My first six months as a Sector Missionary were much different than I expected. On every mission trip I’ve ever been on, including AMT, everything had been prepared for us ahead of time. Ministry was scheduled, food was prepared, housing was arranged and ready to go, therefore I never had to worry about the little details. However, transitioning into full-time ministry was an eye-opening, patience-testing, faith-growing experience. I’ve learned how to manage logistics because without simple preparation and accomplishment of the mundane tasks, ministry cannot thrive. I have been stretched in ways that I never imagined. Not only have I learned about the purpose of preparation, but I’ve also learned about joy in the quiet and intentionality with the one.
When you are planted across the country from your friends, family, and fellow missionaries you get to spend a lot of time with the Lord. Since being distanced from all the comforts of home, I’ve learned how to truly rely on the Lord for joy. It’s tough to transition into a culture that is void of the typical, American entertainment and convenience, from family down the road to Super Bowl parties with friends. When I realized I couldn’t rely on sports, my family, or even my best friends to provide the joy I need on a daily basis, I humbly came to the Lord and found joy in His presence. Psalm 16:11 declares, “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Since that encounter, I have felt refreshed, content, and joyful each and every day. 
In ministry, it is easy to become distracted by numbers. The western mindset is for everything to be bigger and better, so I have often forgotten that most times, one on one conversations have the most impact. During this first season on the field full-time, I’ve realized how important one on one conversations are. It is sitting with someone at their house and sharing a meal that simply and tangibly shows the Lord’s love and grace. In Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep where the good shepherd leaves the 99 to find the one that is lost. Jesus, as our example, demonstrates the power of intentionality with the one. There is a phrase that is thrown around in the church world and even in our educational system that says, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Although I’ve always agreed with this statement, I never really, truly, appreciated what exactly the statement means until now.
Overall, though my experience in Sector has been different than I expected, it has by far been one of the best seasons of my life. After my first six months I have a better appreciation for the Lord, more joy, and a better understanding of how to listen and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. These experiences will forever shape my life.