Serving with a Smile

Cheyanne was in eighth grade when she first came to JAARS on a mission trip with her school, Smithtown Christian, from New York. Her older brother had been to JAARS on previous mission trips and told her what an amazing time he’d had.

On that first trip to JAARS, Cheyanne had a lot to learn; she didn’t want to do any work. “I would make up excuses. I was young and had never experienced that type of work—physical labor—before,” she recalls.

Cheyanne (front left) with friends at dinner

Yet…Cheyanne came back to JAARS the following year; she didn’t want to miss out on the encouraging environment and fellowship she had experienced. And, as she kept returning, year after year, God used her experiences at JAARS to change her attitude about life and work.

The Lord opened her eyes to the privilege she had to help and serve the missions workers at JAARS and those they served. “Now I love to serve,” Cheyanne explains. “I just get such joy helping others. I guess it’s just how God made me.”

When the students returned from these trips, their leaders often told them, “You’re so different. You’ve changed in a good way.” Since the students aren’t allowed to use their phones while serving at JAARS, they gain a whole new perspective on life. “So many people come back filled with so much joy. It’s a great atmosphere,” Cheyanne says.

Working on a bridge at JAARS

Cheyanne recently learned about the impact of some of the projects she has worked on. During previous trips, she and her fellow students built huts in the woods behind JAARS, shingled them, and put up volleyball nets. She learned that youth groups and homeschool groups utilize these huts during their prayer walks at the event called CrossVenture. She also learned that youth groups and other kids from these events love using the volleyball nets that she and others worked so hard to erect. Her eyes lit up in joy and satisfaction as she comments, “I love seeing the progress that we’ve done with our own hands.”  

Before her first trip to JAARS, Cheyanne had never heard about the need for Bible translation before. When she heard about how many people still need God’s Word in their own language, her first thought was, ‘Are you serious?’ When she returned home, she looked at her Bible app with new appreciation, thinking, ‘This is amazing. I have such easy access to [Scripture] while there are so many people out there who don’t.’

Cheyenne and the rest of the group from Smithtown Christian School

Cheyanne recently returned to JAARS with 15 other students for the last time since she’ll be graduating high school in May. While here, she and the other students visited the International Media Services building. Cheyanne mentioned to a staff member that she wanted to go to college for art. The woman said that she too is an artist, and the two discussed the opportunities an artist might have in missions and JAARS.

Looking back at how God has used these trips to mold and mature her, Cheyanne says, “This experience [of serving at JAARS each year] is probably one of the reasons I am who I am today.”

What a privilege to see this young lady’s smile as she speaks of serving the Lord with her whole heart! Sign up for a mission trip to JAARS here. Who knows what God will do?

Rachel Greco