As we began our descent into Tegucigalpa, Honduras, we passed over the roofs of shanties, saw the laundry hanging on the lines, and the streets that the missionary from One Collective described as like a plate of spaghetti. Trips like this one forever changed how I viewed missions, people, and ministry. Now, almost five years later, I am a Digital Engagement and Disciple-Making Coordinator with WorldVenture wanting to help others know that life-changing experience of serving. One of the ways to experience God at work in the world is to become a Pathfinder.
Pathfinders is a 4 week to 1-year volunteer program focused on growing the kingdom of God, both in the life of the Pathfinder and in the locations where they serve. Hannah Perry served as a Pathfinder in Bolivia, South America (2019). She lived with a Bolivian family and worked at a Christian-run medical clinic. The medical clinic gives free or low-cost care. At the time of this interview (2019), Hannah completed her third year of nursing school and knew Spanish. While in Bolivia, Hannah took Spanish lessons from a professor.
“I’ve had a passion for South America since I was 10 when a missionary from Peru came to speak at my AWANA program. The Traveling Team got me in contact with WorldVenture, and they told me about the opportunity to go to Bolivia. I am studying nursing, so I was praying for an opportunity to be able to use what I was learning in school, as well as being able to serve with the missionaries there.” Hannah worked alongside nurses and doctors, even participated in a surgery. “Many times, I would be asked why I would come all that way to spend the summer volunteering in a hospital, and so through that, I was able to share what I believed, and talk to them about Christ.”
Kori Kropp journeyed to Cote d’Ivoire, Africa some years ago as a Pathfinder. “I came to Ferkessedougou, Cote d’Ivoire because I wanted to help. I am a nurse and love to help anyone and everyone. I thought I could come to this small, rural hospital and do some good. Little did I know that the year of prep and the month there would do me more good than I can ever reciprocate.” She describes herself as a type A personality who loves to prepare in order to overcome anxiety and insecurity. Before leaving for Cote d’Ivoire, Kori read, Know Before You Go by Gary Miller. While away in West Africa, she kept a private journal and wrote:
“God gave his son to cover our sins so that we would have eternal life in heaven. Anything else is just an add on, an extra blessing. God made me just as I am. He sent me just as I am. If I’m good enough for him, I should certainly be good enough for me.” Kori wrote. “I always struggled to be the best at everything my whole life. If I wasn’t the best, I felt like I was nothing. My mission humbled me. It helped me to see that God loves me just as I am, where I am. I don’t know how many times I had to remind myself to breathe; you can do this because God’s doing it!”
During her time in West Africa, Kori learned the importance of community. “It was amazing to witness and pray together. These women drove miles from their villages down unmaintained dirt roads with huge potholes…It was inspiring to see their level of dedication, discipleship, and friendship.”
Becoming a Pathfinder or going on a short-term mission trip can change your life. Like Kori, it is a great idea to keep a journal of your experiences. Slipped in between the pages of my personal journal while in Honduras are money, a leaf, and other odds and ends to remind me of what a catalyst the trip was in my life. Like Kori and Hannah, your experiences with our missionaries, surrounded by the people they serve can forever alter the way you see things, the way you pray, or even the way you work; perhaps it may even impact your future career or help you see what God is doing through our missionaries around the globe.
To learn more, click here. We have several opportunities available to people wanting to become difference makers. Pathfinder internships are individualized opportunities that match your gifts and passions with real needs as you come alongside and learn from WorldVenture missionaries. As a Pathfinder you’ll gain experience in cross-cultural ministry and an opportunity to uniquely contribute to the growth of the church.