Sydney went to Peru with a college-age Go team. Here's her story in her own words:
I always dreamed about going on a mission trip. When I heard about Peru through a local church, I was so excited. I felt as though God was really calling me to go on this trip! The one downside was the money. I was a broke college student putting myself through school. Where was I supposed to come up with $2900? I prayed and prayed about God making a way to go on this trip, and sure enough, I raised money online from people I didn't even know! Some of my friends donated, others were anonymous, but I believe it all came from God.
When I got to Peru, this mission trip was nothing I expected - but in a good way! Instead of building houses or serving food to the poor, we were being evangelists in God's kingdom, directly serving His people first hand. We volunteered at an elementary school and shared our faith and testimonies with the students, their families, and the faculty at the school. This was an unforgettable experience, but it didn't end when we left Peru.
I am still learning from this trip an entire year later.
I think about the students I met down there, the stories they shared and the faces I saw. I will never forget those kids and the memories I made with my team! I thought coming back from a mission trip meant my life was going to be radically changed. But, I've realized that it wasn't like I woke up and all of a sudden I was a new person with a new outlook on life. Coming back from the trip was definitely a culture shock, but I was still the same person. Although my faith was definitely inspired and rejuvenated, I came back to the same life with the same people in Seattle.
It’s hard to get used to coming back after a trip like that, but mission trips go far beyond just the "trip". I learned that I am supposed to share my faith with the people I see every day: my mom, my roommates, my coworkers. It’s easy and a fun idea to go to a foreign country and share your faith with people you have never met, who look at you like you're a saint from a different world. But coming back to your friends, family, and familiar faces is the hard part. YMI and the training they provided helped my team to work together and carry on the experience far beyond those 8 days in Peru.
I am still learning what it means to share my faith, and I hope anyone who is interested takes advantage of the resources YMI provides to people just like me! Thank you YMI for this incredible experience.