve Him.
God works in mysterious ways. I never had the desire to travel to another part of the world. I was fearful, and home is a place of comfort and safety. For me, the idea of traveling promotes fear: fear of contracting a sickness or of a national or terrorist attack happening while abroad. Fear blinded me to the beauty and the joy of traveling.
However, God saw fit to allow me to win the Global Focus Week Passport Competition at Liberty University. Winning this trip meant I was awarded the opportunity to travel to Spain and North Africa, a part of the world I had never been to before, free of charge. As I reflect on why God allowed this opportunity to come my way, the reasons seem innumerable.
I took some time to reflect on which department I wanted to travel with and ultimately decided to travel with CSER [Liberty’s Christian/Community Service program]. My rationale was that if God allowed me such an opportunity, I should use the opportunity to work with refugees in Spain and glorify Him in the process.
Words can’t describe what I learned in those short 10 days while visiting Spain and North Africa. It was mind blowing, life-changing and incredible. … God revealed not only His awesomeness through His creation, but also how He wants me to serve Him. I saw the heavens declaring the glory of God as I looked at the mountains towering toward the sky and overlooking the ocean. I saw brotherly love and unselfishness through my teammates, who were God-honoring men and women, as they served others.
Some of us on the trip knew Spanish, while others did not. For those who knew Spanish, it was easier to witness to share the gospel, but [others] could only pray, give out cards or live a life that showed proof of the Bible. Resultantly, I also learned the importance of knowing a different language. If God calls us to go into the entire world to preach the gospel, I should be intentional about learning Spanish and American Sign Language, languages God has given me the opportunity and the desire to learn.
I had a better appreciation for 1 Corinthians 12 concerning spiritual gifts and learned that I want to do something big and radical to further the kingdom of God. God used one of my teammates studying pastoral leadership to teach an awesome Bible study on remembering all the things God has done for us, and God used another team member studying worship leadership to lead us in worship. … Like one of my teammates said during our last debrief, “I saw God in each one of you guys.” Because of their actions to work together, it became evident how God is able to use different people with different talents to carry out a single mission to complete His work. …
During my time abroad, my team members and I had debriefs for accountability. One of the trip leaders encouraged us to keep a journal of our activities daily, even if it was simply a sentence. God works daily in everyone’s life as a believer, but sometimes I am so busy that I fail to realize my “God moment,” my God opportunity of the day. …
One of my favorite yet convicting memories during the trip was visiting a mosque while in Spain. I am currently in Apologetics 201, Introduction to Apologetics and Cultural Engagement and reading Loving the City by Timothy Keller. Keller writes, “The first task of contextualization is to immerse yourself in the questions, hopes, and beliefs of the culture so you can give a biblical, gospel-centered response to its questions” (69). Interacting with the Muslim culture built a bridge for future evangelism. … As a Christian I should be intentional about my faith. Therefore, I should walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I should read my Bible daily, pray and memorize the Scripture.
This trip has taught me to be open to anything God wants for my life, whether it is taking a missions trip annually or devoting my nursing career to full-time missions work. God is in control. I should use my talents to serve His kingdom, and my ultimate desire should be to pursue and bring glory to God.
How can I get involved?
- Pray for students and faculty who will participate in the remaining G5 trips this year.
- Pray that more students will take advantage of internship opportunities in Spain.
- Ask that interns will see God use them to bring people to Himself.
- Pray for clear direction for students as they determine God’s direction for their future ministries.
The G5 project is part of Christar’s Málaga Valley Initiative. Your gift to this initiative will be placed in Christar’s Relief and Refugees Fund, and will provide resources that will enable interns to minister to displaced people in Spain, as well as discover how God could use their gifts and skills in roles in marketplace ministry.