Our Swazi missions team had our first official meeting last week. As I looked around the room at these people I’m going to get to know so well over the coming months, I was struck by how different we all are. It seemed that the only thing we have in common is our desire to serve God and others.
Think you don’t qualify for a mission trip? See if you can identify with any of my teammates.
One of the couples going includes a doctor and nurse team. They’re the only medical professionals in our group. Since the over 500 children at the CarePoints we are visiting lack any sort of health care, Bill and Brenda will be very busy. I imagine they’ll also be frustrated by the complete lack of facilities, equipment, and medications.
There’s an extended family—mom, dad, two young girls (they’ll be six and nine by October), and Grandma Maggie. They can’t wait to arrive and begin hugging emotionally-starved children. The family sponsors a little boy at one of the centers, and the kids are so excited about meeting their Swazi “brother.” Maggie can’t imagine what she has to offer but, because she felt God’s nudge, she signed up anyway. Mom and dad are seriously looking into bringing a child home for adoption. For all of them, this is their first trip overseas.
On the other hand, two team members—and Melissa, our team leader—went on our church’s first trip to Swaziland last year. Josie is a beautiful grandmother who loves everyone. She’s making aprons to give to the “Go-gos” (the grandmothers who cook for the children) she met on her previous visit. Joe is a military officer who discovered—to his surprise—that he loves kids. He plans to split his time between playing games and building or repairing the CarePoints’ infrastructure.
Malari, a 17-year-old high school senior, is going without her parents. Molly is in the National Guard. Stacy, in her early 20s, works in “hospitality” at our church and is our team’s worship leader.
All in all, there are 14 of us, with different ages, backgrounds, experiences, and levels of maturity. From experienced missionaries to “what’s a missionary,” from world travelers to homebodies, from those who doubt that God can use them, to those who know God can use anybody. And God is going to take us and bind us into one team to share his love and bring him glory. This I have got to see!
My point, besides introducing the characters in my mission story, is to highlight the fact that God is an equal opportunity employer. You don’t have to be “super spiritual” (I’m surely not!), although you do have to know Him. You don’t have to have special skills (although he can use these), you just have to let him work through you. Just like those Jesus picked to follow him in the Gospels, you don’t have to have mission work experience, seminary training, or really anything in particular. You just have to be willing to follow him. Do you qualify?