As many of you know I just got back from a trip to Ecuador. I love it there. It’s beautiful. We went and helped out at a mountain camp and a jungle camp, along with some tourism along the way.
Every time I go it seems to be my favorite year yet. The team that goes becomes family. We have each others back, and we learn to live together for a week. There were four new teen agers who joined us on the trip this year. I was so impressed by all of them. They were sweet, and we had so much fun together.
We made a ton of jokes. We made almost 200 necklaces for the kids. We served food, cleaned dishes, swept floors, slept on 6 hour bus rides, and loved every second of it.
Mission trips are in no way easy. They push you to the brink of exhaustion. They make you cry. They make your body scream at you to slow down. But they give you the biggest smiles. The best laughs. The greatest times.
At one point while we were there, the host missionary, Steve, pulled us aside. He told us that it wasn’t just the kids who would get something out of the week. We would too.
What was it that God wanted us to get out of the week?
This is a question to live by. Every week we enter a new page in life. God has a purpose for everything. So what is the purpose of this week? What was the purpose of last week?
God is always teaching. Always guiding. We have to listen and watch with open eyes for what it is God is showing us.
While I was in Ecuador, I kept my eyes open. One of my friends on the trip was terrified of heights. I mean completely petrified.
I pushed her across a bridge to tour the missionary’s house, and an hour later I pushed her back.
I held her hand in a cable car we took across a valley. My youth pastor and I were yelling at her to open her eyes. Telling her she would regret not seeing the view.
Then I helped her across another board with the help of a few friends, and we helped her back again.
She was crying, panicking, her legs were going numb…
And I was jealous.
The morning we came home from Ecuador, I spent it in tears. I was so jealous. I was angry. I was confused.
God gave her the privilege of having a fear she only has to face every once in a while. A fear that she can easily avoid.
I was jealous because my greatest fear is something that I’ve had to learn to cope with because I do it every day. I have to get in a car and drive almost every day. No one can hold my hand. I can’t close my eyes. And many times I have to do it alone.
I was angry because God is doing things to me that I don’t understand. Why did she get an easy fear and I didn’t?
I was confused because I don’t know what I’m doing that cause car accidents to keep happening to me. Car accidents around me. Car accidents where I’m in the passenger seat. And car accidents that I have no fault in.
As I sat in my living room crying I remembered that at one point on the trip I was sleeping. I had my headphones in, but for some reason I woke up. Before I fell back asleep I heard my youth pastor talking to the girl terrified of heights. He was telling her that fears aren’t something you conquer in one day. It’s one small step at a time. You can’t win a war in a day.
I told my mom I didn’t want to deal with my fears. I didn’t want to go through it all over again. It hurts too much. It’s like pouring salt into an open wound.
But I’ve realized that this isn’t true. I want to deal with it. I want to move on. Sometimes, the only way to heal is by cleaning out your wounds.
Someone brought something important to my attention…
If it was me who was afraid of heights and someone held my hand into the middle of the bridge and the wire snapped, those people couldn’t save me. No matter how tightly that person was holding on to my hand, they couldn’t do anything about it. But… isn’t it comforting to know that God knows and controls what does and doesn’t happen to us.
If I die in a car accident, I am going someplace better than anyone could ever imagine. The problem is that somehow we have become more excited about our beach vacations than the wonders of heaven.
So what was the biggest thing God revealed to me in Ecuador while I was there this past week?
Holding the maker’s hand is better than anyone else’s, and cleaning a wound is the only way for it to begin to heal.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”