“I felt called to missions when I was 12. It was just after my first Gateway ministry trip to Guatemala with my family. We served for nine days in San José and in a small mountain village where we laid a church foundation and raised its walls, dug trenches to drain sewage, and performed skits and sang with kids. Kids are my favorite! We met these local shoeshine boys and played soccer with them as much as we could. When I got home from Guatemala, I knew I had to do it again. It was amazing to see people from two completely different cultures speaking two different languages coming together to worship one God! It opened my eyes. I fell in love with going out and showing the love of God through mission work. Today, I’m 17 and have taken 4 more Gateway ministry trips. It’s required a lot of fundraising, but I’ve discovered people are really generous. I ask people to donate their unused stuff so I can hold garage sales to fund my mission work. Because of their generosity, I’ve delivered meals to HIV patients in San Francisco, handed out hygiene kits to the homeless in Shreveport, entertained kids in Costa Rica who don’t have the best home lives, and ministered door to door in South Africa’s squatter camps. My favorite part of serving is going door to door. I love going into communities and just talking with people. I find it so fulfilling to learn about their lives and pray for them.
I’ve been reading Pastor Robert’s book about the Holy Spirit, The God I Never Knew, and recently while I was in South Africa, I had quiet time every morning at sunrise. It was a special time learning what it means to have a daily devotion with the Holy Spirit and grow in the day to day with Him. The Lord talked to me a lot during that time and even gave me my own prayer language. He also affirmed my call to missions, which encouraged me to plan a gap year after I graduate to go serve on the mission field. I don’t have it all planned out yet, but I was just accepted to Gateway’s 2020 Mission Intensive: 10 young people serving for 10 weeks in El Salvador, Japan, Kenya, France, and Israel! The Lord knows my heart and has set my compass. I know by walking with Him, I’m headed wherever He needs me next.” Eli and his family have been attending the NRH Campus since 2004.