Nathan, our director of marketing, recently did an interview with Kate Henson, who has been on several trips with Mission Discovery over the past few years. Here’s the first half of the interview. Read more to find out what a trip with Mission Discovery is like!
Nathan: Why don’t we just begin. You just tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kate: Alright, my name is Kate Henson, I am thirty-nine years old. I grew up in South Texas on a cattle ranch very close to a tiny town called Tivoli. Graduated from Texas A&M in 2002, Bachelor’s in environmental design in architecture. I’m married to Chad Henson, and I have two daughters, Madeline and Annalise, and they are ages 9 and 11. I am a photographer, and I am also a homeschool educator. So yeah, that’s it.
N: You just finished up at a church, didn’t you? You worked at a church for a number of years.
K: Right, I have just transitioned from being on staff at a community church. I was the assistant to the student pastor there, so I’ve been working with students and the ministry for about 2 ½-3 years
N: And you've been on tons of Mission Discovery trips, but what drew you to do missions?
K: Well I’d say that my first encounter with Mission Discovery was 4 years ago, but back in college I served in Mexico for a mission trip right across the border and it was my first encounter with what it meant to I guess go outside literally the boundaries of our country and serving others in need, and maybe that's probably where God kind of awakened my desire to serve. We were assisting in the building of a deaf school coincidently. And then I didn’t really go on many mission trips after that until Nathan Bryant invited me to come as a leader about 3 or 4 years ago on our trip to Rapid City in South Dakota with Mission Discovery.
N: What happened on the first trip that you were like, you said awakened you, what happened? Do you remember anything from there that was just like, wow, this makes a lot of sense?
K: So the Mexico trip, I think it’s just a realization of the need that existed outside of my world, and you know I grew up in a poor town but I never quite made the association with how much I truly had, and it never really clicked that there was something I could do for others in the way of service in that capacity, and so I took that trip and it was just very basic. I think you were building bricks out of mud. I hadn’t done that before. That was always done by the professionals back home. It wasn’t a hands-on thing. It was very basic, and I think it was like an “ah ha” moment of, man, there’s a lot of stuff I can do, and so it probably started there and then it was kind of rekindled in South Dakota and then again in Jamaica the following year for sure.
N: That’s a lot like me. I went on a trip to Uganda, and it was like, wow, I feel alive, and you come back home and it kind of wears out a little bit over time, but then you go again and it’s kind of like a reawakening. So, I think a lot of people experience that. It’s kind of like for me personally it’s been an important part of my development spiritually because, well obviously, I work at a missions organization now, but it just meant something so big to me I guess. I’ll always remember my first mission trip, it was amazing. So, you found Mission Discovery through Nathan Bryant, and I guess you were working for him at the time or no?
K: Well at the time of the first mission trip I was a volunteer, and it wasn’t until really my second mission trip that he invited me to go on with the youth that God said “I need you to be more involved and start working with the youth”, and so it was actually the mission trip to Jamaica that I felt God telling me that I needed to really start working, so to speak, for the church.
N: Yeah so, I was with you in Guatemala, and that was an incredible trip. It was our first time serving there because last minute the volcano erupted close to the city, so we couldn’t work where we were going to work. So, we had to do some back-up plans. We ended up in Solola. So, every night we do something called God sightings with Mission Discovery. It’s where you share where you’ve seen God working during the day. Do you have any of those things for us?
K: Yes! A God sighting that has been prevalent in every mission trip that I’ve served on is that it’s amazing to me that when we participants go outside of our bubbles, so to speak, and we go on these trips, we know what we’re supposed to do, it’s easy to, I guess, just hold on to the day-to-day idea of responsibilities that you have and distractions, but when we get there it seems like everyone begins to work together as a whole, as one body, and I think that without cellphones and the distractions that we have back home we’re filled with unity and joy. It’s just a beautiful sight to watch leaders come together and work together like that, and what was particularly amazing for me this last trip to Guatemala was that it was the first trip I went on as an individual and not with a group. My brother Fred joined me. Fred had never been on a mission trip so he’d never known how they work, and I was, to be honest, I was a little afraid of him feeling left out or not a part of the crowd, so to speak, and it’s amazing to me how God works through those environments, because from the moment we got there he made friends and they weren’t just your regular acquaintances, these were people from different cities that loved on him and showed him acceptance where he was in his faith, even Pedro from Eaglesnest. Like that was a God sighting there because he was just so grace filled and loving and kind, and so that in itself was another God sighting just seeing how everyone was able to support my brother in his faith walk and befriend him, and the whole was just, it was just an amazing week. So that’s one God sighting. Arizona was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before, and our students, there were probably 4 or 5 of them, had some incredible moments of witnessing God in that environment, and to be able to watch them step out of their comfort level in the way of engaging in conversation with individuals from the tribe that were hopeless and love on them. I mean we’re talking a 15-year-old freshman girl approaching an older woman who the night before had contemplated suicide, speaking love and truth into this woman’s life. That was incredible. And there were moments like that scattered throughout the week, but it was very encouraging for me to witness that occurring in the next generation, and it just goes to show that we serve a God that surpasses generations, and he’s the same God that He was at the beginning of time as He is today and He will be tomorrow, and I think it’s silly to assume that our generations are falling behind in the way of faith and Christianity, and we have a lot to learn just from their boldness of faith. So that was a definite God sighting for me. Witnessing their courage to step out and be bold and take a chance and trust God with the outcome. So that week was scattered with moments like that in Arizona.