08 Sep Guatemala Missions
My first mission trip was to Bolivia in 1995. When I signed up for the trip I had no idea what I had to offer, what I would do while I was there, or why God would send me. All that I knew was that I had been praying for the Lord to use me and show me how to love others. At the time, I had been studying Isaiah in the Bible. In chapter six, Isaiah shares how he is completely overwhelmed and in awe when he sees the Lord sitting on his throne. Isaiah says that he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” As experiencing the Lord truly resonates with him, he responds to the Lord, “Here I am. Send me!” What if the Lord had been asking questions to see who was qualified to go? Can you just imagine that for a minute? What if He was asking, “Does anyone here speak Spanish? Can anyone here drive a stick-shift up and down a curvy gravel road in the mountains? Can anyone here pray for a sick baby who is hospitalized and near-death due to lack of food and nutrition?” Had the Lord asked all of those questions, I wonder how Isaiah would have responded. I’m imagining a response something like, “Um, well, no Spanish… I can sort of drive a stick-shift truck but I totally don’t pray aloud for anyone so I don’t think I’m your guy!” Isn’t that exactly how we respond at times? We are our own worst critics. I for one am SO THANKFUL that the Lord isn’t asking those specific questions to Isaiah about the what, when and how but focuses on the who and the heart.
My husband Alex and I plan Summit mission trips to Guatemala every year. For those who aren’t familiar with our story, I met Alex in Guatemala when I lived there as a long-term missionary. When we talk to people about the mission trips, the first question is usually, “what will I do there?” The people always seem to feel ill-equipped for whatever reason (they don’t speak Spanish, they aren’t great working with kids, or something else). We always encourage them to not to focus on the logistics of what and how and focus on our heart’s commitment to being the who. With all honesty, I can tell you that I STILL struggle with what I have to offer on the mission field. Even though I now do speak Spanish and I’m married to a native, I feel ill-equipped to go and serve and love. What I’m learning is that if we decide to wait until we are (in our opinion) well-equipped, we will never go.
Fast forward to 2016 and I still can’t answer the question, “What did you DO in Bolivia?”. I don’t know what I DID, but I know that I cared. I went to love people and the response from the natives was overwhelming. They couldn’t believe anyone in the great United States of American would care about them…that someone from so far away would go and pray for them…in their eyes it’s unfathomable. It’s not any different in Guatemala. When the natives see us Gringos, they are overwhelmed because we care. They will listen to us as we pray and as we share Jesus because we travel such a great distance and they feel our love for them. They appreciate us. It’s not so much about the WHAT that we do, but that we care. It’s about our hearts—our hearts on mission.
Pray to see how you can love on the precious people in Guatemala. Maybe God is indeed asking you to go. Maybe He’s asking you to pray for others at the Summit going. Perhaps He’s asking you to financially support someone going. Pray for our response as a body when the Lord is asking us who will go. Let us respond as a body like Isaiah did—completely in awe and overwhelmed as the Lord is working in us and through us. May His great presence resonate in us as it did in Isaiah and encourage us to simply go and be the who.