Why Shouldn’t You?
Why shouldn’t you? This is sometimes a hard question to answer, but when talking about attending an AYC trip, it’s easy. The answer is “only if you aren’t ready.” I will explain what I mean by this, but first, let me tell you a few of my experiences with Apostolic Youth Corps.
On July 31, 2018, I was with 50+ other AYC’ers attending a district rally service in Apaneca, El Salvador (one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.) This was unlike any other service I had ever attended. This service was held in an outdoor stadium used for rodeos. There were dozens of vendors selling food right behind the bleachers. Several of us had to use the bathroom and were amused to discover that it would cost us 15 cents each.
With about one thousand people in attendance, the whole group was given VIP seating on the stage behind the pulpit. As our choir sang, the entire group was jumping like we Apostolics tend to do. The wooden floor beneath us was literally bending and shaking, so we had to calm it down a bit. After Micah Royer spoke a five-minute message, Br. Russell Drake spoke a powerful word and the altar call invitation was given. We slowly started to witness hundreds of people crawl under, over, and through the railings around the stadium.
Young and old alike were hopping this seven-foot-high fence to race down to the stage. There was so much raw emotion and hunger for the things of God on their faces and in their actions. Forty-six people were filled with the Holy Ghost for the first time that night. A railing and a dirty field weren’t going to stop them.
The following year, I attended another trip to Belize City in June of 2019. It was a night service, and I got the privilege of sitting next to a little boy named Oscar. I noticed he wasn’t really paying attention to the message, so I gained his attention. I grabbed my notebook and drew him a smiley face. He smiled at me and took the notebook. He proceeded to copy my smiley face and then handed it back to me. After service, a few of us talked with Oscar and his brother Hanya. Oscar was nine years old. He seemed to have some type of issue with his teeth and was very shy and quiet. I kept that paper with the smiley face and framed it when I got home. These are the kinds of souvenirs that I like to hold on to the most.
I also attended a trip with AYC to the Dominican Republic. The serve project for this trip was a two day construction project in a Haitian village called Bermejo. The goal was to build a playground for the children that live nearby. We arrived on August 15th to set up the tent and supplies. Almost immediately, a couple dozen children arrive to see what is happening. They took many photos with us and were excited about the toys and school supplies we had brought.
Several of us gave them piggy-back rides or played games like duck-duck-goose. The most amazing part of it all was their willingness to work and help make things happen. Within an hour, half of all the workers were the kids from the village. Many of us mentioned how we had never witnessed such eager hard-working children. It’s hard to explain to someone who didn’t have their shovel snatched while taking a water break.
AYC has changed my life in so many ways; it has helped shape the type of servant I want to be in the future. I have made several strong friendships and connections. Through AYC, I have been able to spend time with Br. Bruce Howell, Br. Scotty Slaydon, Sis. Seneatha Clayton, and six youth presidents and met so many amazing natives.
So why should someone not attend an AYC trip? Well. If you aren’t ready to witness global revival firsthand, if you aren’t ready to expand your love for people, if you aren’t ready to make the most incredible memories and friendships, if you aren’t ready to be the light in the darkness of someone’s life, then I guess AYC isn’t for you.
Here’s a quick closing hint: it is for you.