Reflections on the Odessa English Camp Mission Trip

—David Barrow, CCC Member

“God’s got this.” One of our team members said this during an Odessa pre-trip planning meeting. Rather than striking me as a cliché, these words gave me comfort and resonated with me and contained truth. I’ve long known about God’s providence and his involvement over the affairs of men, but for some reason these words just keep going through my mind.

When you start a journey, you never know what might happen. I think that is a reason why the phrase “God’s got this” gave me encouragement for our trip to Odessa. Having completed the trip, I can look back and see the ways in which God was involved and brought us together, campers and staffers alike, to fulfill his purpose and plan.

I found out on the day we were leaving for Odessa that I was losing my job on October 1st. While that news stunned me, the words “God’s got this” continued to echo in my mind. The fact that I was given more than 4 months’ notice is an example of God’s provision and I was able to head to Odessa in peace and felt the freedom to not think about work or about finding another job.

The Saturday before we left for Odessa, I spent about 5 hours working on flashcards that the lesson plan for my class instructed would be helpful. However, I placed the flash cards into my checked bag, which as it turns out, got lost in transit at the airport and was not found until the camp week was completed. As disappointing as it was to not have my prepared work, the class still went very well because I had great helpers (James, George and Katya) and interested students.

While there were other hiccups along the way—as there always are on trips, and perhaps especially in the mission field where the devil has extra incentive to intervene—what strikes me most is how well the camp went and how much joy was present. If you watch the slideshow recap that was posted on the church’s Facebook page, you see a bit of that joy in the smiles of the students and teachers. God’s desire for our success and work therein was apparent in every activity. This became clear upon reading the feedback forms from students and in recalling the words of one girl after the swing dance night: “I have not been this happy in years. I almost feel too happy!”

I praise God for his work and for allowing us to participate in that work with him. When things go well, it is easy to repeat the cliché “God is good” and forget that God is good when things go “bad.” As I have experienced a bit of both in the past few months, I hope this account can serve as a reminder that, despite our changing circumstances, God is unchangeably good; “God’s got this.”