Six years ago, I went on my first mission trip to Toluca, Mexico as a Youth Minister Intern’s wife and had been forever changed. I longed for the time to return again, but then the babies came, and my world travel was put on hold. Until now. Our three children are now old enough to share a week of their mommy and daddy’s time with others. My plane ticket has been bought, and my passport application is in the mail, Nicaragua Mission Trip, here I come!
The decision to go has been such a hard one. Honestly, it took my husband looking at me with pleading eyes and saying, “I need my wife there by my side.” that lit the fire in my soul again. The fire went out long ago when I forgot how important the mission was. I would pat myself on the back for surviving a week or so home alone tending to the home and the kids, as my husband shared the gospel in a foreign land. I was ok that I could not go. I got comfortable earnestly praying for the mission to be successful in the comforts of my large bedroom with my sweet children tucked in and “safe”. The calling for me to personally go abroad to share my faith has been muffled by the comfortable daily routine in which I am wrapped up in. Most of my prayers for this trip have been so self centered that I have become swallowed up by them and have already lost sight of why I am going in the first place.
I am being tempted to worry. I am being tempted to fill my prayers with ramblings and repetitions of weak faith, when I should be praying about the mission itself. I am worrying about the plane crashing and leaving my children as orphans, getting gravely ill, or my children being involved in some horrific car accident that could have been prevented if I would have just stayed home. Just the other night, I woke up feeling the need to write out a living will…just in case. The need to worry has choked out desire to serve my God. But…I am repenting, daily, for my lack of faith.
As Jake and I sat down with our friends the Goads to map out the trip and go over our mission there, I got excited, really excited. Jake and Dale orchestrated this wonderful plan to go to Nicaragua and BE those spoken of in Matthew 25: 35-40 which states,
“35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
During the seven days of our mission, we will focus on each part of this passage in several small villages in Nicaragua. We are going to distribute meal packages to the hungry, set up water purifiers for cleaner drinking water, host a cookout and devotional time for a neighborhood, bring clothes to the orphans we support, and visit a children’s cancer wing in a local hospital bearing toiletries, tutus for the little girls, and super hero capes for the little boys. We will visit a prison and give the prisoners toiletries and Bibles. We will also host a graduating banquet for graduating students of the Bible Institute of Central America and present them with their own Bibles to be used to spread the gospel. Yep, this got me excited.
I have been mulling over this passage (Matthew 25:35-40) and the parable of the talents above it, and the separation of the sheep and the goats after it. I want to invest my talents like the servant in the parable of the talents, and I want to be a sheep on judgment day. I realize that I cannot be these things by worrying about my “life affairs”. These passages have convicted me all the more that God is control and He has a task for me and he wants all of me to complete the task.
So why am I rambling about this? I am convicted that God needs us to do His work, and most of the time, we simply will not move due to the fear of loosing our comforts here on this earth. Jesus told us following him would not be easy, and we would have to sacrifice for the sacrifice. Are you ready to sacrifice? Maybe this means digging into the word and really studying the passages you avoided because it interfered with your lifestyle. Maybe this means digging deeper into your bank account to give until it hurts. Maybe the sacrifice is a mission trip, an outreach project, or giving up friends, family, or a job. For me the sacrifice is leaving my children in capable hands so I can tend to the needs of strangers in another country. For me the sacrifice is letting go and letting God. It means having faith that whatever this trip brings, good or bad, that God is good and He always has a plan. Pray for me, and pray for this mission. Pray that I keep the worry out, and let God do His thing (Jeremiah 32:27). Pray that the mission team will have success in bringing more sheep to the kingdom. Pray for our conviction to shine through in the work that we will be doing, and that we will be a light to those spoken of in Matthew 25.