There can be certain subconscious expectations we have when preparing to go on an overseas mission trip. Perhaps we want to see a certain number of souls saved, or we expect to see a healing or a miraculous work of God. To see the tangible evidence of God’s working is not promised; God does not owe us these blessings, but it is a sweet blessing when experienced. To realize God is working through you as it is happening is not always common but it a joyful and humbling reminder that we are the clay, and God is the potter, and He is working!

Tired and jet-lagged, but excited to do help in all sorts of capacities, the four women in the Southeast Asia Beyond Team stumbled up to the third floor of a Bible school for refugees. All we were told is to help in some lessons in Biblical interpretation. Arriving twenty minutes late, we were greeted with, “Right on time!” by the school’s teacher. Then he asked, “Are you ready to go?” Confusion filled our heads—we thought we were helping the teacher teach, not bringing the lessons ourselves. “It’s okay, take five minutes to freshen up and I’ll tell a story in the meantime,” was the reply.

The confusion soon turned into a realization that we had five minutes to prepare the lessons we were expected to bring. In that moment, there were mixed feelings of stress, a smidge of panic, but also a whole lot of, “Okay God, you’re going to have to move here, because we got nothing!” We didn’t know what each of us were thinking and we certainly didn’t have much time to talk about it. We had to trust God.

Allie was the one who volunteered to go first. Scurrying through the Bible she collected her thoughts, so I was focusing collecting mine and planning some sort of lesson. After the five minutes, Allie went up and began a beautiful exposition of the overarching story of the Bible. I’m sure she was nervous, yet she sounded so secure, like she’d done this before. According to the usual teacher, we had almost four hours to teach. Not one, not an hour and a half—four hours! Allie was not privy to this information, as she had already started teaching, but, as if this teaching segment had already been orchestrated and planned, she went on to take one hour speaking on the story of the Bible.

Perfect, I thought! I’ll do principles of interpreting the Bible and go through Numbers 20 as a sample passage, since I had already done a thorough Bible study lesson on that passage earlier this year. I also had spoken on Biblical literacy and questions to ask yourself as you read the Bible earlier this year at a couple of women’s conferences.

What I did not know at the time is that Allie originally had planned to do a lesson on ways to interpret the Bible. It was not until hours later that she revealed, “As I stood up there, I suddenly felt that I should not talk about the hermeneutical process. I was not sure what to say next so I just started to talk about the overarching story of the scriptures.”

Fellow brother and sister in Christ, be humbly expectant for God to work.

She also said that as I began my lesson on the hermeneutical process, it became clear to her why that had not been the lesson she gave. We are thankful she sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit and pivoted accordingly. 

As I was quickly preparing my lesson, I had to trust that God had prepared me for this, even though I didn’t have a previous lesson plan. So, I taught what I had prepared the past semester trusting that that’s what God had for me to share.

Then went Sydney, who originally didn’t think she would have to teach. Not having taken a formal class of Biblical Hermeneutics yet, she felt we would only teach. Yet, God had been preparing her and used her talents to bring about a dynamic group activity. She later shared, “I realized that the group might benefit from a group exercise applying principles from both Allie’s and Natalie’s lessons. I took careful notes while they were teaching and constructed a plan for a group exercise.”

Coming from a predominantly lecture-based style of teaching, the school’s usual teacher later told us that the group–work was a perfect activity for what he has been trying to teach them.

Finally, Tara gave her lesson which was distinct from the other lessons. Again, in real time, none of us knew what each of us were going to share or teach—we were watching God work through each of us before our very eyes. She tied the previous lessons beautifully sharing how we have to have good interpretation and not forsake the application into our own lives. Sharing from her own testimony, she shared how our thoughts impact our feelings and behaviors, and asked the students to also share their stories. When she finished, it was five minutes before 5 p.m. We did end up taking the full time allotted for the class. 

Fully cognizant that this was a work of the Holy Spirit, we rejoiced and were extremely humbled to be God’s servants for such a time as this.

Though we can say this was another miraculous mission-trip story, there are some keys takeaways as well:

  1. As one of my guest lecturers, Cindy Townsend, once said, “God prepares us for what He has prepared for us”. It seems simple enough, but God uses your faithfulness over the years for an opportune time.
  2. God orchestrated seamlessly what we never could have with our planning. None of us had planned or prepared what to say, and we certainly had not known what each of us would say; yet, the whole presentation fit together perfectly, as if it had been seamlessly planned and orchestrated by Another… God knows His people and He knows the needs of His people.
  3. God works in this way overseas and back home. It doesn’t take going overseas for us to be cognizant that God is working. We must know and trust that God is working even when we don’t see it. But we can learn to look for it both in familiar and unfamiliar settings.  

Fellow brother and sister in Christ, be humbly expectant for God to work.


Start your application today for a Summer 2024 Beyond Trip! Applications are due by March 15.

  • May 14-24, 2024 | East Africa
  • May 13-23, 2024 | Southeast Asia KEB
  • June 14-27, 2024 | Southeast Asia