January 18, 2015.
That was the day Lee, myself, and the rest of the team from Relevant Church in Tampa embarked on our first-ever mission trip. We traveled to the Dominican Republic and lived so much in the short time we were there. It was life-changing for Lee and me in more ways than one.
The trip was made possible by coordination with SCORE, International. SCORE is a mission organization that uses sports, primarily baseball, to minister and kingdom-build around the world. They partner with churches, schools, athletic teams, and others through short-term mission trips to make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.
My time with Relevant Church and my experience with SCORE (I participated in nine domestic and international trips in just under three years) is the foundation of my heart for ministry. God used that experience to prepare Lee and me to move to the Dominican Republic as full-time missionaries.
Although that experience ended prematurely, I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t think about the children and
staff family we left in Samaná or the wonderful things we were able to accomplish in the short time we were there.
So when Lee told me about a mission trip with SCORE to Honduras to help with disaster relief following Eta, my curiosity was peaked. I have the time, the financial commitment is manageable, and the idea of getting dirty for Jesus is always exciting to me.
I reached out to my friend at SCORE – Lee and I served with him on one of our trips to Cuba – and he gave me all the details. It was simple: pay for the trip, book a flight, and let’s go.
Turns out it wasn’t so simple.
I’ve never seen this before. Flights to Honduras were all in the four-figure range. When I realized the least expensive flight is $1700 (with two connections, BTW), I chuckled to myself, “Perhaps God just doesn’t want me to go.” But I persisted and tried other search sites and varying combinations of departure cities – Am I REALLY willing to drive back to Miami just to make this trip work? – but to no avail. The flight component was just cost-prohibitive.
I stepped away from my laptop, took my dog for a walk, and had a conversation with God. “If it’s your will, God, it’s your bill.” My pastor in Tampa taught me that one.
I came back and jumped into flight searches again. But before the page for Kayak could load, I saw a news alert about ANOTHER storm in the Caribbean, this one heading to Central America again! The forecast for the storm has it over Honduras on the day before we would arrive in Tegucigalpa.
“You’re not going on this trip!”
God’s voice was loud and clear. This was no whisper. It was an emphatic ‘No!’
Given the new chapter in my life right now, I really wanted this trip to happen. I really wanted it to work out. But I know there is providence in the fact it didn’t, and perhaps God is protecting me by keeping me at home.
In my experience with mission work, I liked to say there are people who serve as boots on the ground and there are people who provide the financial resources for the people who are boots on the ground. God may be telling me to sit this one out, but He is also reminding me of the blessing and provision He’s provided in our lives. We are going to support our friends at SCORE and their relief efforts in Honduras. If you’re inclined to do so, I invite you to do the same.
But it doesn’t have to be SCORE and it doesn’t have to be Honduras. Find a cause that speaks to your heart and let your feelings of thanksgiving manifest in the form of your generosity. It’s by giving and living generously that we give back to God and emphatically say ‘Yes’ to Him.