As most of you know, our family (part of us anyway) are heading to Guatemala tomorrow. 10 years to the month from the first time we went. Our family has to share a devotional Monday night and I was collecting some thoughts, trying to put them together in a way that made sense. In a way that would portray the weight of what this trip means to us. It's not a vacation. It's not just taking our son back to his roots. It's about establishing a relationship with real people in another country. Establishing bonds that will stand the test of time. These folks are our family, part of His family. Just thought I'd share some of my thoughts about the adventure.
I first came across Village of Hope (click on the link to see how you can help VOH and to view a short video) on Facebook. I don’t even remember how, but when I read Amy’s blog and saw the Block’s heart for missions, families and Guatemala I knew we had to be a part of what God was doing. I immediately jumped on board as a monthly sponsor to the Block’s themselves and gave several different times towards building the new duplex at VOH. I truly believe in what VOH stands for: orphans, special needs and keeping families together. This is something our family can do for the Kingdom that is already in place and seems to be working. We can be a part of touching these kids lives, here is a place we can truly make a difference.
Before our trip, I kept seeing blog posts from various authors regarding short-term mission trips. There were pro’s and con’s tossed around and even the question if short-term mission trips were a good idea. They were all spot on and didn't discourage taking STM trips. But each one advised participants to search your heart and the reasons for taking the trip. Are you going out of guilt? For a sense of adventure? To do good works in hopes it'll amp up your score card in heaven? I read each one and was convicted each time of my (our) reasoning for coming to serve with Village of Hope in Guatemala.
My intentions for going to Guatemala are two-fold. First is to be the hands/feet of Jesus and to serve the Block’s and the kids/mama’s at VOH in any way possible. Whether it be by painting a wall or a kind word spoken. Second, is to show our son the place in which he was born. His ‘home country’ as he likes to call it. It is a beautiful place, with lovely people who need to know the love of Jesus. We can give back to the place that gave us so much. When you feel a pull to do something, that God is calling you to go somewhere- you go! Obedience is the key. I know God called us here because we could not have afforded to make this trip this year. We had a family member offer to pay our way. Who could say no to that? We never expected that to happen. It was God. For those who know me, know my fear of flying. I KNOW Satan has used this to his advantage. Thus far, it has kept me from going and doing some things I know God called me to do. NO MORE. I say "get thee behind me Satan, you have NO place in this child of God". If people can face the horrendous things they do each day with grace and poise, then surely I can get on an airplane for a 58 minute + 3hr 15 min flight (OK, so maybe I'm still a wee bit obsessed with the flying thing, but I am getting on the plane so that's facing my fear, right?)
Some of the posts I've read talked about how the missionaries would come and serve a few days, focusing on the task at hand and forget about the people who they were there to minister to. I don’t want to serve VOH and be a burden. I want to leave there knowing what our family did contributed to the future of VOH. I want to return to this same place next year and bring 10 people with me. I want to invest in the lives of these kids. I want to help these mother’s keep their babies, to have a home, to get off the streets.
Out of the abundance He has blessed my family with, I know we are called to give back. Our excess, we have to use for His glory. How can I face Him when I die if I don’t? What if asks me why I didn’t give $1,000 for _______ to have a home for her and her son instead of going to Disney World? How can I go home to my comfortable life and not feel compelled to help His people in any way I can? Thank God for his merciful grace as I've spent carelessly what He's entrusted to me. I should've been investing in the lives of others, not myself, nor my home.
I challenge you to consider the reason God brought you to Guatemala. Was it out of guilt? Curiosity? To earn your way to heaven? I pray for each of us that our reason is because He called us here and we obeyed.
So there ya go...a mixed up tirade about airplanes, helping the least of these and grace. Jon's going to wish I'd never bought the book Hope Lives: A Journey of Restoration and Rhinestone Jesus is waiting for me in my backpack.
"God has a reason for placing me exactly when and where He did...God has been planning and planning, placing me just so, giving me exactly what He has, that I might find Him and that I might do the good He has prepared in advance for me. What exactly that is, I'm not sure yet. But I'm convinced there's something."
From Hope Lives: A Journey of Restoration by Amber Van Schooneveld