Please welcome my precious friend Katie Rowland, as she shares a story from the last year of her life, traveling with Adventures in Missions. I have watched Katie grow up since elementary school, and the Lord has gifted her in so many ways, but most of all in a compassionate heart for people, and a passion for Him! If you could leave a comment encouraging Katie, I know it would mean so much to her!
Wow, it’s pretty exciting for me to be able to write a guest blog for my blogger friend! Once upon a time when I was in high school I baby-sat for Sarah’s beautiful girls, and she and her family have been huge supporters of mine in my recent missions trips abroad. So, she asked me to share a bit about missions with all of you! I’ll start off with a story…
It was February 2009. I was piled into the back of a rusty 1980s-era van, bumping my way over rutted dirt roads, squeezed next to my Swazi friend Philile and some other World Race teammates. We were driving from Philile’s house to the central “care point” of Nsoko, Swaziland, a place where hundreds of impoverished children (many of them orphans) walk daily to eat their two meals of the day provided by Adventures in Missions. As the van bumped and Philile and I laughed and held hands, I couldn’t help but marvel at my surroundings. The flat African plain spread out around me, a landscape of reddish-brown mud spotted with low brushy greenery. Occasionally a low thatch-roofed hut with mud walls rose from the plain, hardly noticeable, made of and blending perfectly into nature’s surroundings. Off in the distance was a small mountain range, beyond which were borders with South Africa and Mozambique. But most of all, I could hardly believe the Lord’s providence in my life in bringing me to this place, at this time, to do a particular job for him.
Exactly one year previously, in Feb. 2008, this precious Swazi woman (Philile) had lost her infant son. His name was Mcolisi, but a World Race team who helped care for him called him Moses, easier on the American tongue. The death – no, legacy – of Baby Moses was shared on World Race blogs, and because of it, funds had been raised to care for Philile and her other four children. Also, the additional awareness about the work in Swaziland helped continue to raise funds for Adventures in Missions‘ work in feeding thousands of orphans across Swaziland every day.
I had read the story of Baby Moses as it happened that February, 2008. And here I was, exactly one year later, with an opportunity to use my media talents to help share her story and continue raising awareness. I was in awe of God’s work in my own life, in Philile’s life, and in the nation of Swaziland. As we bumped over rutted dirt roads in the poorest corner of one of the world’s poorest nations, my heart swelled with love and gratitude to God.
I was in Swaziland for a month as one stop in an 11-month, 11-country missions journey for 22-35 year olds called the World Race. Through my journey I crossed four continents and traveled through more than 19 countries, ministering in 11 of them. I saw, held and loved some of the world’s “poorest” people. But the most incredible part of the journey was the opportunity to see and be a part of God’s work in the nations around the world. Everywhere we went, the Lord always managed to show us the HOPE He brings to the nations through His son, Jesus Christ. It was beautiful to behold.
After I finished the Race in May 2009, I spent a few months traveling and visiting friends and family. But I knew God was calling me again to the short-term missions field. Thus I left for India for three months to lead a college-age team last fall. The Real Life program (also with Adventures in Missions) is an opportunity for 18-21 year olds to serve on the mission field for one to three months, while being challenged and discipled through community and leadership. It was an incredible time for me, and I fell in love with India and God’s people there.
I know that many of you are young mothers, and your calling may not be the mission field at this time — but chances are, you know people who can go. (Do you know college students looking for summer projects? 20-somethings needing something radical to commit to? High school youth groups desiring to spend a week on the mission field??) …AIM sends youth groups, high school individuals, college-age young adults, and over-21 adults on multiple types of missions trips every year. Trip lengths range from one week to eleven months. This year, many adults & high schoolers have the opportunity to serve in Haiti for a week working with some of AIM’s partner pastors there rebuilding!
So I wanted to encourage all of you, RealLife readers! Even if you can’t go to the mission field, you can still be hands and feet of Christ by encouraging others to go and supporting them through prayer and finances. Also, never forget: we are ALL called to the mission field…but maybe your field is right where you live, right now! There are people around you who need to hear about the hope Jesus Christ has to offer. I’ll leave you with a quote from Paul, the original missionary: “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. ~Acts 20:24
Thanks for your time, and feel free to email me any questions you have about Adventures in Missions or any of its programs!
Watch this video, produced by Katie, to see just a fraction of the hearts that were touch by her team, and by Jesus. And please check out Katies Vimeo Channel for many more amazing videos! Katie is such an awesome video journalist, and tears never cease to escape down my cheeks when I watch her videos! I could get lost for hours in her channel!