Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Reason NOT to Go on Mission Trips

As you know, if you read my last 2 blog posts, I just went to the Bill Glass Weekend of Champions in Huntsville, TX, last weekend. Last night at church I saw one of my friends from the trip. We chatted only very briefly but she told me she had a conversation with the lady who planned our trip (and then got sick and could not go) about what to do now. Bascially she said something like this, "I can't go down there (to the jail in Houston) and spend 2 days then leave and say, 'see you next year.'" And then she said, "See, this is why I don't go on mission trips." She was kidding (I think) but completely got to the heart of the purpose of mission trips. Oh yeah, of course the purpose of mission trips is to share the Gospel with those that desperately need to hear as well as show the love of God in visible, tangible ways. That's the impact mission trip participants have on those they go to. But, the dual purpose is what God does in the lives and hearts of the mission trip participants. When you go and come back, you come back changed.

I remember when I went on my first overseas mission trip. Even though I have travelled some for tours and vacations, it was nothing like going and sharing life with believers in a South American country. Eating what they eat. Worshipping like they worship, even if I didn't understand the language. Hearing their struggles and their joys. Hearing how God is calling them to fulfill His mission and seeing that in action. I was hooked. Me, the biggest homebody ever, was hooked. One of the greatest thrills of my life is to take people places they have never been to do things they've never done. Maybe they even wondered if they were capable. I am so glad we don't go in our own strength or talent.

So, here's the deal, do NOT go on a misison trip if you don't want your life to be forever changed. If you are content with living your life seeing the world from your comfortable perspective, don't go. If you don't want to know what's actually going on in the world, don't go. If you don't want to have the joy of telling someone about Jesus who has never even heard His name, don't go. If you don't want to be stretched out of your comfort zone or ability, don't go. If you don't want to come home and wonder what you can do to make an impact not only on unreached and hurting people around the world but also in your own city and neighborhood, don't go. If you think Christ's command to go and tell was not meant for you then, by all means, don't go.

However, if you take Jesus at His Word, then go. If you are willing to risk what He might do in you and through you, then go. If you are willing to take a step of faith and even take the risk of being forever changed, then please, I beg you, go.

I know it's asking a lot. I know it's a lot of money. I know it might mean taking vacation time from work or leaving your children. I know it might be hard and the food might be awful and you won't know the language. I know it might even seem dangerous. I know and I get it. Would you at least pray about it? No, no, I mean REALLY pray about it? Would you seek God's Word about it? If yes, then let me know how I can pray with you and for you. Let me know how I can help.

If God's not calling you to go, then don't go. Just find out for sure if He is or not. That's all.

Serving the King,


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Five Days

Yesterday I got back from a truly exhausting 5 days - first, to the prison event and then home for only 17 hours and then to Shawnee, Oklahoma, for a college visit. The exhaustion is mostly emotional, I think. I spent 2 days in Harris County Jail talking to inmates, precious women who just happened to make some really bad choices. One woman, whom I spent several hours talking to, and I really have a lot in common. We both have 3 kids and have spent years primarily being mommas. She told me she has been to Women of Faith and has even done a Beth Moore Bible study. She just got off track somewhere along the way. We spent a lot of time talking about the Bible. She reads it a lot because she has lots of time to do that right now. We exchanged information and she promised to write me to let me know what she thinks about some books of the OT I suggested she read. I hope she writes and I hope I am diligent to write back.

We got home about 9 pm on Saturday and on Sunday my cousin and her family were at our church. My cousin's daughter is a missionary and she was there to help promote missions in general as well as summer trips. We have not had too many people from our extended families come to our church so it was a rare privilege for me. It really, really meant more to me than I thought it would. We went to lunch with my cousin's family and our missions committee and then Jessica and I left to head up to Shawnee. She spent the night in the dorm with some girls, went to class & chapel, and attended some other pre-college events. I, of course, attended the parent-of-almost-college-student events. We talked at lunch before we headed home on Monday. She told me that spending the night in the dorm made her realize, a little bit, what it might be to live 3 1/2 hours from home. Then she told me she would miss me the most. I don't know if she would want me to write that or not but it when she said it I asked her about some other people she would miss. But, me the most. I held it all together really great the entire time we were gone until we got about 20 minutes from our house. She was driving my car and listening to some country music. A song came on about a dad and his daughter. Part of the chorus contains these words, "There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you, baby, goodbye." That was it. I lost it. She had to move to the next song.

In the meantime, my firstborn turned 21 just last week. And, we are working on driver's ed with #3. Jacob will have his license and be out and about on his own before summer. It is the strangest thing. I want them to grow up and be successful and have great adult lives and yet I want to hang on so tightly.

So, I'm worn out. Five days of intense emotion. Five days away from my haven, my home. Five days of being extremely thankful for where I am and all that God has done and is doing in my life and in the life of my immediate and extended family, including my church family. Five days away from my man. Five days jam-packed with activity and going and doing - I travelled over 1,000 miles in five days.

But, today, ahhhhh today. I'm working from home and I have a sick kid upstairs asleep. It's quiet except the dog is unusually antsy. Today I feel peaceful. And beyond thankful. And blessed, unbelievably blessed.

Serving the King,