I was given an amazing opportunity five years ago. A woman I had only met once in person at a missions conference sent me an email asking if I wanted to go to Spain. I had never thought about going anywhere other than Africa—my church had adopted an unengaged/unreached people group from there five years earlier. I’d made two trips there and expected to make more in the near future. I didn’t think God was leading me to go anywhere else, until I received this email.
As I prayed about going on a trip with my new friend and five other women I had never met before, I really struggled if I was ready for this type of trip. It’s hard enough to go on a mission trip with people you know, much less strangers. But, after much prayer and discussion with my husband, I said yes.
It was great to meet the other ladies virtually as we trained and learned what this trip would entail. We learned that this was the first team of women that The Upstream Collective had put together for a cross-cultural experience, with the goal of sharing our experience with women in our local churches who might feel led to experience what we did. It’s called a Jet Set Trip.
As I prepared to leave for this trip I had some anxiety because I had never traveled abroad alone before, but I was able to meet up with three ladies on the team in a connecting airport. It’s amazing how God puts the right people in your path because once I met up with these ladies, I had a complete sense of peace about the trip.
What We Did
Our trip included meeting with workers with very different ministries. We met women who are ministering to trafficked women, giving them a home and the opportunity to learn a trade that hopefully will allow them the opportunity to take care of themselves, giving them back their dignity, and showing them how much Jesus loves them. We met women who work with university students, a couple who hosts a basketball camp every year for the local children, and others whose goal is to meet needs and share the gospel. We even had the opportunity to serve in a local Ronald McDonald house, helping them clean the grounds for the wonderful families who stay there while their children receive medical care.
One ministry that that we were able to serve is a center that invites local Muslim women and their children to visit every week. The day that we were there, we helped with an art project for 5 eleven-year-olds and sang songs. They were delightful and even knew some Christian songs. “Oceans” is one of their favorites. While we were not able to share the gospel, we were encouraged to have spiritual conversations about the provision and blessings of God.
We enjoyed seeing the city and learning as much as we could about the culture. We even split up to attend different churches and debriefed about the differences and what we learned. But what God impressed upon me the most was how we are to love and care for our sent ones. I met women who are serving cross-culturally who are lonely. I saw how important it is to go, not only to share the gospel with a lost and dying world, but to encourage and stand beside those who are called to full-time missions work.
What I Learned
This trip was very different from other trips in that it made me take a hard look at myself and what I was doing to serve the Lord. I was in a season of transition during this time. My oldest son was getting ready to graduate from high school and I was stepping down from church leadership after serving twelve years in Children’s Ministry and six years as the Missions Team lead. For the first time in many years, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do and or where I was supposed to serve.
The time I spent preparing for this trip really helped to solidify that this was where the Lord wanted me to be at this exact time. He had strengthened my love and passion for international missions and I had sensed him calling me to lead and train missions teams. This trip was his way of solidifying that calling.
When I learned about the next Jet Set trip to London, it didn’t take me long to say yes. I am looking forward to engaging in a new culture with a group of women who have the same heart for the nations. I’m excited to see what the Lord has to show me on this trip, but more importantly I am most excited to see what he will show me about himself.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’” (Isaiah 6:8, CSB)
Lezlie is a follower of Jesus, a wife and mom. She has a passion for taking the gospel to the ends of the earth and discipling the next generation. She works full-time outside the home and leads a ladies Bible study. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and three children.