With my final count of passports under my belt and the last email sent to parents, all that is left to do is wait until my alarm rings at 3:00 am tomorrow morning to get this show on the road!
In less than 24 hours, I will be leading a team of incredible students and adults on a mission trip to Guatemala. This week we will be doing some construction projects, vacation bible school, and teaching english during the days and partnering with our host church in the evenings for all sorts of ministry, food, fun, and our annual soccer game. (They usually smoke us!)
It has been a long time since I have been this excited for a mission trip. For many reasons this has been one of the hardest trips to prepare for. The logistics were off the charts, the financial cost was quite high, and some of the personalities quite strong. Because of these factors I found it quite difficult to get my head and heart around this trip. I spent the last month having crazy dreams, and anxiety induced sessions at local buffets.
Truth be told, I was a little concerned that I was simply going to spend the trip spinning out of control about things I am trying to control, but know I can't. I lowered my expectations to the absolute bottom as I simply wanted to return with every student I brought. (This is still one of my expectations by the way)
As I reflected on this, I had the awful feeling that maybe I am rounding the corner into the final stretch of my student ministry career. I mean why would I lead a trip of this sort to simply countdown the time for it to be over? And then this realization got to be one more thing to freak out about. But what I have found, is that as we continue to walk with Jesus we never stay in the place we find ourselves right now in this moment! This truth became a reality for me!
By continually wrestling with Jesus, I have died to my anxiety (most of it) and am anticipating God to move in huge ways in and through our group!
I am so thankful to God and his faithfulness and graciousness towards me. The preparation for this trip has again proven all the more how much I am in need of God in every area of my life! Because of God's grace and because of the incredible people who have partnered with me, specifically Amanda, my right arm in ministry, we are ready to go!
But even more than being logistically prepared to go, I am finally spiritually prepared to go. My fear of having such low expectations for this trip has been exchanged for incredibly high expectations for God to show up in huge and awesome ways! I am counting on Him rocking our worlds, blowing our minds, and grabbing a hold of our hearts. I have a renewed passion for my students and for my call as a youth worker.
When we just get from point A to point B we only get to point B. No matter what, in a week this trip will be over and we will be home and accomplished our building projects, vbs, and english classes. But I am convinced that the real ministry that we are to do and the real work that God wants to do in our lives in not at point B, but is all along the journey to point B.
Today, I am looking forward to being present, to keep an open mind and heart, so see what God is up to in the individual lives of our students and my friends in Guatemala. I am looking forward to being sensitive to the subtle movements of God in all the individual moments that will make up this trip!
Please pray that I will practice the ministry of presence this week. I am convinced that getting to point B is not the purpose of this trip. It is the unknown ministry that will happen on the way there that is going to rock our wolds! Pray I don't steam roll those moments in my knee-jerk effort to simply get to the end!
Time to pack!