David Inglis mission to South America
Across Pacific Magazine

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Teen leaps into overseas mission

By Lavinia Ngatoko in Challenge Weekly, New Zealand

(ANS) -- David Inglis does not really know what to expect when he touches down in Argentina in a few months' time, but one thing he is certain of is that it will be a life-changing experience.

The 18-year-old from Tauranga, New Zealand, became a Christian just over two year's ago, and this short-term mission trip to the South American continent seems like the chance of a lifetime. 

David, who will leave the country on February 19 and return on September 16, is supported by Latin Link, an international community serving local churches throughout Latin America. 

Although he knows he will be involved in building projects and other ministry work, the trip is also very much a step of faith for him. 

"To be honest I have no idea what I'll really be doing," he admits. "But I started dreaming about 18 months ago of going overseas on a mission trip. There are lots of reasons for me wanting to go but one of the main ones is that I want to get impacted and challenged by God." 

David will spend two days in Chile, before flying to Peru for 10 days and then on to Argentina where he will be the only Kiwi working with a Latin Link team for four months.

For the next two months he expects to be pretty much left on his own, although he will still be under the auspices of Latin Link. 

"I will not be isolated but it will give me some experience and an idea of what being a missionary is all about."

David who has a younger brother and is the only Christian in his family, says his parents are "blown away," about his trip and are supporting and helping him with associated costs. 

He knows the experience will help him on his journey as a Christian - a journey he knows will not be easy.

David did not grow up with a belief in God. But his experience of the deaths - his grandfather died while sitting next to him when David was only about 14 and another friend died of cancer at a young age - stirred in him awareness that there was something after death.

One night in November, 2005, while sitting with a Christian friend chatting in his room, he recalls something appearing that they immediately knew was not of God. 

David says his friend cried out to God and they felt like a wind swept through the room. It seemed to sweep right through him. 

After that they sensed the presence of God.

The next day he went to church with his mate and then to the pastor's house where he gave his heart to the Lord. 

It was not all easy going from then on, as he continued to struggle with the desire to drink alcohol at parties, as he was so used to doing in the past. Like so many other youth around the country, getting together with friends for parties often meant getting on the booze.

But God got hold of him. 

WHOOPEE: Ready to take to leap onto the mission field is 18-year-old David Inglis of Tauranga.

"God told me not to drink."  

Now, he says, he has got to the stage where he knows he can still have fun without alcohol and he is relieved that he can still hang around with his old mates, and not succumb to these temptations. 

"I used to think it was a necessity for me to drink and have a good time. But I can have so much fun when I'm sober. I've got no problems with going to a party now because I feel comfortable with who I am and won't compromise myself. Most people at a party know that I'm a Christian and approach me about it and they actually open up." 

But David readily admits he has a long way to go as a Christian. 

No Hurdle is too high. Teenager David Inglis signs up for overseas mission.

An overseas missions experience means a chance to move into a completely different environment and to break away from the norm. He wants to gain new experiences and insights into different cultures and to share his experiences with people upon his return.  

He also hopes to see many miracles while over there.

For now though, David says his job as a child-care assistant at an after school and holiday care programme is the "greatest job" he could dream of having.  

At the time Challenge interviewed him he was excited about the chance to preach for the first time at his church (New Life Church Tauranga) the following Sunday. 

"I'm preaching about miracles. It's a bit nerve wracking, but I'm really expectant and I know God will show up." 

David believes he will return to South America in the future and does not rule out the possibility of missionary work in other countries.

"But I could be a missionary in New Zealand, in my own backyard."

Lavinia Ngatoko reports for Challenge Weekly, New Zealand's independent and non-denominational Christian newspaper.

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