Mission Resources International

First Mission Trip

Steve Harding from Orange Hill Baptist Church talks about his first mission trip

Steve in Pailon

Meeting the children at the church in Pailon, a small church outside of Santa Cruz

July 6, 2008 I was aboard an American Airlines flight bound for Miami, Florida, originating in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I felt excited to be going home, but also a sense of loss at what I had left behind. This had been my first short-term mission trip.

I was talking across the aisle to my new “brother” Jeff about all the amazing ways we had been allowed to work alongside the full-time SAM missionaries in Bolivia. The emotions we both felt were strong recounting our memorable experiences. Both of us knew there was so much more to be done. I believe any one of us that went on the mission trip would have turned that plane around if it were in our power. Deep down I hoped and prayed, that it would be in God’s plan that I would return. I had a yearning to continue what the Holy Spirit had started in my life and the work this mission team had started in Bolivia a decade earlier.

At the end of 2007 when Tony McCarver first asked me to be a part of the team I knew I had to go. God had been working in my life and putting everything in order that would make it possible. A year earlier I had not been able to commit to the trip, due to vacation scheduling, but this time every obstacle had been removed. I had been called by our Holy Father to serve. Now the challenge of my first mission trip was to come about.

When Tony first asked me to go I was excited and confident. When I learned of all the documents and vaccinations I would have to have my excitement and confidence sometimes turned to worry and fear. I needed a Passport and Visa, and enough inoculations to keep me very busy with appointments. I also had to raise financial support, and with the previously mentioned necessities the task seemed daunting. But every time we had a team meeting or I would speak with one of the other team members or a supporter, my spirit would perk up and I would find my assurance again.

Steve Preaching

Tony asked me to prepare a message to give at the Ayore church, and at first I thought he must be crazy. But I thought about it and then prayed about it a lot more. I felt Tony knew that I could do this, but I still struggled within my own strength. Finally, completely frustrated I gave in and cried out to the Lord for help. He instructed me to stop trying so hard and trust in Him. He knew the message I was to give, and when I relented, He supplied me with it. Everything fell into place when I put my trust in Him.

My supporters were fantastic as I received all the financial support necessary. I knew I also had the encouragement and power of their prayers. I really learned the strength of prayer when I presented the message to the church in Poza Verde. Speaking in front of a group makes me uncomfortable, but with the prayers of my fellow team members and of course with the leading of the Holy Spirit, the message went out without a hitch, twice!

These are some things I learned from my first mission trip:

Steve checking out the TWR radios

Checking out the radios at Trans World Radio that we gave to the Ayore. These radios are solar powered and transmit the Gospel.

If you are thinking of going on a short-term mission trip I strongly encourage you to seek others that have gone before. If you have a heart for the Gospel and a love for people, what could be more rewarding?

I stepped up to the challenge and know that I returned changed. I left my comfort zone and discovered a whole world that aches for the Truth and the message of God’s love. If it is in God’s plan, I will return to Bolivia in 2009. Maybe I will see you there, or in another place God has called us to.

-Steve Harding

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