i’m going to guatemala. thursday. flying out of vancouver international airport at a ridiculous morning hour. i’m traveling with twenty other teenagers/young adults from my church: christian life assembly. i have way too many thoughts about this trip. i feel like only since this past weekend have i arrived at a healthy, excited place. i’ve never been on a missions trip, i’ve never seen anything close to the third world. sure, take a walk downtown eastside vancouver and i’ve seen poverty and drugs and filth. i’m not ignorant. i’ve never seen a country of poverty though… know what i mean? missions trips were emphasized in the high school i went to; i never felt called to go. i didn’t want to be [excuse my awful, rude, generalization] another private school rich christian kid who wanted a trip to somewhere exciting like africa. [not that that is a fair representation of everyone’s heart.] i just knew that when i was supposed to serve in this way, God would prompt me. i love the local church–i’ve never had this “missionary” dream.
i couldn’t help but feel since the spring that post-wedding season (end of 2010 and beginning of 2011) was going to be a different season for me. less work, perhaps new opportunities, a movement towards being more involved in the local church. i didn’t think missions. i had the entire month of november completely free on my calendar: not one thing booked. in september, i heard about this trip to guatemala at youth one tuesday. immediately, my heart said “yes.” i walked up to my youth pastor after the service smiling, “i’m going!” done. i’ve had a few experiences like that in my life: kind of out-of-body moments—like the words that come out of my mouth are so contrary to my previous desires, things i would have ever seen myself doing. saying yes to a missions trip? didn’t see it coming. but i said yes.
in the past two months leading up to this trip, i haven’t thought much about it. life was busy and in the mean time, i traveled to montreal, philadelphia and charlotte. three separate trips. guatemala was just another thing on the calendar, blocked off in big letters between november 18 – november 29. in the past two weeks, my life has slowed down quite a bit & i began to realize that my next flight was not to the US… it was to guatemala. huh? what? why?
i do not have a romanticized view of this trip. in some ways, you could say i’ve been expecting the worse. i am introverted; being around twenty people constantly for two weeks is going to be very challenging for me. i will likely want to tell everyone to “shut the crap up!” every now and then. that would not be very Christian of me. at times, the weather will be hot and humid. i hate sweating. it’s gross. we will be immersed in a language i do not know. we will be waking up early, staying up late. i will be eating food i’m not used to—and i have a string of food intolerances longer than most people could deal with. i get sick to my stomach, easily. bad enough when this happens at home and i can stay in bed all day. when i’m expected to work all day with this, that’s kinda depressing. after our final meeting saturday night at the church, i was anxious. on a forty-minute drive home that night i started praying out loud in my car & crying. i’d like to call this “prying aloud”—combo verb. perfect. i “pry” a lot.
God, i’m anxious about this trip and i’m sick of this. i’m sick of worrying: worry is not trusting You. worry is not trusting that You have this trip in Your hands, that You gave me this desire to go to Guatemala, that You will protect me, protect my stomach, my health, my body, protect my emotions, give me grace to love, give me grace to serve, give me energy when i have no more to give. i confessed it all aloud the whole drive home. then i worshipped Him, singing along to the spanish EP revolution band recorded for the trip. the next morning, i woke up with such a sense of purpose for this trip. this comes at exactly the right time in my faith. [leave that to God; perfect timing for things? say it isn’t so. He’s so smart.] i love to DO IT ALL. i’m a type-A, give me something to do and i’ll do it, ten times faster than you thought possible. boom. i will accomplish it.
after saturday night, i have come to the conclusion that God is taking me on this trip to bring me to the end of myself. i am going on His strength. i will eat food [that usually my body rejects] and be protected and kept healthy by His strength. my mom felt a verse on her heart for me this week: “behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you,” Luke 10:19. nothing shall hurt me. that’s a sweet promise. i feel like it relates to my allergies a lot. i am at peace in His promises. i will love people when i want to be alone by His strength. i will serve with energy that is not from my twice-daily americanos, but His energy. i’m not going on this trip alone–i couldn’t do this alone. i know now, this is exactly why God has told me to go.
see you all in december: there will be no emails, blogs, tweets, anything like that until then.