Spring break is easily one of the most anticipated weeks of the year. Often involving trips to the beach, Disney World or one’s fridge, spring break allows students to take a breather from the monotony and stress that comes with the spring semester.
I normally don’t do a lot for spring break, but I did have a wild one my junior year of high school. That year, I went on my first international mission trip to Ghana. This was also my first trip ever out of the country. Talk about culture shock!
The flight over there was 11 hours long; the longest plane ride I had taken before was three hours. Never have I sat that long in that small of a space in my life. However, the flight was worth it for the actual experience.
There aren’t words that quite describe one’s first experience outside of her home country, especially for me coming from the United States. We Americans are so completely wrapped up in our own lives that we tend to have a myopic view of the world. We tend to think that the whole world revolves around America, and sometimes that causes us to forget that there is a vast number of people and cultures that exist well beyond our borders.
Ghana really opened my eyes to the nations. This mission trip took me out of my element, and it introduced me to a variety of wonderful, godly people who love the Lord just like me. It was encouraging to see that I had brothers and sisters in Christ halfway around the world, and I had the privilege to serve with them.
During the week that we were in Ghana, we got to serve the people there alongside the great people of Calvary Baptist Church. We went out into the city and shared the Gospel with as many people as we could. We went into the slums and villages and evangelized with people while sitting on buckets. We encountered people who understood the reality of the supernatural, but they didn’t know the creator of the world.
I witnessed several pastors, including two of my own, baptize over one hundred people one Sunday. That was one of the most incredible sights I have ever witnessed. I grew closer to the Lord and to the people who came with me on the trip; I fell in love with our new friends who spent every day with us.
I was hotter than I had ever been in my life. I learned that time was not the same here in Ghana as it was in America. I discovered that I was too busy in my everyday life. I learned that water could come in a plastic bag. I found out that I loved me some Ghanaian rice! Also, it turns out that nothing tastes better than an ice-cold Coke on a dry, blistering hot day in Ghana.
That spring break was my most memorable because I was privileged with serving a wonderful people; however, I believe I received way more from the people I met than I was able to give.
It was different simply because I was using it to serve the Lord rather than sit on my rear end re-watching “The Office” for the fourth time. Don’t get me wrong; I love doing that. I’m not saying that spending the week relaxing is a bad thing. Be that as it may, I think that doing something like this, serving others, is a much more rewarding experience.
Serving is completely underrated, and I don’t do nearly enough of it. It’s wonderful to relax during the times that we get off, but I think it’s also important to serve during these times, too. We’ll never have as much free time as we do in college, and we’ll never have that again. I think these breaks during college are the perfect times to do something kind for someone else, even if it’s just mowing your neighbor’s lawn or cleaning up the kitchen for your parents. This is what I did during spring break in my junior year of high school, and it’s safe to say that it’s one of the best spring breaks I ever had.
Written by opinions editor, Katherine Carter