Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 CSB
I went on my first mission trip! In this episode I wanted to dispel some of the beliefs about mission trips I encountered before I left and I wanted to share with you some of the miracles I experienced there. In the episode I share 6 miracles I saw throughout the week, and those are just the ones I know about! One thing is for certain, if you let God take the reins, He'll show you Who He is.
How I Got Involved
A pastor from a church in Belize visited a pastor at a church in my local area; they became friends and the mission trip was organized at the pastor from Belize’s request. They needed medical supplies and care—the church had a lot of medical professionals so this was the perfect way to use their gifts to host a free medical clinic for those in need. Two friends of mine had mothers involved in the planning and extended an invitation to go to our friend group, which I accepted even though I have no medical experience whatsoever. We were supposed to handle paperwork and greeting and other organizational needs. I actually ended up helping with Vacation Bible School, which they hosted for the kids while they waited for their parents at the clinic.
Before I left, when I said I was going on a mission trip, someone remarked that I was one of “those” people. That turned in to a conversation about colonialism and the spread of religion, particularly through violence and demonizing the native culture. Christianity is not the only religion that spread this way, but I can understand someone’s concern and disgust at the concept if that’s what they think is being done. Not long ago a man was killed trying to invade a remote island to convert people. The Bible does not support forcing the Word on people.
- Our mission trip was established by a church that was already in the community
- Medical care was given without expectation or obligation
- All religious events were optional
- Kids were not forced to attend Vacation Bible School and could easily stay with their parent/guardian if the family chose
- Daily sermons were given each evening, but this was 2-4 hours after the clinic ended
The first night, 4 of our medical professionals felt ill—it was suspected that they had the flu. They were the people who were supposed to do most of the work. At the suggestion of one of the elders we formed a prayer circle to pray for healing. The next day, they were back to good health!
We went during monsoon season, so it rained like a hurricane every day! The first night when it was time to go to the sermon series, it started to downpour. Half the group was in one location, near the parking lot and the other half was trapped in the rooms unable to meet us since they would need to walk in the downpour. We weren’t sure if we would be able to get there, but eventually it slacked off, and we loaded the bus. However, when we loaded the bus, it wouldn’t crank. Someone suggested we pray, so we did. As we said amen there was a flash of lightning. The guy tried to crank the bus, and it actually cranked. Immediately after, there was a clap of thunder. In the Bible we see God’s voice as thunder and Angel’s traveling like lightning.
Called to Do Something You Dislike
Full disclosure: little kids scare me. I did not know I was going to be working VBS when I agreed to go. So, when they assigned me to that, I was so nervous. I ended up loving the kids there. I actually missed them on the day we went exploring. It definitely changed my view of children.
Kids at Orphanage
Families in the US had “adopted” children from an orphanage in Belize and donated things for that particular child. We shipped all of this stuff to Belize a head of time. In theory, when we got there we could just organize it and take it to the kids. Unfortunately some of it went missing. So we had a few kids who we had nothing for. The night before visiting the orphanage, we had to try to recreate the care packages for these children with the general donations that were sent for the community. We were actually able to do this successfully. However, when we got there, a new problem popped up. Some of the children we had prepared packages for were no longer there and there were new children we knew nothing about. Clothes and shoes are hard to swap; we ended up having to go back a create more packages for the new children. By the end of the week though, we were able to get a package to every child.
Crowd in the Rain
The first night, there weren’t that many people at the sermon. However, each night more and more people came. One night, it was standing room only, even though it was pouring rain—the local people walked there in the rain and the whole sermon was outside in the rain!
My time of the month was scheduled to come on at the end of the trip. I was nervous about this because I have really harsh periods. From passing out to vomiting, I experience really severe symptoms. These symptoms are exacerbated by heat and strenuous labor—you know, being out in the heat all day near the equator and having to hike everywhere I went might not have been a good idea. I was also supposed to go cave tubing and zip-lining around the time it was supposed to start. So, the whole time I was praying about this. As my luck would have it, my period came the day before the cave tubing trip, so I got this wild idea to pray for God pause my period. He actually did it! My period came on Wednesday, stopped on Thursday, and came back Friday! I didn’t have a major episode though Friday and Saturday were a little uncomfortable, but He really came through answering those prayers.
References and Footnotes
- The background ambiance is actually a recording I took while in Belize.
- Jeffrey Gettleman, Hari Kumar, and Kai Schultz. "Retrieving Body of Missionary Killed on Remote Indian Island Is a Struggle". NY Times. November 24, 2018
- Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5
- I totally forgot to mention that the Vacation Bible School theme was Fruit of the Spirit, which as you know is also the theme for this season of the podcast.
- 2 Samuel 22:14; Revelation 19:6
- Ezekiel 1:13-14