Updated: Mar 7
"Are you going on a mission trip to the Philippines this summer, Grace?" A question that many have been asking me over the past several weeks. To give my honest response- the only one who knows the answer is God.
James 4:13 "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Yes, I am pursuing going on a mission trip to the Philippines this summer with a short term missions team from Faith Bible Church. I have full plans to go and am doing everything in my responsibility to make it there. I am on the team and logistically speaking, I see no reason as to why it wouldn't pan out. I'm fairly confident that I am going to the Philippines this summer. But- this wouldn't be the first time I have said such a thing about embarking on a mission trip- and The Lord has had other plans in the past.
If you're reading this, it's likely that I gave you a support letter in regards to fundraising and prayer requests for my short term mission trip to Cebu, a city in the Philippines, in June of 2023. I will say, handing out support letters is the furthest I have made it in a mission trip pursuit! But- I will NOT announce for certain until I have my feet planted in Cebu! The Lord's will could be different than mine, and I have no authority to confirm or deny the plans I make for myself!
Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."
Now ALL of this allusion to the fact that I have pursued and not made it on a missions trip in the past deserves some explanation... so here is the story that lead me to joining The 2023 Philippines Short Term FBC Missions Team :
My Story with Missions
I have had the desire to go on a mission trip ever since I was a Junior in High School. Back then, it was less about serving the Lord and more about a travel opportunity that including doing good works... but such a selfish motive was of course not blessed by The Lord and therefore never panned out. After a few years of maturing and growing in Christ, it wasn’t until after college when I had finally pursued to go on my first trip, a short term mission to Albania in Summer 2021. Due to a work conflict I was unable to go, even after getting chosen for the team. Following the trip, I heard about the immense impact it had on the people I served in ministry with as well as on the Albanians. I began praying about getting an opportunity to serve in the future and for my work circumstances to change. I thought that the Lord had opened the door again for me in November 2021 when I had since started my own company that allowed me to work overseas and the family I lived with at the time got the opportunity to move to Albania for a couple months. For a split second it seemed as though I would have a chance to move with them, but as the circumstances changed in Albania it ended up being best for me to stay home. I was bummed at another serving opportunity falling through, twice in one year, but continued to trust God through the process. I know that if God wanted to use me, it would work out eventually according to His perfect will and it would be better than anything I could plan for myself.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
In Summer of 2022, I planned to be a member of the short term mission trip to Uganda, Africa. I was selected as a part of the team, given a role, and had written my support letter all before being counseled to stay home as I was amidst a difficult trial that deserved my full focus. I was again put in a spot of full surrender to the Lord, giving up my desires and what I viewed to be best in light of where God was directing me.
As I walked through this trial, I began to question every element of my life and my purpose. Going down that spiral can lead you to become painfully self absorbed and inward focused. By God's grace, I was humbled by the counsel in my life and continually reminded that being a daughter of The King, my purpose in life is actually quite simple- it is to serve the Lord and further the kingdom of God. As I pour out in service at my home church in southern California, Faith Bible Church, one of my biggest questions is “where am I spiritually gifted and in what ways have I been uniquely crafted to serve the Lord?” I believe that a mission trip is an amazing opportunity to learn this answer, as it removes a Christian from a comfortable church bubble into a setting where the only immutable factor is The Lord. With such a desire to be made aware of God’s will for my life and practical ways to live out my purpose in His earthly kingdom, I pursued the possibility of moving long term to another country with a missionary family. With the blessing of being self employed, work conflicts are slim. I am in a season of singleness, so there were no relational ties preventing it. Circumstantially- most factors of my personal life allotted for this opportunity and I wanted to jump on it. While I had been praying over and seeking counsel on this idea, I had decided not to pursue any short term missions for 2023 in the case that I would be able to move long term.
On the morning of Sunday January 8th, 2023 I saw an email for an interest meeting regarding the Philippines short term mission trip in my inbox. Even though I had seemingly written off the idea of a short term trip for this summer I thought to myself “I need to go to this meeting.” In hindsight, I do believe that was assurance of The Spirit putting it on my heart to go. When The Spirit calls, you answer- so I went! I opened my heart to the idea that maybe God would want me to do a short term mission- even though I was actively praying and pursuing different options. After all, I had already received an email from one long term mission opportunity letting me know that they didn't have a need for me this season... doors just kept closing and I needed to chase after ALL the options- not just the ones I thought made sense.
