Lucy Beaton’s heart for mission was set ablaze when she was just 12 by the astonishing stories of committed Christian women who took the gospel to the world.
As she read about the lives of people like Corrie Ten Boom, Mary Slessor and Isobel Kuhn in 10 Girls Who Changed the World, her world changed too.
She said: “I wanted to become like these incredible women who so willingly gave their lives to God and to others, I remember feeling very much in awe of what they had done and from that moment I wanted to give my own life to serve God! “
It was just such a sentiment which inspired Serving In Mission’s founders and, just like Rowland Bingham back in the 1890s, it was a trip to Africa which confirmed Lucy’s heart for that continent.
She went with her family aged 13 – just after she’d read that inspiring book – and five years later, in the summer of 2017, she took advantage of the long summer break between A levels and university to go back, this time to Zambia on a Serving In Mission Explore trip.
Lucy said: “I had a few jitters and nerves about making the trip - it was the biggest thing I had ever done and even though I’d been on a mission trip before, the thought of not having my family with me was scary.
“But, even though I was nervous though, I honestly felt like God was with me every single step of the way! I was really nervous about flying, but I sat next to a girl on the plane who really put me at ease - she worked for the airline! On the way home I even met some missionaries who had worked in Zambia - they were so excited about what I had been doing.”
Lucy served alongside experienced mission workers at Mukinge Hill Academy, where she worked as a classroom assistant.
She said: “I was constantly reminded of just how amazing God is. I saw this through the incredible people I met - missionaries giving their lives to serve and local Christians some of whom were so wise and inspiring to listen to.“
Although Lucy was only in Zambia for a few weeks, she learnt a huge amount.
She said: “God taught me a lot about myself as a person and how I interact with others. Since I got back I think I have a much better understanding of my own personal strengths and weaknesses.
“I feel God opened this door for me with great reason - even after the short time I was in Zambia I feel that there may be a future for me in mission.”
Lucy has now started a three-year degree programme in London where she is studying nursing, but God has certainly placed mission on her heart.
She said: “Once I’ve done my degree and gained some experience, I would love to return to Africa for a longer stay.”