The Impact of an Impact Trip
Our family went on its first service trip in November. People keep asking how it went and my answer is: It was good. And hard. But good. There are so many things to think about when it comes to serving far from home, but there are a few points that have really stuck in my mind as I talk to people about our experience.
1) God shows up where you show up. Obviously, God is there even when you’re not there, but when you make the effort and put yourself out there for Kingdom work, God honors that. Our son is 7, and he’s a wily creature of willful energy. We weren’t sure how this trip was going to go for him since we generally are taking “down time” trips, and this was anything but. I put out prayer requests specifically for our son’s experience. Boy do I wish I had asked for the same kind of prayers for myself because our son was the life of the party the whole time. He had a good attitude, was energetic, never whined, didn’t worry about what was coming next, wasn’t hesitant to dive right in…He was engaged and a joy to be with. Even all our other team members were enthusiastically interactive with him the.whole.time. God showed up in this big time. Our little boy, who can be shy and selfish was outgoing, loving, and open with everyone he met, in every place we went.
2) It’s God’s work, not mine. Here’s the thing – the work we did in Fondo Negro while we were there could have been done faster and more efficiently by the in-country workers. They were teaching us how to mix concrete, build walls, etc. We brought nothing to that except willingness (and lots of sweat). The ball players – they don’t need us either. In fact, there is nothing any of us could offer that their coaches and pastor can’t offer them. Some people might ask what the point is – and that misses the point. God is at work in this place, and we get to be a part of that! It’s God’s work that’s being mostly funded by our contributions. Our presence isn’t strictly necessary. And this frees us to be who and what God wants us to be while we’re there. For my son – it was being the first red-headed little boy most of those kids had played with. For my husband – it was being the red-headed hard working man who helped mix and move lots of concrete and cement. For me it was pushing my bounds of comfort with children I don’t know – and I also was guaranteed the first blue- and green-haired woman they had met. God is at work in this place regardless of my presence. And that is so freeing. We have the incredible opportunity to participate – we don’t have to create any work, God has already begun it, and he will carry it to completion. My job was to be there, to be a part of another of God’s communities of children, to listen, and to learn (and to sweat a whole lot).
If you get the chance to go visit our people in Fondo Negro – go. God is there, working, and healing, and waiting for you to visit.
“Many hands make light work, as Duncan figured out. He never once was afraid of the challenge. I’d go on another trip with him in a heartbeat!” – Kristin