Belize 2 Mission Trip, November 7-11, 2013

This was my first mission trip. I was not dreading it, but was not necessarily filled with excitement either.  It is hard to tie up loose ends at home and look forward to what you do not know… but I had an expectation that I would see God working and would be available in a new way for Him to show me new things.

Upon return, I had this strange sensation of crowded memories, like tangled strings still attached:

Warm “God bless you” hugs, lively, helpful, beautiful children, heat that saturates, radiates and exhausts, air that was heavy and sweet, rain, mud, rain, light rain, heavy rain, pounding, soaking, stinging rain… and a rainbow of promise.  Fire ants, morning traffic, bicycles, friendly people on the streets, children in crisp, clean, uniforms picking through the mud on way to school, ancient ruins, 84 degree water with fish of every kind in startling color, stingrays coming like dogs to a dinner bell and gliding amongst us, Cosette, Rosalinda, and Sarah’s giggles and silliness and willing hands of love that lightened our hearts and our load.  Unfamiliar faces that became welcomed friends in labor and worship, humble homes and open hearts, delicious home cooked food three times a day from a tiny kitchen, bouncing bus rides, heavy blocks, beautiful sky, children confidently chanting Bible verses, in love with God, shouting “I’m a child of the one true King!”

It was obvious that the teams from John Knox that had gone before us had established a foundation of trust with these shy people, so that they opened their arms to us and showed us how to live thankfully.  Many families struggle to put food on the table and wonder about the future for their children.  These Belizean’s hang on to the hope that we bring them-the hands and feet that say “God has heard your cries and will joyfully provide your needs.”  John Knox has delivered the tangible message that  “we’ve got your back, you will not starve or be left in the wilderness alone.”

My biggest impression had to do with our team.

Most of its members were two clicks away from strangers before I left, yet because we all had the same goal to love and be available to these people, we became knitted together. Each of us brought a different gift, insight or concern for the time there and all of our efforts wove together in ministering to these people.  We were tired, but the tasks were not a burden, we were overwhelmed but always had enough strength to finish the job.  As I looked at each of their faces on the return flight, I knew that my family had grown.

This mission trip wasn’t about what I could do to change the world, but what God does through the power of the Holy Spirit to bind us in love and use what He has put in us to strengthen and encourage others and bring Him glory.  In this process, fulfillment and peace enter our hearts.

I came home tired… and more refreshed than from any vacation.