MEET ALEXA BARTLETT: she left the comforts of home, committed to serve, and found a joy unlike any other.
What inspired you to serve alongside Nehemiah Teams?
I first heard about Nehemiah Teams through a friend at my church who had served with them twice before. Since I've desired to go into long-term overseas ministry since I was a child, I was looking into opportunities to spend a summer serving to get some experience. Knowing the heart of Nehemiah Teams, which is to share the Gospel "this generation, every nation," and how well they equip their teams, I knew this would be a great opportunity for me as an eighteen-year-old looking for overseas ministry experience. After my first summer, I was even more confident in the organization and went two more summers serving with them.
What was one fear or hesitation you had when preparing for your first trip, and how did the Lord help you overcome it?
My greatest fear was being apart from my family and friends. Growing up, I was very close to my family. I was homeschooled from second grade on, and while my family made sure I had varied experiences, went to camp, and even served on a two-week overseas mission trip, those trips were shorter, and I was surrounded by people I already knew. In my case, I knew no one else on my team before meeting them that summer. Additionally, we could not call internationally more than once a week except for emergencies, so I was limited in contact home.
My first week away, my father sent me a video of my sister leading worship, and I cried my eyes out. I felt that I could only miss them more, not less. But as the summer went on, a few of my teammates become some of my best friends even to this day, years later, and I began to develop a sense of family among my teammates and new friends where I was. Near the end of my summer, the Lord blessed me when my brother, who was on a two-week trip with my church, happened to travel through the village I was living in, and I got to have lunch with my brother in a place that was becoming increasingly important to me but which I thought no one else in my family would ever get to see. It helped me put into perspective how important my family is to me, but the Lord is my sustainer, not them. He will provide the comfort a I need in the ways He deems good.
What has serving internationally taught you about love?
Serving internationally was taught me that love can be developed much more quickly and easily than you would think. Many of us feel that love takes a great effort and a lot of time to build, and while it may take effort, I think I now realize that it is nearly impossible not to love the people you serve or the people you serve alongside. You might disagree with them, but they become too much like a family not to love them.
What did you learn through fundraising for your trips?
I learned the power of God, prayer, and the community of Christ followers while fundraising! People are truly very generous, and generosity is contagious! I feel that my experience fundraising has created a greater willingness to give to others who are fundraising and that I find a greater joy in giving after knowing what it felt like to receive.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about serving others?
Serving others always creates an eve-increasing desire to serve. If you find it "difficult" but know you are being called to it, just do it! In the midst of it, you will find the ability and the joy. Our flesh is selfish, but our soul delights in service. It is one of the greatest joys to be able to serve others!