The Shire – not where hobbits live, but an area known in Sydney where we lived in our own little world, surrounded by The Royal National Park and beautiful beaches. There was no reason to leave and I personally found it comfortable to stay there where everything was familiar and safe. As I grew older, I found that when I pushed myself out of my comfort zones, whether it be with my friendship groups, career or faith, I would discover more of what life had to offer and grow as a person. It’s a big world out there and nothing makes it feel quite so big as when you head out on a mission’s trek.
At 19, I headed out to Myanmar on my first overseas trip without my family. A huge breakout from what I was familiar with. With a huge call of my heart from God, a supportive push from my dad and a promise to my mum that I would lay hands and pray over every plane I travelled on, I headed off. So here are three big things that impacted me on this trek.
A hungry faith
Arriving in a third-world country is so much more than what you think it’s going to be. When I first saw the culture and lifestyle of people living in Myanmar, I was shocked with how little they had compared to my life back at home. Seeing this, I would have assumed that they were lacking, but I was surprised to find pure joy and contentment for what they had and how they lived.
During the first session our team organised, the people came as they were hungry to receive what we had to offer. The atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever experienced back home. The hunger to receive God, learn more and to be prayed over was so beautiful and touching and filled the place with His presence and authority.
The expectation was pure, there was no doubt, and they had a big appetite to receive from Him.
"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 5)
It was truly a privilege to witness the power of what a faith filled atmosphere can do when it meets the Authority of God. When we sing about how powerful His name is, I feel like this was the first time I witnessed what that really meant. Growing up in church, I wasn’t really that keen on praying for people. I was shy and it was totally out of my comfort zone. However, this trek was all about praying for people and gave me the opportunity to step out in this part of my relationship with God.
It was super exciting to see the fruits that came about from this particular step as people were healed, people were saved, and people’s faith was on fire. As the trip progressed and we travelled throughout this region – we saw more and more people start to turn up to receive Him and from this experience I saw my faith grow and how powerful prayer is. Even when we have nothing in life, if we rely on Him and go to Him, we can have His joy, we can be happy and sustained.
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.” (Luke chapter 9 verses 1-6)
The importance of independence
I didn’t realise how small my world was or how much I relied on my family to get me through situations in my life. Arriving in one of our hotel rooms, Bec and I were exhausted. As I was preparing our bed (yes we had to share), I was horrified to find a family of delightful crickets making our sheets their home. As I flung them into the wall and lots of screaming followed, the locals thought we had woken up the whole town – I realised just how far away from home (in particular my dad) I was.
This trip was the first opportunity I was willing to take to venture into the unknown world of adulting. Being able to step out of my comfort zone and into this whole new world expanded my way of thinking, it broadened my view of the world and it showed me how deep my relationship with God can go. Having so many distractions in this world, it was the best opportunity to find my independence and that I had something to offer and bring that was unique. Life is not about intelligence, or what you own or have, how many friends you have, whether you were invited or not invited, how good your job is or what car you drive – life is purely about being hungry for the things of God and finding who you are outside of the comfort zone.
Elise Williams lives on the Sunshine Coast with her family. She has a Diploma of Business and is currently studying a Diploma of Library and Information Services. She is passionate about God and has quite the creative streak. She has a heart for others and strives to encourage others to know God’s love and to understand how beautiful and valued they are in God’s eyes.