The theme of Mission Tour this year is “Do not be afraid of the light that shines within you!” The mission team this summer is made up a few young adults who traveled with Chester Phelps in the past, some who traveled with Rachel Hoffman, and most who are experiencing a mission trip for the first time. We each bring different talents to the team, and are working together to complete various tasks around our church, including cleaning out and organizing the stage props and costumes as well as several storage closets, and painting the main hall of the downstairs.

Especially when we are with others that we do not know well, it can be difficult to let our light shine, for fear that we will embarrass ourselves or that others will simply not understand us. It is important, however, to let your light shine for the world to see, so that we can help others to feel comfortable letting their light shine as well. When we are all exceptionally bright, we can overcome the darkness of the world, which is an important part of the week for me.

Before leaving for this trip, the news was all about a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. It can be difficult to avoid such negative news stories, except when there is no access to television and internet, which I refer to as the “tour bubble.” I look forward to this time, as I can escape and feel closer to my neighbors and to God, with few reminders of the outside world.

Chester began the week by telling everyone that there are moments of the mission trip in which you will feel closer to God than you have ever felt before, and that tour is all about waiting for these moments, whether on the worksite, in worship, or during bonding time with new and old friends. I hope that whether on a mission trip or not, all of us will let our light shine brightly within us, so that we can encourage others to shine as well.