Monday Madness: Ecuador Mission Trip Hiatus


 Take a Risk!

Guest Blogger: Tori O’Brien

Our regular Monday blogger, Addi, is on a mission trip in Ecuador for her Spring Break! Be sure to check in next week, when she is back and, I’m sure, will have a great blog (maybe even about her trip)! 

I have the privilege of guest blogging and wanted to tell you about Addi as an inspiration and her decision to go on this Mission Trip to Ecuador! In true Addi Style, we will start out with this:

A Life Tip: Take Risks Sometimes!Train tracks hike

Now, i’m not talking about risks that could be detrimental to yourself or others like jumping off a bridge or setting yourself on fire (Fire Challenge = dumb idea). However, Addi wasn’t so sure about going on this Mission Trip. She has never been out of the country without her family and it would be with people she didn’t really know. She would be in a strange place and not really speak the language. She also was not really sure how she could be of any use in the people there. It was a very uncomfortable outlook.  Most times we tend to shy away from things that are uncomfortable or out of our comfort zones. However, Addi spent some concentrated time in prayer and decision weighing and finally chose to take the risk into the unknown of people, culture, and helping in a foreign country.

Once, she decided to jump on this bandwagon of risk, she had to raise all her funding to go! Another huge unknown and risk. What if she made this emotional commitment and then didn’t raise it all? What if she planned and put things in place to go and then fell short of her financial goal? What if she wasn’t able to do it? (Well, it’s a good thing it wasn’t all about her and her abilities). The biggest thing was she left her faith in the Lord AND TOOK THE RISK! She sent out letters and talked with people and she raised ALL her support (and more I think) faster than anyone else on her Mission Trip team! Talk about awesome! She took the risk and it was a success. Now, she is on a trip that will change her and hopefully those she is serving for a lifetime.

It all started with Taking a Risk! But, it would be good to have some guidelines in deciding where, when, and what risks to take. This article from Psychology Today by Dr. Alex Lickerman gives us some key insights on how to make (or not make) risky decisions.

He says: “What we really need is a systematic way to sort through the risks and benefits of a choice that incorporates our personal values in order to make choices that give us the best chance to obtain the best outcomes for us.”

1. Identify the Probability of Each Risk – (quantify and write it down – it makes it more tangible, same as when you write your thoughts down in a journal – perspective can change when something goes from brain to paper).

2. Identify the Significance of Each Risk

  • Subjective – people have different levels of risk tolerance. To figure this out compare the thing to the riskiest thing you currently do in your life and see where it falls (this can also be done with percentages for the numbers gurus out there).
  • Objective – the likelihood of certain risks have been studied and are known (i.e. the side effects of drugs); note these.
  • Relative – potential benefits may outweigh the risks in one decision and not in another. Make a chart for this and put an importance rating to each benefit or non-benefit of the risk.
  • Absolute – even if you’re willing to risk your life it still remains your most precise possession regardless of the benefit that risking it may bring – giving part of your liver to save your child may just trump everything.

In the end, make sure you take into account your gut feeling. I’ve at times with big risk decisions that are pretty even on both sides completed this exercise: wake up and decide one way then live and think through the day as though that is the decision you made. I might do this for two days with a particular choice and then evaluate how it feels. This may be enough to know the answer OR you might need to do the same exercise for the other option and see how that feels. This is the way my gut often talks to me and helps me process through or weighs in on the decision. Be sure to count-in your gut feeling whether you follow it or not.Risks quote image

Risks don’t have to be major all the time. Some risks may look like these things in your life:

  • Trying a new recipe in the kitchen
  • Trying a new activity with the family this weekend
  • Trying a new system for your child with a learning challenge
  • Taking a new job with some unknowns mixed in
  • Putting money into a new hobby, house, business venture, you’re not sure will work out or you’ll be good at

Whatever the scenario big or small (non-detrimental and non life-threatening) risk, consider going for it!

Let us know what risk might be tapping you on the shoulder. Are you gonna take it?

  1. Addi Iken
    Addi Iken04-05-2015

    Hey Tori!
    Thanks so much for writing this! This was a huge encouragement for me to read and it inspired me still even after my Ecuador trip. I also love how straight up and not afraid you are to write about faith and God/Jesus. You are so sweet and you are right-on!
    I miss you so much and hope everything is going well in California. You rock!

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