Missions trips can be life-changing and are an essential part of the Charis Bible College experience. After returning from Sri Lanka, Charis Hong Kong student Annerine Tomlinson had this to say:
“We came back from this outreach so encouraged! I saw again the beauty of teamwork. I haven’t been on a missions outreach with a team for a while—only on my own with a translator. I haven’t taken any teams on trips since I started studying at Charis, if I remember correctly. This was so rewarding and fulﬁlling.
“On a personal note, I was so thankful that I was able to take the original material I have been working on and share it with the children in Sri Lanka. It was a great encouragement to me to see how they have received it with open arms and how well it worked.”
Preparing for a missions trip is never easy. What do you take? What do you say to the people you will be visiting? On the field, you quickly find out that you can do without a lot and that the best items are usually those you give away! Sometimes what you share can end up being something you didn’t anticipate. The same was true for Annerine:
“There was a lot of very hard work to be done preparing for this trip, but it all paid off. And none of it was wasted. We did not end up teaching as much on the topics we prepared, but our hearts were well prepared by it. And by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we knew what to do. I love it that we have the Holy Spirit to help us and also that we have the Holy Spirit to help show us what to prepare.”
But there was one other thing Annerine didn’t anticipate: the number of children she would be privileged to encounter in Sri Lanka. One of the things Charis leaders tell students before going on a missions trip is to be flexible. Why? Because it’s likely things won’t go exactly as planned. But often what God does is a pleasant surprise.
“Initially we were only going to be in contact with 60 to 80 kids during the trip. . . . We ended up ministering to close to 250 children in some form or another. I was blessed by the children and their open hearts. They ﬂowed with such ease with the original children songs. I was stunned!”
In the end, she experienced these words of Jesus to be true: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b).
Annerine discovered this while ministering to more children at an orphanage:
“The day at the orphanage was a personal calendar day for me on this trip. I never expected to be so touched by the children at Fridsro. I was so encouraged by how they responded to the music and the teaching, how they took it all in, and how hungry they were for interaction and love.”
Here are Annerine’s parting words to thank you for sending her:
“I am very thankful that we had this wonderful opportunity to go together on a missions trip as a second-year class. It has been amazing to do it through Charis contacts, since we could connect with quite a few like-minded people on the other side. Thank you for this opportunity. It was absolutely life-changing!”
Stay tuned for more on Annerine’s trip to Sri Lanka, coming up next week.
If you are not a Charis Bible College World Outreach partner, please consider becoming one today. Your gifts make trips like Annerine’s a reality. Let’s keep sending out these world-changers!
(Note: Testimonies have been edited for length and clarity.)