Last weekend, God blessed me with a quick mission trip to Mexico. I am so thankful that the Lord has bestowed this blessing on me. I would just like to share a few things that I've learned from this trip. First of all, I have a new found appreciation for full time missionaries. Though some may call what I did a "short term mission trip", I really thought of it more as just a non-glamorous vacation that included little rest and not-so great sleeping, bathing or bathroom facilities...much like my hiking trips. I was so happy to meet Steve and Robin Henry in the small village of La Poza, missonaries there now for two years. I also briefly met a single man, Chris Berger, who shares the gospel in the small fishing village of Media Luna. I was also very thankful for Chris's plush bathroom we lovingingly called "casa blanca". I learned that to live in one of these villages must at least start out being very lonely. Also, Mexican culture has a lot of temptations especially dangerous for men. I never really got to speak to Chris, but he's in my prayers. I pray that God will protect his heart and mind from the alluring temptations around him.
I also learned a few things about myself. I struggle with the sin of "fear of man". I'm so protective of myself. I'm scared of what others think of me. I noticed this very early on the trip. The very night we arived, as we were setting up our tents, I could hear several young people laughing from a distance. How crazy is this: I assumed that they were laughing at me with my headlamp on my head. They may have never seen that before, and it may have looked strange to them. Who knows what they were laughing at, but I had a twinge of self-consciousness. This sin seems to be something that is so difficult for me to shake. My actions and behavior quite often stems from what others think of me. I'm slow to share my faith with others because I don't want them to think I'm a nut. I hide my shameful history from my friends, because I want them to think well of me. All of this is a mockery to my Jesus who saved me. By being so fearful of what people think of me, it tells other's that I'm a much better guy than I am. Why am I so afraid to let my frailty show? I know that if I were to confess my weaknesses and sins, that I could also show the greatness of my Savior. Lord, help me to not be fearful of men.
Another thing I learned this weekend as I have on a few other occasions in the past is how satisfying it is to be around like minded believers. Did we all agree 100% on every single issue? Probably not, but where there was disageement, there was understanding or a desire to understand, and those issues were extremely minute. We did all agree on how we each were saved by God's sovereign grace and quite often we relished in our salvations. We also used our understanding of our salvation in how we shared our faith with those we met. This was absolutely refreshing and such a breath of fresh air. Three of the fellows, Rick, Michael and Irian, I had never met before, but I now feel like we have been friends for years. Isn't it great when that happens?
So, now what happens. I can't get the place out of my mind. I love being home with my family, and even while I was there attempting to minister, I really was excited about getting home with my family. I have to go back though. I have no idea where this new passion of mine is going to mean for the future. For now, we'll just take it one trip at a time and see where the Lord leads. Like Aaron, I'm a dreamer. I have so many ideas for our little village of Centenario. But none of this will happen overnight. I'm already looking forward to seeing my new friends again for a few days in June and I hope to take my brother with me (although I'm not sure I'll be able to get him back home, because he will love this place). Please pray that the seeds that we've planted will bring about a great harvest and most of all, that He will be glorified!