Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mission to Dallas

Two evenings ago, after we had finished eating Alexandra’s birthday cake and were sitting around the table, Larissa sprang the news.

Timidly, quietly, looking at the table as she spoke, she said, “I want to go to Dallas, too.”

It was another case in not pushing and allowing God to do the work.

Once you’ve been on a Global Expeditions (GE) trip, you’re on their call list. Jacob went on three mission trips with GE (two to Mexico, one to Guatemala), Alexandra went on one (Honduras), and I’ve been a leader on two trips (Mexico with Jacob, Honduras with Alexandra). So in the early fall, we started getting phone calls about joining a holiday trip this year.

“I don’t think so,” I said when I answered the call for Jacob. “I don’t think that the timing is right. We’ve already been on two family mission trips this year – to Mexico in the spring and to Ukraine in the summer. Maybe next summer…”

But Global Expeditions kept calling. They called Alexandra. They called me. They called Jacob again. The answer was always the same. Not now. Not this time.

And then God did something with my heart. I love travel, and I do love mission trips. Wouldn’t it be great to get away from my desk and computer where I spend all my work and homeschooling hours, writing manuals for my employer and schedules for my kids. I sit at a desk and correct assignments, and I sit at the desk reading through grammar books, textbooks, and answer keys. Perhaps I could get away over Christmas break, maybe with one of the girls. Living with a tribe in Panama sounded exciting…

But it still didn't feel right, so I kept telling the Global Expeditions folks no.

Then I read Same Kind of Different As Me in three sittings. (I couldn't put it down.) There are so many needs in our own inner cites. I never before wanted to go on a mission trip to an inner city, but God whispered to my heart, Go! My husband said how could he say no to something like this?

Normally they don't pester, but now I know why those Global Expeditions reps kept calling. On their next call I said, “Yes, I’ll go. I’d like to go to Dallas as a Country Assistant.”

Now you don’t always get to pick and choose your trips when you’re a leader, and the holiday trips usually get Country Assistant volunteers quickly. But to my amazement, there was no Country Assistant for the Dallas trip yet. But why should I be surprised if God had put it in my heart to go there?

Although I would have been happy to serve on this youth mission trip without any of my children with me, I did invite all three to join me. It didn’t take Alexandra long to decide to go. Just mention children, and Alexandra will be there. This trip is about working with inner city children.

Alexandra tried to convince Larissa to go, but she just didn’t want to.

“I didn’t want to go on the Honduras trip,” Alexandra admitted. “Meet all these strangers and sleep with them in the same room? I only went because you made me,” she said to me.

I was shocked! When we had gone two years ago, I thought that she was just as excited about going as I was. Alexandra admitted that she was glad that she went, and that she grew more spiritually during that 10-day mission trip then ever before. But she hadn’t wanted to go.

I had considered telling Larissa that she should get out of her comfort zone and let God use her. But I’m glad that God told her before I did.

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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)