We’re ecstatic to have Kaylee Ekstrom sharing her AYC experiences with us today. Over the summer, Kaylee joined a group of AYCers determined to make a positive difference in Washington D.C.
BtC: Thanks for talking to us today, Kaylee. Tell us what made you decide to take this trip.
Kaylee: Many of my youth group have gone on AYC trips, and from their stories and shared memories, I felt a pressing need to see what AYC was all about. I checked out AYC‘s destination list, and thought, You know what, why not go on an AYC trip? I jump to take any opportunity that lets me connect with and meet young people of our faith. I figured that getting involved with AYC would not only be a great way to get involved in missions work, but also a great time and place to meet other Apostolic young people.
BtC: What were your group’s goals for your time spent in Washington, D.C.?
Kaylee: We wanted to connect with and minister to as many people as we could. Our goal was to plant as many seeds as possible so that the local church could continue to build these relationships after we were gone. Missions is all about growing the kingdom of God, and we do this by creating positive and loving relationships with the community.
BtC: While in D.C., what did a typical day look like for you?
Kaylee: Every morning our group would meet for breakfast. After breakfast we would make our way to the church where we would have a brief devotion that included prayer and worship. Each morning was dedicated primarily to outreach, and the afternoon was free for us to explore, connect with the group, and enjoy D.C. Two of the nights, we participated in group Bible studies with the local church. There, we spent a lot of time connecting with the pastor and his church.
BtC: How do you consider your D.C. experience life-changing?
Kaylee: This specific trip gave me a realization of how missions work is not just something overseas or across the country. It is in my own backyard. There are people in my own everyday life that need salvation. It has given me a love for the people in my city and a renewed purpose to walk as a light in my daily life.
BtC: Do you feel this trip helped you create any lifelong relationships?
Kaylee: I am still shocked at how fast I was able to build relationships with not only my fellow AYCers, but also the people that I ministered to in DC. The last night was incredibly heartbreaking because of how close each of us grew to each other. I can honestly say that I have built lifelong relationships with many of the people that I met. I believe that it was easy for each of us to connect because we are all like-minded young people of the same faith who have one ultimate goal of reaching the lost and bettering the kingdom of God.
BtC: Any advice for someone going on a missions trip for the first time?
Kaylee: Be open-minded as you embark on your adventure, wherever that may be. I found that as I arrived in D.C., I was somewhat close-minded: I had made assumptions about what would take place and about the people that I would be with. The quote “Never judge a book by it’s cover” rang so true on this trip because I was blown away by the testimonies and backgrounds of the people in my group. Yes, we may all look like we have it together, but inside we are all hurting and broken people who need Jesus just as much as anyone else.
BtC: Tell about one of your most powerful or memorable experiences from the trip.
Kaylee: I met a woman named Diana at one of the Bible studies, and we had a phenomenal conversation about seeking God and finding out the truth for ourselves. She informed me that she was not a “Christian,” but that she knew that there was something greater out there — that her soul was longing for more. I believe that God will continue to push and kneed that burden and longing she’s looking for; I have faith that one day she will accept the fullness of the truth. This trip also opened my eyes to the importance of staying broken and constantly seeking the Lord, because if not, we will become complacent and lukewarm.
BtC: Anything else you’d like to share about this trip?
Kaylee: AYC was an amazing experience, and I recommend it to all who can go! It will honestly change your life, and I know for a fact that God will place you on the trip that is meant for you. Each trip is different in various ways, but there is one thing that is always guaranteed: God will move, and He will do something great — not only in the lives of those that you minister to, but also in your life. You will come home refreshed, full of purpose and passion, and ready to win your world.
BtC: Before you go, is there any way others can get involved with these kinds of missions trips without physically going on one?
Kaylee: Any form of outreach is considered missions work. When you give of yourself to minister and reach the lost, you are being a missionary and doing what God has called you to do. I also firmly believe that the best way to be a witness is to be a holy and separated people who present themselves as a good example and light in this dark world. You can be a witness simply by living a holy and purified that is acceptable unto God.