Megan Auger spends five weeks with Reign Ministries
by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Megan Auger is a senior at Holdingford High School. She lives east of town and is a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Opole. She is a dedicated swimmer and runner.
But while serving with a ministry in Ireland, she was given a whole new view of her life — a solid foundation for her faith.
Auger has attended summer camp at Camp Lebanon near Upsala every summer since 2004. One year, a representative of Reign Ministries, based in Minneapolis, gave a talk.
“I got a brochure and while I was looking at it, my attention just stopped at the place about Ireland,” Auger said. “It felt right, and it had never gone out of the back of my mind since.”
Auger didn’t think about it for a couple of years, but would occasionally run across the brochure and think, “I’m going to do this someday.”
Last summer for about a week, “every time I turned the radio on, the announcer was talking about service and doing what God wanted,” she said.
Reign Ministries is a non-denominational Christian ministry specializing in short-term missions. It has sent more than 8,000 students to 60-plus nations for 30 years. Mission groups, called Royal Servants, are open to students who have completed seventh grade or are at least 13 years old.
Auger was able to start the application process in November, and in December she sent in her information. She found out just before Christmas that she was accepted.
“I had to write a support letter asking people to donate to my trip,” she said. “I sent about 70. Once someone has donated, they are part of the trip too.”
Family members, friends, local organizations, service clubs and church congregations all contributed. Auger herself contributed $250 toward the goal of $4,000.
“Reign suggested we earn money to donate for ourselves,” she said. “I worked at my grandparents’ resort in Motley and worked as a lifeguard here at the high school.”
Just two short weeks before leaving for the trip, Auger reached her goal by raising $4,005.
“We couldn’t bring more than 50 pounds, including our sleeping bag,” she said. “And it turned out that we only did laundry three times in five weeks.”
The first week of the trip was spent at a small camp in Wisconsin. There were nine teams with about 270 youths and a senior staff of about 100. The teams were preparing to go to Scotland, Ireland, Israel, Sierra Leone, Poland, China and Nepal.
“The only building was the administration building,” Auger said. “There was no plumbing and no air conditioning. We took bucket showers.”
It was a time of letting go of all material things, getting ready for the month ahead. Other team members, whom Auger had never met before, were from Oregon, California, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Maine and New Hampshire.
“We were making sure our hearts were ready and open; the summer ahead was going to be life-changing in our lives and others’ lives,” said Auger. “We were preparing for different cultures and preparing to defend our faith.”
Each team was divided into three groups, preparing presentations of dance, drama and puppets. The main focus of the mission trip was to go out in discipleship groups doing street ministry, vacation Bible schools and forming youth groups.
“We planned to go to the town squares and after the activities, to talk with bystanders,” she said. “People are very skeptical over there; they asked every single question our group leader said they would. I was a nervous wreck the first time we went out, but learned to respond better to their questions over time.”
Auger experienced how Northern Ireland has changed during the decades of conflict that have been a part of life there.
“The conflicts in Northern Ireland aren’t even about religion any more. It’s just about which ‘side’ people are on,” Auger said. “People are so skeptical of God’s existence. They go to church but they don’t practice their faith; they just go through the motions.”
The team’s first stop was in Derry-Londonderry, spending one and half weeks there. Then they moved north to Portrush, participating in a surfing ministry there.
“It’s run by people with a love of God and love for surfing,” said Auger. “I surfed four times.”
The team next went to Skerries in the Republic of Ireland, where Auger celebrated her birthday.
“I got the best birthday present ever, sharing my testimony with a group of 10 girls.”
Before returning to the United States, the team spent a week debriefing in the London suburb of Pinner.
“We had a week to step back,” Auger said. “I didn’t really realize how much I’d changed on the trip. We had discussions on how things might be different when we got home.”
Auger compares the trip to stepping out of reality for five weeks, then coming back to friends and family who haven’t changed. After life-changing experiences, she sees her life differently now.
“We’re so rushed here,”’ she said. “I realize how packed my schedule is, how I’ve set myself up for stress.”
One of the biggest things Auger took away from the trip was seeing how much God has given her.
“He will give you everything you need when he sees fit,” she said. “It’s a relief knowing that he’s in control and I don’t have to be. Everything is for a reason. He’s the author of my life and I’m not supposed to take the pen from him. Life is about finding the good in all circumstances.”