I’ve been home almost an entire week, and I still haven’t fully processed it. It feels so surreal… suddenly there are no more beaches, no more crammed van rides, no more services at ABF or PRC… no more spending my days with the Next Steps crew. I can tell that I’m no longer running on island time because I’ve yet to find the time to update my blog since I’ve gotten back due to my already crazy schedule. Plus, the jet lag isn’t helping with that.

The last two weeks in Guam feel like they happened ages ago. I know I didn’t do an update for them, but I couldn’t help but soak up every minute of our time. Our activities ranged from prayer walks and work days to beach visits and last minute shopping. We were blessed to also be able to have farewell Fiestas with both churches during our last weeks there. Surounded by my new family felt like home, and I left a piece of my heart nestled on the island of Guam.

When people ask me how the trip was, I find myself at a loss for words. How can I possibly explain such a life changing experience in just a few words? So to everyone who has asked, I’m incredibly sorry for my lame responses. I boarded the airplane there with many expectations, and none of them were met. No, they were torn up, thrown into the ocean, and replaced with something more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed. I came home a different person. Through the classroom sessions and hands on experience, I learned lessons about life and ministry that have revolutionized the way I see the World around me.

To all of the instructors: Thank you. I cannot imagine the countless hours that went into preparing the lessons for this trip. While some mornings we barely dragged our tired selves into the conference room, you were always there and ready to pour into us. Your wisdom, experience, and humor helped create a better version of me. Although I may have been quiet, I was soaking up every word. Thank you for the sacrifice of your time and energy to mold our group of 14 people into better servants for the Kingdom. Your passion for souls rubbed off on me and I desire to be able to follow God’s path and trust in him in a similar manner to you. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to the Kingdom of God; you have forever changed my life.

To the churches in Guam: I came expecting to be a blessing, but instead was blessed incredibly by all of you. The love and kindness that the Next Steps team received by you cannot be topped- I mean, you fed us how many times?? 🙂 Instantly we were accepted into your arms and we now have a family across the ocean. I don’t know when I will see you again, but trust that you will forever be in my heart and prayers. The way that you reach out to the people of Guam and show Christ through your attitude and actions was inspiring to me. I hope that we left a portion of the impact on your lives that you left on ours.

To my fellow Next Steppers: Where do I even begin? Let me just say that I’m a very introverted person; I simply don’t make friends easily. However, I now have 13 people that I know I can reach out to at any time. Throughout the course of this trip, each one of you touched my life in a distinct and unforgettable way. Somehow, you pulled me out of my shell and made me feel at home. Although we are all incredibly different, we were able to pull together and create a small family that won’t ever be forgotten. I miss waking up in Aqua Suites knowing that each of you are just a short way down the hall. I know the journey to make this trip wasn’t easy for any of us- but I’m so thankful that each of you made it. With each personality was a unique and inspiring quality that our team needed. I want all of you to know that I believe in you and I can’t wait to see where your path and ministry lead you. Never forget that no matter where we find ourselves on this world, that you can always call me if you need a friend. I’m praying for each and every one of your lives; don’t forget to trust God through every step, even if it doesn’t add up at the time. I love you guys!

Elizabeth Pittman