It's been a few months since I've returned from my short-term mission trip to the Philippines this summer. I've had so much on my mind. Whenever someone asks me, "How was your summer?" I normally respond, "It was good...but that's the short answer." Well, here is the long answer of what I took away from the summer and a thanks to everyone who supported me this summer, whether it was through prayer, finances, or encouragement.
This experience brought me closer to God - I learned how to depend on Him when I couldn't go to anyone else.
I learned how to die to myself - Life focused on Christian Townsend was a hollow way to live after tasting the wonderfulness of living fully for God.
"But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." //Acts 20:24
I STILL miss the Philippines - If I had the chance to back, I'd go in a heartbeat. I miss being able to share the Gospel purposefully day after day without any other distractions, the camaraderie with my teammates, being on midsummer break with our family group. I miss being able to wake up knowing that I would have Bible studies with people eager for the Word.
I miss my teammates - I miss the "dangerous" games of truth or dare and getting up, yelling, "Pancit Canton! Pancit Canton!" I miss FACTing every single night. These people will truly be my lifelong friends, and we are united as World Christians, seeking to see Jesus' name known where it isn't known right now. I love Josiah, Ally, Bailey, Robin, Ruel, and April so much. They will never truly know what they mean to me. After struggling during my freshman year at UA wit certain social situations, God placed them in my path at the perfect time. Straight up, besides my family, they are my favorite people on the Earth. Through my obedience, God brought people into my life that helped me build up my faith.
This summer changed the course of my life (in my eyes, not in God's) -After college, I plan to pursue a career in church leadership, either as a cross-cultural missionary or as a leader of a church in the U.S., mobilizing others to go and reach the un-reached, hard-to-reach peoples across the world.
Yes, it was hard. But does that not mean that I would not go back again. I am blessed. What if I was the kid born into a place where the Gospel wasn't? What if I lived in a closed country where it is illegal for people to tell me the truth about how I can gain eternal life and live for Jesus? I read many books this summer, both in the Bible and outside of it. The main takeaway that I had from my readings this summer - No one regretted giving their life up for Jesus. No one! Missionaries, apostles, even normal men and women who truly loved Jesus above all else, NEVER said, "Jesus isn't worth it. Why am I doing this?" They loved God and knew that what they were doing had more purpose and fulfillment than anything else. This is what I want my life to look like when I'm gone. Even if I have to give up everything I have here - time with my family, money, luxury, comfort - I will rejoice to know that I am living life on purpose for the Lord. Whether that is here in America or overseas, with my future wife and kids or all by myself, I know that the Lord "will give me the desires of my heart" if I am delighting myself in Him and living for Him (Psalm 37:4).
We still need others to go! I want to encourage anyone reading this to consider what Jesus commands us to do in the Great Commission. Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching. Encourage people to go. Support sending organizations. Pray that more people will go. If you can go, then go! You won't regret it.
Going on mission brings you closer to God. By obeying and glorifying Him in your obedience, He will show Himself as incomparably glorious and there will be no greater joy than loving the Lord. I hope you feel the pull to live for the Lord in whatever you do. Know that going on mission is not just for special people; every follower of Christ is commanded to do it - here or overseas.
Christian Townson //@townsontravels
Sophomore // English