Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I wonder when the time will come when I will be able to write briefly about a mission trip in just one blog post or if the time will ever come when I get back from a mission trip and never write about it at all? For now I can't see this ever getting "old" or ever becoming mundane enough for me to stop writing about it. I don't ever see this becoming just another job or something I dread or something not worth talking about. I'm sorry for such long back to back posts, but I'm really trying to get all of this out while it's still fresh in my mind and as quickly as possible because starting tomorrow I am back at it again...working on details for the December trip, trying to figure things out for 2010, preparing to speak twice in a week in early November...including on Orphan Sunday and every thing else that goes along with all of this.

I wasn't going to write a post like this, but what the heck. I'm sitting here tonight with Casting Crowns "Until the Whole World Hears" blaring in my ears and really missing the women that I didn't know before the trip (with the exception of one), but that are now friends. Readjusting after a mission trip isn't easy for me. I wonder if that is something that will ever change, too?

Someone asked me today how I think the trip went overall and if I am happy with the way things went. I was thrilled to be able to answer the question the way I did.

Overall, I think the trip was incredible. For a first mission trip with multiple things taking place, I honestly do not think it could have gone much better. There were some kinks and a few bumps in the road, but nothing that was too bad to deal with and whatever couldn't be fixed, we worked around it. I am so happy with the way most things went. In the end, we did what we went to Guatemala to do this time.

Throughout the trip, I kept being reminded of two things and what I felt every time that these came to my heart is probably what I will remember most from the trip (other than simply being there and serving)...

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations..." Ephesians 3: 20-21


"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another..." Hebrews 10: 23 - 25

It was Ephesians 3: 20 - 21 that I thought about as I stood crying in the middle of the road in Pueblo Nuevo last Tuesday morning. I was so nervous about all that was about to take place. I had no idea how we had gotten to that point and no idea how we were going to work through it. What was I doing? Was I really standing in the middle of a village in Guatemala about to watch our first actual project take place? I have never wanted to try to turn villages like Pueblo Nuevo into something comparable to the way we live in the U.S. The lives they live ARE their lives. They know no other way. They do not want mansions, SUVS, TVS that take up entire walls and purses that cost the equivalent of a house note..because many of them do not even know all of that exists. We aren't there for that. What we are there for is to make sure that they have what they need to survive, to make sure that their children do not become orphans and if they do, that they are cared for, to help them find ways to support their families so that we do not always need to be there and to make sure that education becomes a priority. We are there to love them and to give more of ourselves than we will ever receive back. And we are there to make sure that they have the hope that can only be found in Christ. Some have said that I want to do too much...that we can't do orphan care AND orphan prevention...that we can't do humanitarian aid AND actual missions work...that we can't "help them all". I have spent too much of the last year being discouraged by the opinions of others. They are right. We cannot do it all. I am constantly overwhelmed by all that I know our family has to do not just in Guatemala, but others countries around the world. We can't do this. But I know and have always known just what He reminded me of last week. He can do more than all we ask or imagine. For some reason He has chosen to use our family for His glory in Guatemala and wherever else He sends us. I don't understand it...I never will. But if he chooses to use us to show others that He can do it all...that when He calls you to something, He will make sure His work is done...so be it. To Him be the glory. So as I stood there wondering how we are supposed to do all of this and how to do it gracefully, I had to let it all go. Again. Because I can do nothing...we can do nothing. It isn't about us and we certainly do not deserve the credit for any thing that takes place. He is the one doing more than we could ask for or imagine. During this trip, He did do it all...during this trip, He used each of us as humanitarians AND missionaries for orphans AND other vulnerable children and families. He amazes me. Because His hand is all over this, we have no reason to fear or wonder how anything will get done.

But even before all of that and through the days that followed, I was reminded constantly of Hebrews 10: 23-25. Our team, to put it mildly, rocked! There were times when I stopped what I was doing just to stand back and watch them work. Every one of them was there for a reason and every one of them served their purpose for the week, I'm sure. We may have seen Jesus in the eyes of every child we met last week, but I am certain that every child that looked into the eyes of these women also saw Him. From them there were no complaints, no hesitation, no negativity and not one harsh word spoken (that I heard, anyway) about any of the others. There was only constant encouragement to every other person on our team and to those around us. They were quick to spur each other and me on toward love and good deeds. Never did I expect to see and receive such encouragement from a team of women that had never met before and I am so, so blessed to have been able to spend this time with each of them. I am not sure of much, but I am sure that this team came together perfectly because of Him. These women are LIVING IT and I am so encouraged by the works that they did and the words that they spoke last week. I just have to say it....I love y'all! :)

I'm kind of sad that this trip is over. Everyone knows that leaving Guatemala is more than difficult for me. But I will be back in Guatemala in just 7 weeks and with all that has to be done before then, I am sure the time will pass quickly. The countdown begins now... :)

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