Wow, how has a week already past? So much has been done yet so much more to do!
I have very much enjoyed so many things about ministering here. For the sake of time I hope to keep it mostly to one theme.
Each night our team gathers for team devotions. We have a special book that we are going through as team and different people have taken turns leading the study. On the first night we were to list 3 things that God did specifically to prepare you for this experience. I stopped at 4 but could have gone on and on.
The first on I listed was my upbringing. My mother was very gifted with hospitality. I’m convinced she knew nothing of entertaining only hospitality; ministering in Jesus name by opening our home and feeding people. Hosting special speakers, music groups and missionaries were a regular part of life in our home. I loved learning about far away places and all of their differences. I loved seeing how differently people dressed or spoke in other parts of the world. I couldn’t wait to grow up and explore the world through hospitality as well as travel! This trip has been an amazing adventure of exploring another part of the world. It is beautiful and I regularly find myself singing “How Great Thou Art”. Side note: would someone please write a verse or two about the beach and tropical beauty? Speaking of tropical beauty, my mother was also an avid gardener and lover of flowers. I see the beauty here so much more because of her. I would love to call her and tell her all about the gorgeous flowers here. I would tell her how plants that we have in tiny pots as house plants are huge bushes and trees, how orchids are everywhere and how Miss Betsy says, “Don’t worry if you pull the wrong thing while weeding. It will grow back.” There are a variety of trees that are beautiful and strong on their own and at the same time support other plants growing around them or out of a crevice between branches. Hey, I bet there’s a Bible lesson there! Shortly after taking our luggage to our rooms we began cleaning out flower beds. Unfortunately I did not inherit my mother’s love of gardening. But it was what need to be done and I was happy to help. Weeding here has now become my go-to activity if something else isn’t more pressing. It is an interesting activity as I seek to get to the root but particularly the vines in run crazy in this tropical climate. Yesterday while weeding outside the chapel I found the same vine running it’s skinny evil self almost the whole length of the 15-20ft bed. That same evil vine was thick and twisted around plants, bushes and the exterior blinds on the chapel’s windows. Hey look, another Bible lesson!
One thing I did not list in the devotional as a preparation but has become glaringly obvious now is being a mom. Now I would contend that any mother has adequate training to be prepared for just about anything. God has blessed us with two wonderful sons. One son I “get” as he seems to see much of the world as I see it. I am convinced that God gave me our other son to stretch me in ways only a your own child can. Until having him I loved nature on my terms. We took in nature in small doses through hiking or going to botanical gardens. Not that boy, he is a full on creepy crawly critter loving nature enthusiast. He sees the natural world through eyes so very different from mine. Just for love of him and only him I have gone camping in all types of weather. I have found myself looking for the awful creepy crawly things to point them out to him! Who have I become?!?! There are lizards everywhere around here, everywhere. Yes, I scream when startled but I now find them fascinating as well. I stop to notice their patterns, size, and color. I found myself hoping to see bigger ones! What has happened to me?!?! I know what has happened to me. It seems obvious that God would use that which blesses as well as that which tries us to help us grow and prepare us for whatever ministry he sees fit to give us. What was not obvious to me is that he would use that something “so not my thing” to prepare me for this mission trip.
Lord, help me to be more thankful for the flowers, more willing to see the weeds that need to be pulled and more appreciative of the lizards. Amen
Peace and blessings,