First-year uni student
Port Macquarie SUFM
It was with HSC exams looming and decisions about future studies to be made that Grace Easton found herself considering whether she should join a beach mission team.
“One of my youth leaders [at St Luke’s, Miranda] asked me,” she says. “I was done with being at school and I wanted to just go away on trips and see different places – but also have a chance to serve in some way, and use that time well rather than sit at home for three months before uni started. I wanted to have new experiences and serve God through that as well.”
A new experience serving God
She said yes to her youth leader and, last summer, spent 10 days with the team at SUFM Port Macquarie, where they run the Summerlife café. It’s set up near the beach, and offers pancakes, coffee, live music and kids activities. There are plenty of opportunities for team members to chat about Jesus with visitors and share their testimonies.
Easton confesses that although she said “Yes”, there were many things she was unsure about.
"It's definitley out of your comfort zone"
“There weren’t many people from my church going, and no girls,” she says. “Going on a trip without your parents, with people you don’t know – that’s pretty daunting. The other doubt was my attitude. I’m little, I had just finished high school, what do I know about tricky questions and sharing the gospel? I was worried someone would ask me something I can’t answer and that would stop them being interested.”
Both her concerns quickly alleviated during her time at Port Macquarie. “I spent time with the girls I met there that were my age, and they were wonderful,” she says. “The training we did beforehand was really helpful, too.
God uses us through all inadequacies
“Things that we think are inadequacies – God will still use them, and he can fill the gaps. I kept praying for that during conversations and I found those I chatted to, I was able to answer questions and have discussions. There’s so many people on team, so if I couldn’t answer a question, another person could jump in.”
"God is on our side"
Now Easton is gearing up for a second summer with the team. After experiencing great spiritual growth last year, she is excited to see how God grows her faith again.
“Going on mission is great training for evangelism in my own life and context, because there are so many people around us who don’t know Jesus,” she says. “One reason I wanted to go again was the encouragement that we can tell people about Jesus, God is on our side and it sparked good conversations when I came back. I want to continue that attitude.
“It’s definitely something out of your comfort zone,” she adds. “There are always feelings of ‘Should I do this, or should I not do this?’ but ultimately the fruit you can see when you’re there, and the fruit you see when you come home and see people, it makes it so worth it.
“There will always be doubt, but there are so many ways it’s worth going out of your comfort zone and testing your boundaries in that sense. The reward is so great.”