Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lessons Learned

Emily and I returned last night from our ten day missions trip to work with Adventure Learning Centre & Camp in the Bahamas.  As we worked throughout the week, I had some time to reflect.  I wanted to share a few things I was reminded of this past week.

It's Not About Me

My primary job while I was there was to cook for the groups of Americans that were there to serve on the island.  I would get up at 5:15 and make breakfast and then the groups would take off for the day to serve and I had a lot of down time until they returned later in the afternoon.  I would then prepare dinner for them.

One day as I had just finished up breakfast, a cake for dinner, and then was folding some laundry, I had to laugh.  It felt like I was still home.  The thought went through my head that I could have saved my money because I was doing the same things I do at home.

But then I remembered that one of my goals was to give Emily a taste of missions.  She worked with the children in the center all week and clocked a little over 40 hours, working in a cross-cultural setting.  She had a wonderful experience and as a friend mentioned as she looked at my pictures, "Emily looks like she is glowing!" 

My other desire was to encourage those that run the camp.  My being there gave them a break from trying to care for the groups, do the work around the camp and still try to get meals on the table.  I took that burden off them for a week.  I tried to serve with joy even though I was hot and dripping with sweat.

I think I accomplished my goal as the director's wife told me that I brought a sweet spirit to the camp.  I was able to listen and offer some encouragement to friends.  I gave a gift of my books to both ladies who work there.

So while I didn't necessary have a "missions" experience in the sense of working cross-culturally, it wasn't about me and "my" experience.  It was about my daughter and encouraging others.

Go With the Flow

I did realize that a lot of missions work is being able to be flexible.  You have to be able to put aside your desires, ways of doing things and insistence on being right.  You have to step outside of yourself and just go with the flow.  That means when the freezer dies, you have to just deal with it.  When the menu gets changed, just go with it.  When the weather doesn't cooperate with plans, just go with the flow.  It's easier and more peaceful to let go and leave it in God's hands.

I Love Ministry

I was reminded at how much I really do enjoy being in full-time ministry.  I love serving and being part of God's purposes here on earth.  It's awesome!

God is at Work Everywhere

We went to different churches while there and it was wonderful to worship with believers from another country.  God is working everywhere in this world and it is humbling to see His work.  As I lifted my voice in song, tears formed in my eyes.  It was a little taste of heaven.

You Do What You Have to Do

I made the observation to someone there that even though it was 95 and extremely humid, I still did what I had to do.  I turned on the ovens when needed.  The deep fryer was on.  The dishes got done and work was accomplished.  We were dripping with sweat but did what was necessary.

Yet, so often at home, if it's hot and humid I opt to eat out or hide away in my air conditioned bedroom.  I forgo chores and a number of other things.

However, missionaries don't have the luxury of not getting things done.  And that was a good lesson for me.  You do what you have to do no matter what the circumstances. 

There were many other things I observed and learned but I thought these were the ones that affected me the most.  It was a great trip!