Jeremy and I, with Brett and Janice with a team from Michigan and Quebec, arrived back to the U.S. on June 27th after serving with our friends at Sparrow Missions for a short term trip with a few other teams in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
As an introvert, trips like this challenge me and stretch me far beyond the safety of my comfort zone. Often unable to find space for solitude to refuel myself, it’s only after returning that I have time to fully process the experience. Even now, almost 2 weeks later, I find it difficult to piece together words that adequately describe the activities, conversations and connections that took place. The pictures I’ve included below show the ‘fun’ of the trip. The pain and hurt from the stories that were heard, the tears that were cried, and the difficult places we spent time were not captured, but remain heavy on my heart and mind.
We were there two years ago with a team that included our 4 children and both sets of our parents. While I love our children joining us to serve in different cultures, I appreciated being able to give my full attention to those I was interacting with this time. Thanks to the incredible support of translators who helped me stumble through my limited and broken Spanish, I listened to women and girls share their stories. I shared parts of my own journey. I had time to encourage, pray with or simply shower love on those I was privileged to be near in that moment. The greatest thing I came away with? I can do this anywhere. And so can you. There are people with similar struggles everywhere…regardless of social status or what country we live in. Unfortunately, it can seem easier to be vulnerable and show love to those who are visibly struggling when we are a world away from the comforts of our home and routines. We trick ourselves into thinking we are doing something heroic. But this is not about us. It is not about stacking up points for the ‘good’ we are doing. It’s about something simple and free. It’s about showing love to others no matter where we are or what we are doing. Not merely for a week on a mission trip, but daily. It means getting into the messiness of life with people. Right here and right now. Living alongside others without setting conditions for them to receive our love. It means stepping out of our comfort zone each day to show love, to listen and to share our struggles. It means being vulnerable to hurt and rejection, but choosing to love even with that knowledge. And often the place of deepest need and most difficult place to go, is right in our own home or within our own families. Who needs you to be vulnerable with them? Who needs you to listen and to feel your love without conditions?
While I look forward to more trips to Honduras and other places, I am challenged to remember that my mission field continues no matter where I’m at…listening to, loving and being present in the moment for those around me.