• Over the last few years our ministry has developed a strong relationship with Frank Pretorius in South Africa, and he was leading this trip. We trust him to listen to the Spirit and place us where God wants us. I knew this, but I had never met Frank personally.
• Previous trips have taught me that even when I don’t know what will happen, God does.
• Regardless of what formal times are arranged for teaching etc. God has plans to encourage the churches where we are going.
There were some other “minor” details that I knew about the trip. I knew the names of the other 19 people on the team. Of those, I knew one person prior to leaving home. I k new Dr. Ann Farris who is also a board member of Christian Unity Ministries. Ann and I have traveled together before. There is comfort in knowing at least one person where you are going. We all have a desire (we think that it is a need) to know where we are going, who we are going with, and what we will do when we get there. I am trying to illustrate that we don’t need to know as much as we think we need to. Now, before I continue to paint a picture of myself as some traveling hero, just let me stop and set the record straight.
The first trip I went on like this I was a mess. From time to time I deal with some asthma. Of course on that trip, I was having problems. I am a very picky eater, and so there are few things more unnerving to me than the thought that I may be “forced” to eat something I am uncomfortable with in order to be polite. Couple that with a pretty fragile digestive system, thanks to family inheritance. You guessed it, I had real problems. In fact between the two, I got just plain sick. The last hole in the armor was that I got terribly homesick. It was a good thing that Skype was not an option on that trip, because I probably would not have been able to talk to my family anyway. There were some pretty scary entries in my journal. That kind of travel is hard on mind and body.
So, why am I telling you all this anyway? Well, I know that some of you are thinking about joining our team bound for South Africa this August. You are making that decision right now. You may be facing some of your own fears as you pray about going. If your life is anything like mine, there might also be a multitude of outside challenges to overcome. Maybe you are not yet to that ledge in your journey, but you have heard others talk about their own trips. Maybe you have always wondered what it would be like to go. I want to encourage you to take the step. It matters not whether you would travel as soon as this summer. Plan to travel somewhere to see what God is up to away from your home and outside your comfort zone. I promise you that you will never be the same.
I learned that on that first trip to Ukraine. I saw the wind and waves like Peter did when he was walking on the water, and like that time, Christ was there to “save” me from sinking. As hard as that trip was I would never trade it. Seeing me learn that lesson helped others in my church decide to go too. Since my Ukraine trip, we have sent 5 teams to Mozambique to partner with a missionary couple with ties to our church. We have had others go on “their own” trips as well. Now we even have a couple and a young lady who are in Mozambique on a more long term commitment. Together, we have watched direct involvement in missions transform our church.
Not only will you be changed, but your church will benefit too. I once heard a sermon called something like “you’ve got to get out of the house”. The point of the sermon was, “Get out there and see what God is up to.” You will have a new appreciation for what you have, for your family, for your church, and for how others live happy and fulfilled lives with far less than you have. No matter how much or how little you have. You may even find contentment for the first time.
I promise that soon I will tell you more about this trip to Mauritius. I am still processing all that I saw God do while I was there. There are things that God showed me, and other things that I saw God show the people there through our work among them. I have a wonderful opportunity to share with my church this next Sunday night. After that I will get back to you. Be ready to hear about people who still have a fire and a passion about reaching people for Christ despite the fact they are outnumbered by other religions. Be ready to hear about “Christ in you” and churches on the move with very few resources.
Soon I promise!