Have you ever seen a movie that you just couldn't get enough of? It’s happened to me quite a few times in my life. First it was Free Willy, then it was Like Mike, and most recently it was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a kid, falling in love with a movie meant watching it over and over again until I (and every one of my family members and best friends) knew all the lines. As a 23 year old obsessed with Star Wars, it looks more like reading fan theories, talking too much about it with friends, and of course, telling EVERYONE I know that they need to see it. I can't help myself. When we really love something- a movie, a meal, that new coffee shop, or even a person- we want the people around us to love it too.
If you have been around RealLife for a while, you know that we don’t shut up about Summer Missions! And yes, let's admit it, sometimes that gets annoying. But for us, the simple reality is that Summer Missions are one of those things we love and want everyone to know about. If you talk to anyone who’s been on one, I bet that they could give you quite a few reasons why they loved it and why they’d want you to experience it for yourself. So will you hear us out? Will you hear me out? Even if you think you've heard too much about Summer Missions already, hear me out because I really love them and I think you just might love them too.
For starters, whether you are traveling across the ocean to Slovenia or Brazil, heading to the ocean in Virginia Beach or Ocean City, or spending a summer in the city of Chicago, Summer Missions are a once in a lifetime adventure. You’ll meet new friends, travel to a unique part of the world, learn a ton about God, and spiritually influence the lives of people that you come in contact with in the process. You might spend your days sharing your faith on a college campus or working at a job where you get to build spiritually significant relationships with your co-workers. You’ll spend your nights hanging out with new friends: learning about God together, talking about life, and laughing a whole lot. And you can spend your weekends exploring cities, hiking mountains, or hanging out on beaches.
No matter you end up doing with your career, I highly doubt that, twenty years from now, you would regret investing one summer of your college career to grow in your faith on a Summer Mission with Cru. Wherever your future plans are taking you- graduate school, engineering, the business world, medical school- God can use this one summer of your life to help equip you to live for him and with him in that context. And if you get lucky, you might even be able to have an internship while you are on your Summer Mission- you know, kill two birds with one stone.
As I reflect on my own college career, I don’t regret one bit the hard conversations I had with my family, the work I put into raising funds to go, or the time that I spent on my Summer Missions. (That’s right, I liked the first one so much that I went on two more!) God changed my life through the people that I met, the things that I learned, and the experiences I had. I learned how to read the Bible, that God wants people all over the world to know him, and that airplanes aren't very comfortable for 6’4” people. I found out how to share my faith, that gyros are my favorite food, and how much fun life with God can be. I was exposed to different cultures, met people I could have never dreamed of meeting, and discovered new things about myself. Most importantly, I believe that through my experiences on Summer Mission, I have been set up follow God for the rest of my life, and I can’t say enough how grateful I am for that.
That’s why I love Summer Missions, and why a lot of those around you do too. If you think RealLife talks to much about Summer Missions, you may be right, but the only way to really know is to try it for yourself! So will you open yourself up to it? Will you talk to someone about it? And most importantly, will you pray and ask God what he wants you to do with your summer?