In 2018, I started becoming interested in Mission work and finding an opportunity to go on a mission trip. I did not have a specific destination in mind. I just knew that I wanted to go serve others. I began to research organizations that scheduled trips in hopes that I would find an opportunity and somehow work it around my work schedule. I also prayed about it and expressed to God that it was something I wanted to experience. I did not know how or when an opportunity would present itself, but I was just believed that it would happen.
I was at work one day, and I overheard a coworker talking with another coworker about going on a mission trip and inviting others to go. I immediately made it known that I was interested and wanted to know more about it. I was told that the trip would be to Pakistan for 2 weeks and that we would be traveling during the winter. I remember thinking to myself “Pakistan! I have never been to Pakistan. I wonder what it would be like.” After deciding that I wanted to go, the next step was to talk with my manager about it and request time off. I really didn’t know whether or not I would get the time off I was requesting, but I knew that God was going to make a way for me to go if it was his will. My time off request was approved.
Because the trip wasn’t scheduled until the winter, I had plenty of time to plan ahead. The organization I was traveling with mailed over me and the other volunteer’s passports to get our visas for travel. They took care of lodging, meals, arranged air travel to and from the country as well as transportation to our final destination once we landed.
I did not know much about Pakistan so I did my own research on the country, people, food, etc. As it got closer to the time to leave for the trip, I shared it with others that I would be going. People were telling me that I was crazy for doing it because they did not think it was safe. I shared the news with my dad, and he did not agree with it at all. He was afraid that something was going to happen to me. I explained to him that it was what God was calling me to do, and that I did not care how it would make me look or what others would have to say about it. I did not have the support from others on this, but I had to be brave enough to do it anyway. I prayed about it, and did what I could to prepare myself mentally, physically and spiritually.
The flight to and from Pakistan had a layover in Turkey. During the layovers, I had time to connect with the other volunteers. We ate some Turkish cuisine, bought souvenirs from the gift shops and walked around the airport to pass the time.
We flew in to Lahore, Pakistan. Lahore is three hours away from Sahiwal, Pakistan where we would be doing the mission work. We stayed and worked on a compound where the Christian Hospital and Nursing School is located. We didn’t get to leave the compound to explore because of safety concerns. The schedule for the two weeks there consisted of working in the hospital, teaching nursing curriculum to nursing students and sharing the Bible.
The people didn’t focus a lot of attention on time. Instead they focused on living. The pace of living was slower so it seemed like the days were longer. Downtime consisted of resting, walking the compound, spending time getting to know the students and staff of the nursing school and other people who worked on the compound. The students taught us Urdu which is the official language in Pakistan. They played us some music and showed us the traditional dances. They were so eager to share their culture and wanted to know more about us.
Before going to Pakistan, I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a life changing experience for me and for the local people I had the opportunity to meet. I got to experience just how fun mission trips can be and how much I can learn. I enjoyed learning about the culture and getting to know the people. They were so loving, welcoming, humble, gracious and grateful. They helped me to see how easy it is to take things for granted when you have access to more, and how easy it is to forget to cherish and enjoy the simple things in life when you are accustomed to a faster pace of living. Pakistan is definitely a trip to remember!