Hannah Newton

Hannah’s top tips about mission

Mission throws up all kinds of challenges – but it can change your life, writes Hannah Newton

Hi I’m Hannah. I’ve recently joined the Aspire International team to raise the profile of mission amongst women and encourage young adults to plug in, increase awareness, pray and go.

In September 2017 I decided to go to Cambodia for nine months to serve Jesus and the Khmer people. It was my intention to play my small part in his greater story, allowing God to work in and through me.

Reflecting on my personal experience of mission, here’s three things that I found to be really important.

1. Prepare for disappointment

It’s clear, no matter how excited you are about going on mission, it’s not going to be long before you face disappointment; your phone could break; your bag might get stolen; you may end up sick on three different occasions.

All of these, plus many other things, happened to me in Southeast Asia. These things are just natural, we need to expect that some bad things will happen, isn’t that just life?

The book of James even tells us to expect trials of many kinds. I’ve learnt that it’s not about what happens but rather how you respond to what happens. Don’t overreact and blow your troubles out of proportion, be on the lookout for the positive. For me when I was ill in bed, it gave me time to video call my family, rest, read a little and helped me appreciate how many friends I had made locally.

The most important part is to keep remembering why you went in the first place and what you can learn in all circumstances.

2. Start with the end in mind

Think about longevity, sustainability and the things beyond you. I was always taught to leave a place the same way you found it. In a hotel room that may be the case, but personally, I think in mission it’s important to leave something better. Look for ways to invest in the people or project that can be carried on when you leave. Go with ideas but remember you don’t know it all; observe, listen and learn. Make sure you do something that lasts.

Perhaps it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and check out the opportunities with Aspire International!

3. Throw yourself in

If one of the reasons you have gone is to get to know a different culture, then do it. Submerge yourself in local friendships, observe the local way of living and learn from the people. When you have the opportunity to do something, go for it! Do things that scare you and take you out of your comfort zone.

Pour out don’t take out! It’s super important to get beyond tourism and invest more than you take. Sometimes we can be so focused on what ‘we’ are doing and what ‘we’ are achieving, that we fail to appreciate what is the best course of action for the local project.

It’s not about getting a great story for your Facebook feed, although that will happen as you throw yourself in!

If you are interested in going on a mission trip with the Aspire International team, please get in touch via the website: elim.org.uk/aspire

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