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Inexperienced Yet Equipped - Alaska Mission Trip 2017

By Tristan Sagastume on Monday, April 3, 2017

Group at Denali National Park

This past spring break I had the privilege of co-leading a mission trip to Alaska through UNW's global outreach. The trip included working at a Boys and Girls Club, as well as volunteering for the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. The Boys and Girls Club was located in the most diverse neighborhood in America, and our team had the privilege to interact with all ages and in a variety of activities. Volunteering at the Iditarod included set up, security, dog handling, tear down, etc., and we worked long hours out in negative temperatures! Both experiences were incredibly different, but it was great working alongside each other and our Alaskan neighbors. Just about everyone on the team had never been on a mission trip before – including me.

Discovering a passion for Leadership

Growing up, I did not think of myself as being a leader; however, that passion was always there waiting to be manifested. Through my experience as an Orientation Leader in the fall of 2015, I realized that leadership was exciting, challenging, and life-giving to me. During that time, I became good friends with Dawnette Scott, an assistant dean who oversees Orientation and is the head of UNW's global outreach. The following year, she asked me if I would like to be a student leader for one of the Spring Break Mission Trips. My initial thoughts were "what do you do on a mission trip", "how do you lead a mission trip" and, "am I really equipped for this?" However, after a week of praying, I was certain that this position was right for me, and I happily accepted the position as I eagerly waited to see what God had in store.

Inexperienced, yet Equipped

In the fall of 2016, I officially became a part of the Global Outreach team at Northwestern. One of the most impactful things I learned was what it means to serve well and to be a servant-hearted leader, as well as how to lead a servant-hearted team. I learned that sometimes when we try to help others (e.g. when on a mission trip), we aren't always helpful. Learning to be sensitive to the needs of others, and applying discernment in how we choose to serve gives us the ability to best meet those needs. By being a servant-hearted team, we were willing and able to deny ourselves for the sake of each other and for those whom we were serving. These things can't be taught through a lesson, but through actions, and Dawnette was an incredible role-model to follow. The example of Christ-like leadership that Dawnette set caused me to develop an understanding of what it means to serve well and to be a servant leader.

Though my experience lacked, my heart was positioned in a way where my lack of experience wasn't an issue; the orientation of my heart was sufficient to serve well. This is the power God has to use anyone, regardless of experience, as He equip us for any task. Yes, my first mission trip was also one which I led. However, despite my circumstances, God was able to use me. I believe this testifies to God's ability to use anyone for his purpose. Nothing limits God, (including my lack of missional experience) but God is able to equip us with everything we need to accomplish his will.

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