A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to be able to do something I had never done before. I had been on missions trips to other countries with groups from my church over the last few years; however, this summer was a different experience altogether. This time, I was able to take my boys with me, which proved to be a triple blessing! Our missions trip included ministering at different elementary schools by acting out skits we had rehearsed for several weeks in advance, loving on and feeding neighborhood kids during a Saturday service, visiting young children and teens in an orphanage, and participating in a street ministry that stretched and impacted us as a team in multiple ways. Every missions trip is special in the way that God speaks to and through you. Each trip provides unforgettable experiences with takeaways that have the potential to impact your entire life moving forward. On this particular trip, there were two that really stood out to me.
As already mentioned, this was the first time my boys had ever been on a missions trip and I was so blessed to have them come with me. They were able to be a part of making a positive change in peoples' lives and see God's love in action like never before. I believe this is so important for leaving a family legacy. We need to teach our children that, contrary to popular belief, our lives are not our own (Romans 8:9). We were not created just to be blessed but to be a blessing. There are people all over the world that have never had the opportunity to know God or experience the love and hope that He brings. There are people in need of help, food, resources, and medicine that will only come if others prioritize their finances and time to provide it (Matthew 25:35-40).
It was beautiful to see the connections that my boys made with kids in Mexico, the enthusiasm they exhibited while performing skits, and their willingness to endure the heat without complaining! In the middle of each day, temperatures rose to 105 degrees and we were outdoors majority of the time. That alone was a huge contrast to the comfortable A/C temperatures enjoyed back at home. But as I explained to them during our time there--life isn't all about comfort; it's about sacrifice. Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone to see God move in extraordinary ways.
Each ministry opportunity throughout the trip made a lasting impression; however, in my opinion, the street ministry was the most impactful. In the heat of the day, we walked up and down the streets of poverty-stricken neighborhoods calling out, "Buenas Tardes!" every few steps. It was amazing to see curious eyes move from behind windows, out the doors, and into their yards in a matter of seconds. This caused other family members to also make their way out and hear about the unexpected event about to take place. In Spanish, we told them about the games, food, and skits we had prepared for them just a couple of blocks away on a rocky soccer field. I had no idea how successful this tactic would be, and was admittedly shocked to see the crowd that came out to join us, complete strangers, each day. After just a few minutes, people of all ages had gathered at the field, ready and eager for the "event" to begin.
What I particularly loved about this experience was the full-faceted provision that was offered. We first played games, danced, and had fun interacting with the crowd. After that, we performed the evangelical skits that powerfully demonstrated the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus. Our missions partner then followed up with truth from God's word before the altar call was made. In just two days, over 260 souls were saved, which was amazing!! But it didn't stop there. Bibles and prayers were provided to everyone who made this life-changing decision and then bundles of food were handed out to each family! That is the abundant life Jesus desires to give each of us. He not only wants to provide for our spiritual needs, but for our emotional and physical needs as well. I loved that He was represented and glorified in each of those areas. All it took was willing hearts.
Everywhere you set foot is a missions field. And you are a light that is not meant to be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16). There are people all around you--at work, at school, in your family, and in your community--that need to know about the love and grace of God; you don't necessarily have to go overseas. On this trip to a neighboring country, I was actually reminded that we should be doing the same for our next door neighbors! Do they know who you are? Maybe it's time that they did (Luke 10:29).