At the end of January, a group of us from the various Gracelife churches in South Africa embarked on a ministry journey to Gracelife in Albania. What an adventure it turned out to be! Meeting all these new, amazing people and getting to know each one in a special way was wonderful.
We finally got to Albania, and, because each of us had the same heart, connecting was that much easier. Getting to know the Albanian people was wonderful. They are so friendly and welcoming.
We rested and received encouragement each morning from our leaders, and this really sustained us each day.
What I Learned on My Mission Trip to Albania
So, what were the main things that I learned and took away from this experience?
1. We need each other to be effective ministers.
Try as one may, to accomplish something alone, you need a team. That’s the truth. I guess God created us that way so we would not be so self-efficient that we would forget to rely on Him and His body. You are more effective within a team and as part of a church than you will ever be by yourself. God Himself exists within the relationship of the Trinity, so how do we think that we can get by, by ourselves?
2. Ministry happens best when you are just living and doing life together.
We tend to over-spiritualize ministry at times. Well, at least I did before this trip. But I really enjoyed the fact that as we ate, drank coffee, and walked, we really connected with others, shared, encouraged, and uplifted one another. That is true ministry and discipleship! When we drop all the pretenses and become real, it allows God to work through us more deeply, than if we are ‘trying’ to look holy and like we have it all together. Receiving from Jesus first is the starting point.
Related Post: A Mission Trip Changed My Life
3. Understanding that everyone is on a journey.
All of us have ‘soft spots’, that make us feel a bit insecure or defensive. As we grow and start letting go of these things, we mature and get better at dealing with it. All of us are still learning and growing. However, God will help you to see someone through eyes of compassion and love, rather than judgment, and will give you the ability to show grace, even in the most difficult of situations.
4. Keep loving and encouraging people, while pointing them to Jesus.
No matter how difficult a situation may seem, or how stubborn a person may seem, you never know what’s going on in their hearts. Keep loving and encouraging them, as well as praying for them, and God will continue to work.
5. Good leadership looks like consistency.
I got to experience excellent leaders on this mission trip. People who not only talk the talk, but walk it, who are passionate for Jesus and for the gospel, and whose hearts are so filled with the love of God, that it can’t help but leak out onto you as well. Leadership through grace, gentleness, and humility is the best kind. It’s how you win people’s hearts, not just their allegiance.
The Big Picture
We saw people receive the gift of salvation and a relationship with God, discover their true identity, and get free from many chains that were holding them captive. Seeing the power of God work in us and through us with such power was encouraging.
We trust and pray that all these people would seek to go deeper and have a more intimate knowledge of God, through the body/the church.
This experience made me realize how effortless ministry should actually be. Yes, it still takes action, it can be an inconvenience, and it will cost you. However, if you do it filled with the love of God, then it is completely and totally a blessing — to the other person and to yourself. It’s not meant to be some weird thing. It’s about serving another person, all the while pointing them to an all-Loving God.
As I continue on my journey, getting back into normal life, I will never forget the experience of my time in Albania. I take back with me the fact that wherever we are we can be ministers of the gospel. In our workplace, school, family…wherever we are.
Thank You for Your Support
Thank you to all who contributed toward this journey. You have sown into God’s Kingdom in a mighty way. If you would like to partner with Gracelife in Albania, you can visit Gracelife’s website here for further information on how to do so. https://gracelife.co/durres/
You are blessed!
“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work[d] in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you[e] and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling[f] of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Philippians 1:6)