Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pulling together the mission team

There’s a lot of background work – and a lot of waiting – that goes into pulling together a mission trip. To me it seems that we haven’t done much in weeks, and I’m getting impatient!

First, George and I invited the pastor and deacon to view George’s slides of his earlier trip to Matamoras. George wanted their blessing for our trip. This church, which consists of immigrants from Ukraine and their children and grandchildren, has never sent out a mission team. Ever. So we’d be breaking ground.

The pastor and deacon came to our house late Sunday, February 1, with their wives, looked at the pictures of Mexico and listened to George’s stories. They gave their blessing to proceed.

So that the kids would know what sort of conditions await them, George next gathered them at the church the following Saturday, February 7, and gave the slide presentation, then proposed to take up to five youth members with our family to similar conditions on a mission trip.

“You would be staying in village homes and have to be ready to sleep on the floor,” I warned. “And there will be latrines. There won’t be any showers in the villages, only basins to wash in.”

No volunteers came forward that day. Or during the next youth group meeting. By the time the week was out, I was worried that no one would join our family, or worse, that George would decide not to go at all because no youth members wanted to participate. I want to go so badly that I had a few rough nights lying awake worrying. But it’s all in God’s hands, I reminded myself, and calmed down a bit.

Finally, one 15-year-old boy stepped forward, and not one I expected. His older sister wanted to go, but she was worried about getting her period in such primitive conditions. Even though her mother assured her that woman all around the world face those same difficulties, it took her a few more days before she committed.

This past Sunday, George made an announcement at the end of the church service. First, he told the congregation that he and his family were going on a mission trip to destitute Mexican villages, delivering used clothing, school supplies, and food, as well as singing and holding church services. Then he asked all youth members who wanted to go on this trip with us to come to a room at the back of the church. The grandmother of one of the boys came to the room (her grandson attended our youth group, but a different church on Sundays), a girl who had just joined the youth group the week before (and had not been to the presentation), and a few people who were not in the youth group at all. We certainly had our five, but did we really want to take people not in the youth group?

We’re still sorting it out. I’m one who likes to get things done; my husband is more the wait-and-see kind. This waiting is a patience test, and once more, I’m starting to have trouble sleeping.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)