“How was your trip?” When you come home from a mission trip, and get asked this for the first time, it can leave you at a loss for words. On a trip like this you are flooded with so many emotions: joy, sorrow, excitement, exhaustion, anger. When you come home, back to your very comfortable reality, you have to process through all that you have seen. I love that after each of my trips God has taught me something new. So, what did I learn from those beautiful people?
1) I need to slow down and focus on relationships. We often joke about being on “African time” while there. No one gets in a hurry. You have to be flexible in your idea of a schedule. People are “late” because they spend so much time talking. And it is beautiful. I had someone attempt to teach me a few Lugandan phrases while there. I learned that there is one greeting for someone you see all the time. However, if you are greeting someone you don’t see daily, there is a much longer exchange. So much in my life is go, go, go all the time. That’s not what God created us to be like. He is a God of relationships. We just miss those beautiful relationships because we are too busy to slow down.
2) I am selfish. Ok so this wasn’t exactly news to me. Self-sacrifice seems to be ingrained. One day we served food to the kids at Return Ministries. I watched older siblings make sure the baby in their lap got a plate first. I saw kids tear open a sugar packet and split it between their friends. Ugly truth, I have gotten upset before when my husband came home early, and I had to unexpectedly share my snack. I am all about my comfort and my desires. That is not how Christ lived! He was constantly giving of himself.
3) I need to let go of my expectations, and trust in God’s provision. We were welcomed into several homes, and what was universal of every family we met was that they were so honored to invite us in. They did not care what they had or didn’t have. They glorified God for providing for their needs. They trusted that He was going to answer their prayers. Absolutely every single one of my needs is met. Any discontent I feel is because I lack something I want. How peaceful life would be if we trusted God to provide for our needs and thanked Him for any blessing above that.
The trick to any mission trip is fighting to remember the lessons once you are home. It’s not easy. I have already caught myself slipping into old patterns. But I will continue to share stories with you because I need to be reminded of the lessons learned.