Originally intending to pursue the military after high school – to which she was accepted – Goudey is now preparing to leave for five months in Mexico to carry out missionary work instead.
This, she says, is the path she was really meant to be on.
She departs Sept. 26 for a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) mission trip to Mazatlan, Mexico. While there she will be volunteering around the community, attending school and learning about God. The last two months of her journey – which she’ll only find out about in about two months time – will involve being sent on an outreach trip to a part of the world to again volunteer in communities as needed and to make God known. She wonders if she might be sent to an area recently affected by devastating hurricanes.
Months ago Goudey was certain she’d be going into the military. She had been accepted, was going to pursue her education, was hoping to get into social work, while also having to serve some infantry.
“I got the acceptance letter saying ‘Congratulations,’ I’d been so excited to do military for the past few months and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she says.
So then why, she wondered, wasn’t she as excited as she should be?
A while ago the teenager had started going to church after her parents divorced. She says at the time she wasn’t in the happiest place she needed to be in. She’d talked to friends, counselors. Her nan finally said, let’s go to church.
“It didn’t mean a whole lot and then one day it just clicked and I was like, oh my goodness. I think a lot of people, when they come to church and come into religion, it’s like a life altering thing. And that is what had happened for me,” she says.
While volunteering for a church event she met someone active in the church who had done missionary work. Goudey shared that this was something she was interested in as well. In her Grade 11 year she had been part of a two-week youth mission trip to Campeche, Mexico where for two weeks she and others were immersed in the culture and volunteered in the community. It was a life-changing experience, she says.
“The path that I’ve taken now, following in God’s footsteps, I’ve completely changed,” Goudey says. “I had that trip. I’ve had the experience. I’m a completely happy person. I’m constantly looking at the upside of life and that everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in that and that God has a plan for us.”
Her friend from Wesleyan Church got her in touch with a Christian mission organization, and for the past few months Goudey has been fundraising for her upcoming trip. She’s been aiming to raise $10,000 to help with airfare to and from Mexico, to and from her outreach mission, and to help with schooling and other expenses over the next five months.
“I’m very excited to go for the five months. I know once again I’m going to come back a changed person,” she says.
And it’s the polar opposite of what she expected. After all, there’s not much money to be made through mission work. But the value, she says, is far greater.
“This whole experience has been about finding out who I am and doing it through volunteering. I can’t wait to meet the people I’m going to be volunteering with, and meeting the children and building the schools, and helping out.
“I think everyone thinks this isn’t going to be a one-time thing,” she says. “I hope it won’t be.”
Want to help Lauren?
If you would like to help Lauren Goudey with her fundraiser you can search her YWAM Mission page on GoFundMe.
You can also reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
She says people have already been very generous and for that she is very grateful.