I’m at the stage of pre-trip planning where all I have show for myself is two empty suitcases on my floor, a tab open to Netflix and the idea that a second cup of iced coffee would be good to steady my shaky hands. I’m also convincing myself that doing laundry is somehow part of the packing process, even if 80% of the clothes being washed would never be acceptable as ministry appropriate because they are skinny jeans and tank tops.
This is also the same stage where I start getting nervous because I know my perception of life is about to be directly attacked as I step into another culture and another way of life. I’m suddenly embarrassed at the trivial conversations that I have about where I bought these pants (Bealls on sale) and the superfluity my new highlights (I would describe it as sort of a sun kissed, natural look).
It’s not secret that I’ve been wanting to get to India for years now, and the fact that I get to do so in the form of volunteering with beautiful Indian babies for a few weeks, honestly seems too good to be true.
While Myers Briggs has me pegged as an idealist, I’m also constantly at war with my inner skeptic. I’m not the bright-eyed dreamer on her first trip to Costa Rica where I thought I could just sweep in and change the lives of small children forever with only a week and a translator.
I’m not discounting the work of the Holy Spirit here; in fact, I’m endorsing Him even more. But He is His own thing, and I can’t manipulate Him into meeting my particular goals or outcomes.
That being said, short-term trips are really difficult for me because the typical Western mindset is “let’s cram as much activity in two to three weeks and see the most change or we won’t feel like it was worth our time”. (This is more or less mostly unspoken). After nearly a year on the field doing children’s ministry making lots of mistakes, I’ve had to learn the value of seeing Jesus in the small things… and appreciating the peace that comes with obeying Him regardless of the transformation that we do or don’t in those we’re ministering to. The relationship built opens up the door for sharing and teaching day to day: discipleship, which is actually what Jesus asked us to do in Matthew 28:19 – 20.
And yet, there are so many people in Jesus’ own ministry that He encountered, if only briefly, and was able to give them His love, His life, His truth… Himself. God is entirely capable of using the smallest word, the shortest encounter, to plant a seed, to (dare my inner cynic even say it?) change a life. He wastes no experience and is constantly moving; it remains only for us to be willing to jump onboard and submit to Him in the every day no matter where we are.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
– Mother Teresa
So I have no expectations or goals on this trip other than getting on board with whatever God is doing in the moment, and hugging all over the precious, precious little ones put in front of me. That’s all I can do. That, and choosing to trust that He can multiply my five loaves and two fishes into enough for a group of people whose needs I could never hope to meet in my lifetime.
Also the loudest of shout-outs to all the wonderful, generous and kind people who donated towards this trip. I can’t thank you all enough and I’m once again humbled by the favor I’ve been showed by God through the blessings of others. I have been supported in full and now I am able to do this, where I couldn’t have possibly before on my own. You all are amazing!
Thank you, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart.