Countdown: 7 Days to Rome

Journey McCalister, BMC
June 5, 2017

Journey McCalister with pumpkins

“Shout it. Go on and scream it from the mountains. Go on and tell it to the masses…that He is God.”*

I was at the lake with my family in early September when a good friend of mine messaged me suggesting I consider doing summer missions outside of the country. It read: “You know, I was thinking the other day about students that I thought would be a good fit as a summer missionary and you came to mind. I know you have a desire to see new places of the world and your love for people would make you a perfect fit. Just something to think about!” I did a double take… uh, me?

As our conversation continued back and forth about different locations and projects throughout the next few months, I began to realize that this was God’s will for my summer. One night, sitting on the porch with my mom in South Carolina, we discussed overseas missions and how I have felt a tug in my heart to do this for quite some time. Without hesitation, she said, “Journey, this is God. You don’t need to say no to this.”

I have only ever really been on one mission trip in my entire life and it was to Virginia to help work on a house for an elderly man who was not capable of doing it on his own. I was going into the eighth grade and viewed it as a vacation and a way to spend time with friends rather than as a way to serve the Lord. So when anyone asks me if I have ever been on a mission trip, my response is “Mentally, no.” The truth is I was going for selfish reasons, for the thrill of a summer trip… certainly not for the Lord.

Journey McCalister with friend

One night, while I was painting pumpkins for Halloween with my roommate (avoiding any studying I probably should’ve been doing), this same friend messaged me about an opportunity I might be interested in – in Italy. Tell me more!

All I could think was “Italy? Italy… Okay, Italy, I think I might can take you on.” As he spilled more and more information about this Italian endeavor, I knew this was “the one.” I applied for this specific opportunity within a week of hearing about it and waited for God’s answer. Fast-forward seven months and here I am preparing to leave the country for six weeks to tell the beautiful city of Rome about Jesus Christ.

Journey McCalister

Though I have been out of the country before, I have never traveled alone. I have a lot of anxiety and fear over flying.  I’m seriously hoping to be asleep and out of it throughout the long flights. My first plane leaves Memphis and heads to Chicago, bright and early next Tuesday morning. From Chicago, I will say “so long” (or should I say “Ciao”) to the United States for the whole summer.

With a lot of excitement and a bit of fear, I humbly ask for your prayers as I go on this extravagant journey (no pun intended). As of right now, I am extremely worried about my flights and the plane ride to Rome. I have had one terrifying experience on a flight from Germany and ever since then… whew. Once I get to Rome, I know I will have to constantly remind myself that this is God’s work and I shouldn’t have an ounce of fear, though I know it will creep up on me. God is and will be with me. I also ask that you pray for my fellow mission partners and me as we reach out to the Italian community. I am certainly not an expert on what to say or how to say it, but I do know saying what’s in my heart and Who lives inside me is most likely closer to right than wrong.

*Lyrics from “All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters