Have you ever wondered if you should join a short-term mission team? Has your pastor encouraged the congregation but you always dismissed it for one reason or another? If you are reading this, consider yourself invited and encouraged once again.
After serving with dozens of short-term mission teams, hearing testimonies of how God called each team member is still one of my favorite things!
Recently, we reached out to Hannah Lehman, who served this past July at the church in San Carlos, Ecuador, with her husband Jeff and 18 others. Most of the team members attend Calvary Baptist Church of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Calvary Baptist is also the home church for Sally Malenke.
Sally has faithfully served as a missionary in Ecuador for over 30 years. She has led many to the Lord and has invested much time, energy, and prayer to the community in San Carlos.
Hannah shared about her hesitation in joining the team this summer because it was set to be a construction heavy itinerary. She said, “Many of us started praying for God’s leading, provision, and direction to be part of the mission trip to Ecuador. Initially, I had some hesitation whether or not I should be part of the team, since I am not familiar with construction work and not inclined to be interested in that type of work. But, I was praying that if it was God’s will for my husband and I to go, I would be willing to learn and be open to whatever opportunities God would have for me to serve Him. It had been a few years since Jeff & I were part of a Missions trip and I had previously been praying and desiring to be part of a future mission trip, whether locally or abroad. After much prayer, we committed to join the team who was planning to go to Ecuador.”
She had further trepidation when reflecting on a previous mission trip experience to Slovakia that included difficult health situations. Experiencing spiritual warfare around a mission trip is not uncommon. The enemy works hard to thwart the good and perfect plans that God has for us.
Hannah was thankful to report that this trip did not include the same kind of hardship. She shared, “In light of the trials of our mission trip to Slovakia, I thank God that He allowed me and most of our team members to be in good health, throughout the trip. And I am thankful that we had lots of opportunities to serve Jesus, while in Ecuador. It was certainly a great experience.”
Hannah shared more about the highlights of her trip, an unlikely new painting pal and how she gained even greater appreciation for Sally.
She wrote, “We had a wonderful time working on the church throughout the week, and it was great to meet and work with the church people, at the church in San Carlos. Most of the ladies on our team took part in the painting of the church. While we were painting, on our 1st day in Ecuador, a little girl (8 yrs old) came next to me and helped with the painting. This little girl came to me multiple times during the week, to help paint the auditorium and the outside wall of the church. She became my 1st Ecuadorian friend!
What I enjoyed the most during our trip was our ladies visitations with Sally, which was not part of the planned schedule. It was such a blessing, and so neat seeing Sally in action, as we witnessed her love for the Ecuadorians. For many years, we have prayed for Sally and her ministries in Ecuador, and it was such a blessing and a privilege to be with her, and to have a small part in her ministry, through this trip. It was also a delight to finally meet the different people we had heard, read, and prayed for, from Sally’s prayer letters. It has also been a joy getting to know Sally better as well as getting to know the different families we visited, hearing how they came to know Jesus as their Savior. We also shared with them what God has done in our lives and has impressed in our hearts. Lastly, it was a wonderful experience to see the Lord provide ideas for activities, especially during one of the children’s ministries. I had to depend on Him and was able to remain calm while coming up with the ideas for the activities.
God’s grace, peace and strength were always available and sufficiently sustained us throughout our trip. Our Ecuador mission trip was indeed a blessing to me personally. God has used our trip to encourage and to rejuvenate me to love Him and serve Him more each day, after returning back to Pennsylvania. The joy of serving Jesus with our team, Sally, and the wonderful people in Ecuador and getting to know each one better are also added blessings. “
We’d love to be sharing YOUR testimony here one day. Visit our volunteer page to inquiry about serving opportunities.