Broadneck Student Shares Missions Experience, Prepares To Serve On Third Trip


For the third year in a row, Broadneck High School (BHS) rising senior Abby Conlon is preparing to spend part of her summer serving those in need on a church-led mission trip.

In 2022, she went with fellow students and leaders from Bay Area Community Church (BACC) to Bluefield, West Virginia, to minister to underprivileged children through hosting a vacation Bible school (VBS). Though she only knew one other student on the team, she made friends quickly and was grateful to be an encouragement to local workers and impact the kids they served.

The following year, Abby and seven other high schoolers accompanied by four adult leaders traveled internationally to Kenya to partner with and encourage local missionaries through construction projects, distribution of supplies, hosting VBS and assisting medical personnel. Now, she is preparing for a third mission trip – to Belize – at the end of July.

Prior to the Kenya trip, Abby had left the country only once – on a school-sponsored chorus trip to Spain and Portugal two weeks before departing for Africa. “Obviously I was nervous, but I experienced more excitement going into it,” Abby said of traveling to a foreign country without her family. “I was taking the approach of, I don’t really know what I’m going to be doing, and that’s OK. Because some people stress a lot about missions – what’s happening, where are we going, details and stuff – but I kind of just knew that God was going to take care of it. … I tend to think of myself as very adventurous, so (I thought) this will be fun, and it really was. I loved it!”

Her reliance on God to orchestrate the details of the trip not only helped Abby as she served but also inspired her teammates. BACC Global Missions Pastor Shawn Hart, one of the leaders on the Kenya trip, said, “God used Abby’s positive attitude, high energy and willingness to say ‘yes’ to God to build strong unity on our team and encourage others to step out in faith.”

At times, Abby had to take big steps of faith herself, such as when she faced the daunting task of public speaking. Though she considered herself shy growing up, Abby noted there’s “no avoiding” talking in front of people on the mission field. “There was a (Bible) verse that I found maybe the week before I went (to Kenya). It was Luke 12:12 and it says, ‘For the Holy Spirit will in that time teach you what to say.’ So I really kept that with me, and it helped me a lot because I was like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what I say because God is going to speak through me,’” Abby said of her experience speaking overseas.

Though she was nervous about the language barrier when asked to pray for villagers through a translator, Abby said it went really well. Another day in Kenya, as she was preparing to publicly share her personal story – including how she is adopted – she was encouraged by a timely text message from her birth mother who said she was praying for Abby’s mission trip.

Now, she and her teammates are preparing to serve children and families in need alongside local missionaries in Belize the last week of July. They will again host a VBS, distribute food, pray with people and meet practical needs. To get ready, the young missions team members have been meeting with leaders to work through a book that teaches them about culture shock, sharing their personal stories, navigating team dynamics and more. Abby and her teammates have also been fundraising to cover the costs of the trip. Abby noted an important aspect of preparing for the mission field for her is focusing on her relationship with God so her heart is ready for the ministry work ahead.

Throughout her time as a student at Broadneck, Abby has been highly involved in sports and extracurriculars as well. She participated in dance company and cross country her freshman and sophomore years, and she did cheerleading for the first time as a junior. Abby has been in four musicals during her three years at BHS and has participated in unified dance alongside students with disabilities as well.

Abby also serves as a student leader for FCA, or Fellowship of Christian Athletes, at Broadneck, where she helps plan various elements of weekly meetings such as scripture selection and speakers, and regular events. At church, she volunteers her time in both children’s and student ministry environments.

“Throughout missions and my serving, I’ve really realized how good God can be to me, and it’s not even what he does but just who he is,” Abby said, reflecting on what she has learned through these opportunities. “Another way I feel like God has changed me is through leadership, specifically through FCA but also through missions. I never pictured myself as a leader, but God’s called me toward leadership roles, and that’s just been a really cool thing – how God can change who you are if you let him.”


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