From Abraham...

I’ve been having a blast so far down here in Mississippi, and I wanted to talk a little bit about why I came on this trip and my experiences so far!

Why did you come on this trip?

I came on this trip because I have a passion for mission trips! I love geting to travel somewhere new, as well as spending time focusing on serving others and building up my own faith at the same time!

What have you enjoyed most about this trip?

I have loved getting to do the construction work on this trip. We’ve been rebuilding a roof this week, and it’s something that I didn’t have a lot of experience with previously, but have been able to help with a lot this week. I actually enjoy it and feel like my work is an important addition to the team, which I appreciate! I also love the unique experience it provides - it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to do this again anytime soon!

What has surprised you on this trip?

On previous mission trips that I’ve been on, we’ve gone with teams of 8-12 and I’ve gotten really close with everyone on my team, which I really appreciated. I wasn’t sure whether that would happen or not on this trip, though, since there were about 35 people coming. However, it turns out that getting to know other people on the team is really emphasized and encouraged on this trip, which I really appreciate! I’ve gotten to know most of the people on my team this week and will hopefully get to know them all at least a little bit by the time we leave!

What would you say to others who are considering going on a mission trip?

Mission trips are such a cool and unforgettable experience - you get to have new and memorable experiences serving others and growing yourself, and you develop an amazing community both with the people you’re serving and the people on your team! It’s an amazing experience in every way and one that you won’t forget.

From Megan...

Being able to go the school has been such a blessing! There are seven girls that go every morning and are there until 11:30. Each classroom has different jobs for the volunteers! Some of us help with homework, others lead stations, and sometimes we even work 1-on-1 with the students in the hallways! Seeing the kids every morning is such a joy because all of the kids just light up when you walk in the room!

The teachers really benefit from having those extra hands! They are so grateful whenever we step foot in the classroom and put us right to work! They are super great about having confidence in us as a team! I have heard many teachers mention the blessing our team has been. It was so encouraging to hear that we are impacting more than just the students at 28th Street Elementary.

When you hear about the fruitful conversations that happen on WMT, usually they involve two people on the construction service team chatting while they the talk! That worried me when thinking about going to the school rather than to the construction sites. Turns out all it takes is the bus ride to and from the school to really connect with my team! We started our talks on the way home Tuesday. It started as everyone sharing one good part about their day, and it was so cool to hear everyone’s stories! That night a few of us were talking, and we decided we should pray before going into the school! We prayed for guidance, safety, patience, and just boldness! I know it helped me get in the right mindset before going in to serve! After school on Wednesday, we shared a good thing that happened and a struggle that we could pray for! It was amazing to have those fruitful conversations that I was worried wouldn’t happen on the school service team! Being on the school service team has gave me so many new memories and friendships, and I am truly blessed to have the chance to serve at 28th Street Elementary!

From Angie...

This is my fourth mission trip and second one with Encounter. As a freshman it can be very intimidating to go 16 hours away from home with a group of strangers but within the first few hours of the trip I was welcomed and bonding with new friends. When I went on my first Encounter mission trip in November I did not know a single person and was terrified but through that I found new friends and my love serving in construction. It was because of that trip that I knew that, even though I was still anxious for this trip, God was going to provide me with the comfort and tools I needed. It’s only been a couple days and I’ve already created those new friendships and memories through new experiences. We’re halfway through the trip and I’ve seen patience and compassion in the most simple yet impactful ways and I can’t wait to see whats in store for the last couple of days.

It’s going down!











From Brandon...

Today I got to see Jordan again. She’s an adorable 3rd grader that I bonded with last year and when I saw her today she remembered me. As soon as I walked in the door she ran over and hugged me. She told me how much she missed me and that she’d been waiting for me to come back. I’m so glad I was able to have such a big impact on her the last time I was here! We sat and talked about how much she’d grown in a year and what all had been happening in her life. She told me about how she plays tackle football  and told me repeatedly that she’s a tomboy now. I was surprised when Jordan then told me that during this year her Rottweiler and bulldog had saved her life. I was confused so I asked her what she meant. She doesn’t live in the safest area and one night some men broke into her home and we’re going to hurt her family, but her dogs defended her and her family and chased those men out. Her courage and strength amazed me. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t cry as she told me about such a traumatic experience. She has scars from that night both physical and emotional but she is still so filled with love and grace. I’m thankful to God Jordan had those dogs because without them she might not still be here today. She is the type of person who lights up any room she goes into and the idea of her being gone almost brought me to tears. I hope someday she comes to know Jesus and that he will heal the wounds that have been inflicted on her. I’m going to be praying that she remains safe and can come to know the Lord. I ask anyone who reads this to do the same.

From Paige...

Coming into this trip, I expected to be doing a lot of hard labor and running activities for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club. What I didn’t expect was all the great friendships I am already begining to form with so many of the students on this trip and the staff at Relevant Ministries. Between late night card games and diving deep into the Word together, we’ve gotten pretty close. God is surprising me in everything we do here and we’re not even half way through the week! I feel so blessed to be able to witness the works being done for the Kingdom down here in Mississippi. Christ is alive here.

At the Boys and Girls Club, I found myself helping the first graders with their homework, and then later on playing some drama/theater games with them. Even though it was our first day there, I can already tell connections are being made. Memories are being created. Its just the best feeling to know that we may have such a short time with them, but those children will one day be teenagers, and then adults, looking back and remembering the kindness shown to them and the joy we got to experience together. The smiles, laughter, and conversation coming from each of them were a sure sign of that.

I pray the Lord opens doors for us this week that we never thought we’d be walking through. I pray He touches hearts and changes lives with the interactions we’re having on this trip. It is such an honor to be a part of WMT 2018.

From Kenneth...

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I’ve been wanting to go to New Orleans for a long time it has definitley been in my top 3 cities to visit since i was a kid so finally getting to go i was ecstatic naturally. When i was first oming up on the city i’ll be honest it looked a bit… underwhelming, but when your looking through a window it’s easy to judge something when i started walking through the city it was amazing at just how much lif there was and how much was going on especially with the football game. Getting to walk through such a livley town was absolutley amazing seeing the artist selling all kinds of things and seeing people getting their fortune told i now slightly regret not trying it out, but the food was amazing especially the Alligator Sausage at Johnny’s Po Boys SO GOOD! I definitley suggest it. All of that was amazing but none of it was my favorite part, My favorite part was definitley the street

performers one in particularly on Royal Street playing “Down in New Orleans” and it honestly blew me away it was hard for me atleast to even manage a thought during it just because of how incredible it was. This i also my first mission trip and i can honestly say it is off to a phenomenal start and it’ll be interesting to see what else god sees fit to throw at me.


From Molly...

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Winter Mission Trip is my first mission trip and so far, I can already see God doing work through all of us. I was first interested in coming on this trip because God has really put the idea of building his kingdom into my heart. I am an elementary major, so the idea of being with kids this week and seeing him work in their lives is amazing to me. God has really opened my heart so far and I can’t wait to see what else he has in store for the rest of the week!

Our team is ready to get back to the Gulf Coast! We are prepped, packed and excited for an amazing week.