As often happens, I did not find the time to post during this trip nearly as much as I had intended to. Between the busy schedule and having to stand in the middle of a mosquito ridden field to get wifi, it just didn’t happen. Right now I am sitting on a plane flying north to Miami, Trinidad very much behind me.
As always, these trips are a great way to live in community with your siblings in Christ. Friendships that could normally take months or years to form, can begin to exist within days inside the incubator of a mission trip. I laughed louder than I have in some time with Caleb and Brent as they reminded me again what it is like to be young in the Lord. I learned that Aaron Lippard (of the Lippard Tribe :o) was the first person (with his buddy) to travel across the island of Papa New Guinea without motors (basically with a kayak and little else). I found unexpected treasures within each of the ladies (Ashley, Alicia, Wilma and Ivy) as they shared their amazing testimonies of how God changed their lives. Without speaking a word to me about it, Daniel taught me how to lead people into God’s fullness for their lives so gently that sometimes they don’t even know they are being led. And the kids… Can you believe it? The Lippard’s brought their 4 young children (age 5-13) with them on this trip – and it was AWESOME!
Expectations was one of the themes of this trip. What do we expect from God, what does He expect from us? Far greater men have wrestled with these questions, and as I try to decipher their answers I have found myself wanting…
I expected God to show up in powerful ways. He did. I saw young men in prison brought to tears as they turned their troubled lives over to a savior that is more than able to change them forever. I saw children who lived lives surrounded by idol worship acknowledge that our God is the one true God. I saw my brothers and sisters wrestle with their faith and come out on the other side; stronger and more willing to be a light to a dark world.
For me, this trip was one of coming to grips with God’s expectations of me. Like many Americans, I have been conditioned to expect all life’s solutions to come quick and easy. Yet, the more I get to know my God, the more I see that those that profit most from being His are those that are willing to labor in the fields and do the hard work of perfecting their faith. For me, this trip was a reminder that if you linger too long in yesterday’s grace, you will miss out on today’s abundant life. God has an adventure for me and its one that I don’t need to leave my present circumstances to enjoy. But as I learned from my brother Aaron this week, you won’t ever discover the mysteries of the island if you don’t get in the kayak.
So this is how I am ending this trip, with a beginning. Words will only get me so far. Its time for me to get in the kayak. I know there is some difficult paddling ahead. But I also know that if I can push through to the things that God wants of me, I will never want to be the man I was before I had the courage to get in the boat.