Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Reflection on Missions

As my daughter, Madison, will soon go off for her third mission trip (not including the one she currently is living in), I reflect back upon my missions experiences.  They were life-changing experiences.  I serve a BIG God, and am amazed at how He uses His children to do His work.

And as this is the beginning of "mission" season for us - short-term teams are finalizing plans to come, it made me think of some things...

God tells us to go.  This is not a request, it is a mandate.  For some, GO means to quite literally pack up their bags and go.  To others this means to send (financially support), so others may go.  And finally, for others, this means to pave the way and keep the path (through prayer) for fertile soil to be harvested and reaped.

"The smell of death almost overwhelmed me, as we drove through an area in Port au Prince, just 3 weeks after the earthquake.  It was clear that here lay the unmarked graves of hundreds if not thousands of people.  People that only a few weeks before were talking to their children about school, husbands to their wives about their day, and mothers singing as they lay their babies down for naps.  And yet, in a few seconds their lives were cut short by an incredible 7.1 earthquake that shattered their lives and their country forever."

This is one of my journal entries during the 3 weeks I spent in Haiti.  What did I do while I was there?  Worked, loved, wept, prayed (a LOT), and had hope.  Hope is what I saw in the broken people I was privileged to serve with.  Sadness in all they had lost, yet hope for what was to come - they had survived this craziness, and in that, the resilience to live.  Like most times, we go to serve, but are served in return.  We go to be the hands of Christ.  We go because we obey Him whom we serve.

"I spoke to a man who was the teacher at a local elementary school.  The only survivor.  All the students had perished.  But during the time he was buried, he heard the cries of so many children.  Knowing he could do nothing but reach them with his voice, he sang.  He sang to soothe their tears, to let them know they were not alone, and to let them die knowing someone knew they were there."

As I listened to this man speak, I realized, he did not bring them any physical thing.  He did not come bearing gifts, money, or construct them a new home.  He brought them the only thing he could - the presence of another human being.  I loved his story.  He taught me a lot.  I thanked him for what he could share.

So what do you see yourself doing this summer if you are going on a mission trip?  What will your reflection be at the end of the week?  Will you remember the house you built, the gifts you brought, the crafts you made?  Or will you instead reflect on the lives you touched, the snotty noses you wiped, the fatherless child you hugged?  Will you instead walk in Christ's path, the One who came to serve?

Be a servant.  What do you do when no one is watching?  When there is no one there to pat your back and say well done?!  Or do you only long for those words at the END of your life, when you enter the gates of heaven, and you long to hear the voice of God as He says, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

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