Our church just announced our short term mission opportunities for 2015. With an attendance of over 10,000 people, the booklet is quite thick. Is God calling you to Wales or India, Honduras or Macedonia? South Africa, Uganda, Haiti… the list goes on and on.
As I leafed through the pages, I asked God—are any of these trips for me? What do You want me to do this year? “Just moving will be enough for you for this year,” came the quiet reply. I admit I breathed a sigh of relief. Moving has been all-consuming for the past month, and there’s much more to do still. It’s amazing how much work it takes to simplify one’s life!
Still, I vividly remember reading a similar booklet two years ago, asking God the same question, and getting a much different answer. Much to my astonishment, the type on the page for Swaziland leapt off the page at me. It was so pronounced that at first I thought the page had been printed in bold.
I didn’t know why God wanted me to go to Swaziland. I’m not much of a “kid person” and this trip was all about kids. I signed up in pure obedience; it wasn’t until later that we realized we needed a person on the team dedicated to taking photos.
I’m going to be honest—I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to write a post for today. Between numerous field trips to photograph bugs, flowers, and birds, a good friend’s birthday party, and an overnight babysitting one of my granddaughters, I haven’t sat down in days. Today I have a choice: write a post or clean the house. I really need to clean the house!
Now you have my list of excuses, but I’m not going to leave you high and dry. My sister-in-law sent me a link to an article in Leadership Journal that I want to share with you. Many of us go overseas on short-term mission trips, often involving orphans, work projects, or both. Yet, how often do we hear about our trip from the perspective of the children we go to visit?
This article was written by a Kenyan AIDS orphan who was on the receiving end of dozens of American mission trips. It’s a real eye-opener! Once you’ve read it, let me know what you think.
I’ll be processing my trip to Swaziland for a long, long time, but for now there is one more issue I want to discuss. Perhaps these four photos will explain what’s on my heart:
How do you sum up such an intense experience as a trip to a CarePoint in Swaziland?
I can’t believe that October 12 is almost here. After months and months of preparation—planning, praying, working, packing—we’re finally going!
Tomorrow afternoon our team assembles at the church parking lot, luggage in tow. After piling into a 15-passenger church van, Pete will drive us to Denver International Airport, a bit over an hour away. Our first flight, to London, is scheduled to leave at 7:45 that evening. Somehow, in spite of our anticipation and excitement, we’re supposed to sleep on the plane. By the time we arrive at Heathrow it will be just after noon the next day (local time).
Here are the other two prayer points for my upcoming trip to Swaziland. If you missed the first two, I posted them last time.
While we don’t want to overlook opportunities to share God’s love along the way, the primary purpose of our trip is to serve the orphans and their caretakers at a particular CarePoint in Swaziland. Some of the children who attend live with extended family, many live on their own, with only brothers and sisters to care for them—or for them to care for. They’ve watched their parents and other family members die, mostly from AIDS. They’re scared, alone, hungry, and to a large degree, unloved.
In just eight days I’ll be boarding a British Airways jet for my trip to Swaziland. A number of you have responded to my plea for prayer support, for which I am deeply grateful. I know I can’t do anything worthwhile without God working through me, and your prayers are essential to that process.
There are some specific prayer points I’d like to share, whether for this trip or any short-term mission trip—I doubt I’m the only person you know who’s going overseas for the sake of the Gospel. I’ll try to keep this short and focused, so your prayers can be focused as well. Today I’ll offer points one and two; Friday I’ll post the other two.
(If you missed the rest of my posts about my upcoming mission trip to Swaziland, you can read them here, here, here, and here.)
We have plane reservations! I’m staring at a piece of paper listing our flights… a red-eye from Denver to London, then another red-eye from London to Johannesburg. When we finally arrive, at 7 a.m. local time, bleary and jet-lagged, we’ll board a van provided by Children’s Hope Chest (CHC) and drive the six or so hours to our home base in Manzini, Swaziland. I hope I can still function that afternoon!
Thanks to God nudging some extremely generous folks, my support is slowly coming in as well. Although I missed the first deadline (we were supposed to raise $1,500 by the end of May to pay the deposit on our plane reservations), I’m on track for the next one—$3,000 of the $3,500 total is due at the end of July. As of last week, my account contained over $2,300—what an incredible answer to prayer!
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.
For the past few months I’ve been writing about my upcoming mission trip to Swaziland. I’ve prayed, researched the country, prayed, researched the organization we’ll be working with, prayed, attended team meetings, prayed, worked long hours in our church cafe to help raise the needed funds, prayed, and prayed. Now the time has come to raise up a support team. Yes, I need to send out a letter asking people to pray for me and to give financially toward the trip expenses.