My AYC Story
Apostolic Youth Corps. The name itself stirs excitement in my heart and those of hundreds of other young people as we anticipate the release of new mission trip destinations every single year. And it’s exciting to peruse the passionate testimonies and photos swirling around social media of those who just completed another summer missions adventure. I took the plunge in 2015, traveling to the beautiful country of France, and I’ve never looked back. France led to Africa, Africa led to Haiti, and AYC has ultimately led me to a lifelong love and passion for missions.
I’ll never forget my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, riding a boat through Ganvie in Africa, or the breathtaking view of a blue ocean surrounded by towering mountains on the island of Haiti. These are memories that will last a lifetime. But the memories I will most cherish and never forget are the moments of ministry, singing to people I didn’t know in a language I didn’t speak and feeling so “alive”. I will remember the joy I felt as I danced and worshipped in the presence of the Lord with a people who never let their humble circumstances steal their faith or erase their smiles. I will remember the quiet and tearful moments as the Lord personally spoke to my heart and began to change my dreams and desires to match His purpose for my life. Apostolic Youth Corps has given me memories of fun and laughter, but it has served as a Potter’s wheel where the hand of the Potter has molded, empowered, encouraged me, and shaped me into the person I am today.
Why should you go an AYC trip? What’s in it for you? The blessings and benefits of AYC have been one hundred-fold in my life, and I I’m sure it will be the same for you! But you see, through this ministry, I’ve found that the greatest blessings aren’t received when you come searching for what you can gain but when you let compassion empty you out as an offering to others.
Matthew 28:19-20 reads, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” We have all been charged with this great commission, and yet the great commission is still not enough. Anyone can go and preach the gospel. Anyone can baptize someone in the name of Jesus. Anyone can pray for an individual and they can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. While these words may sound controversial, consider this thought.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1-3).
I can go on an AYC trip and sing my heart out, but without love, the words I sing are empty. I can pray for a hungry soul with sweat pouring down my face and tears streaming from my eyes, but without love how, can my prayers reach the throne of the God of love? I can speak with eloquent words and fiery passion, but without love, my words fall on deaf ears. I can raise thousands of dollars to fund certain ministries, I can go on church outreach, I can teach a Sunday school class—fill in the blank. But without love, I am nothing.
I believe you’re able to feel and experience the love of God for yourself the most when you give it away. But the truth that shakes me to my core is this: you cannot love God fully until you learn what it truly is to love others. “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39). These commandments go hand in hand. Do you want to love God? Love people. Do you want to pursue ministry? Pursue loving others first. Do you want to serve God? Serve people! Your most beautiful blessings will come from the mindset of giving—not gaining.
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (I Corinthians 13:13).
I attend West Point United Pentecostal Church in Doniphan, Missouri, where my father pastors. I am heavily involved in ministry and am currently pursuing a career in the medical field to make my dream of participating in medical missions a reality.