Low and behold, the following day I had a conversation with my college pastor and his wife regarding a potential move out of the country. They let me know that if it worked out for me to move (and there are multiple factors to work out) it would be a year long commitment and not to begin until after Summer. Hearing this it was pretty clear that I had exhausted all of my options for jumping into missions long term THIS year. And God was also painting some sense into me... considering the fact that I have never traveled overseas or done mission work before, it was looking like it'd be best that I gain some experience on a short term mission before pulling the trigger on a drastic life change.
So there you have it-
that's how I ended up on the 2023 Philippines mission team.
After all of those closed doors, I think it only makes sense why I will not state with confidence "Yes, I am going to the Philippines this summer." If it is in the Lord's will, I will go. I WANT to go, I HAVE been praying that God would allow this door to stay open! However, as the Christian life goes, my main desire is to abide by The Lord's will. So my answer is straight- If He wills it to be, I will be there.
Now- without getting too excited-
let's talk about The Philippines!
My church, Faith Bible Church, is sending a team of servants to the island of Cebu in the Philippines where we will work alongside the members of Grace Baptist Church, Cebu. I have been selected as a part of the team (gasp) and if the Lord wills, this will be my VERY FIRST mission trip!
WHAT is the purpose of our trip?
We have six main points of service intended for this trip: sharing the gospel, equipping and training church leaders, youth ministry outreach, hosting Sunday church services, assisting with general community needs, and providing refreshment & relief to the saints of Cebu. A few events that we will be putting together during our time include a pastors conference, singles conference, and a Vacation Bible School. Our goal is to share the gospel with the people of Cebu through a series of messages, conversations, Bible stories, skits, games, and more. We will be building personal relationships and shining the light of Christ to the people of the Philippines through this experience.
WHERE and WHEN is this happening?
We head to Cebu on June 21st 2023 and get back to America on July 9th 2023!
HOW can YOU help?
#1 - YOUR PRAYERS! Just as Paul asked of the Ephesians, so I ask to you-
“...and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:18-19
The Bible emphasizes the power of prayer to a great extent, and it couldn’t be more true. Prayer changes things, and it would be beyond helpful if you could pray for me as well as my team for safe travels, boldness to share the gospel, and for the hearts of the Filipinos to be opened through this experience. I pray that I would only be on this trip if my role would truly help further the kingdom, glorify the Lord, and be a light to those I will influence on the mission.
For my heart specifically: That my desire would be not only to gain clarity on my own heart, God’s will for me, and recognition of what my giftings are/ how they may be best used in God's kingdom- but to be focused on OTHERS. Sharing the gospel and seeing more brothers and sisters in heaven one day is TOP priority!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Salvation has changed my life and my strongest earthly desire is to see others experience the same heart transformation. Praise God for the conversion He did in me, I want nothing more than to live for Him and use opportunities like this one to their fullest extent! If you are reading this and have questions about the gospel or what I mean by having a life transformation- PLEASE reach out to me and I would love to talk more!
#2 - FINANCIAL SUPPORT!
This trip will cost $2,600, which will cover travel, housing, food, mission resources, etc. If you feel that the Lord is calling you to support financially, my team and I would be beyond thankful for any of your generosity in giving. If you are unable to give, please do not feel pressured, as PRAYER truly is the number one thing I ask for.
If you DO feel inclined to give, you can do so online by visiting https://www.faith-bible.net/give/ Using that link, there will be a drop down “fund” menu; Select “Short Term Missions.” In the “comment” section please make sure you put “Grace Walker Philippines 2023.”
For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may
bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47
I hope that you all continue to follow along for updates as we prepare for and go on this trip (Lord willing). I will do my best to continue blogging during the preparation process over the next few months, throughout the trip, and after the trip - and hopefully also releasing a podcast update at the conclusion as well!