By Gage Russell
Special to the Rappahannock News
Ever since I was around the age of 12, I dreamt of becoming a missionary, serving Christ in many countries.
Well, two years ago, I attended an annual Assemblies of God camp. During praise and worship on the third night, the guest evangelist stated that people in the room would experience God on a whole new level because the Holy Spirit was so present. It was that night I received my vision from the Lord.
I saw myself as an adult, standing under a tree in a savannah. I was holding an African boy’s hand, and the name Kenya kept repeating in my head, over and over again. The vision itself only lasted a few brief seconds, but I still remember every detail. This was my closure. God has a plan for each and every one of us.
About a year later, word goes out that the Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church of Sperryville would be returning to Belize after 12 years. When this got around to me, I knew immediately that was my chance to change the world through Christ.
We arrived in Belize on June 30th. This was my first time being out of the country, so it was a bit overwhelming to say the least. But I knew that God would never send me directly into harm when I’m there to do his work. And for that week, we all were safe in his hands as we ministered to the children of Belize City.
We were each responsible for different age groups. I volunteered to teach the pre-teens because I firmly believe that’s the important point of your life, where you decide what kind of person you want to be. So it was my job to teach them the Gospel and to help them on the right path.
However, there was a part of me that also wanted to make the children smile. So I decided to pay them a little visit as Spider-Man, and they were in disbelief that he came all the way from New York to greet them.
A couple nights later, we were invited to attend an evening service in Franks Eddy, a church outside Belize City. It was a Spanish-speaking church, but the language of God is always multilingual. Even though their songs of praise were in Spanish, I knew the lyrics in English. God’s praise is a bridge! And the Holy Spirit was so strong in that little church.
One special friend I made on the trip was the hosting pastor’s son, Edwin. Edwin made it his priority to make us all feel like his brother and sister, and man did he do his job well.
If I’ve learned anything from this eye-opening mission trip, it’s that there is no better or worse culture in the world we live in. The only difference is that it’s . . . well, different! The key to avoiding culture shock is to embrace both cultures. We may do it this way, and they may do things that way, and that’s what makes it so special.
We departed for the United States on July 7th. I’ll miss my brothers and sisters in Belize very much, but I told them that I would return someday, even if I’m an adult. The Lord has a calling, a dream per se, for all of his children. We just have to have the ears to listen . . . and the heart to accept.