The Columns – May 2016

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When you go on a mission trip, you can be sure that God will manifest Himself in your life. What you can’t be sure of and what makes the experience that much more moving is exactly how He will choose to show Himself and change your life forever. Having just returned from my third trip to Costa Rica, I am reminded more than ever that you can’t even begin to predict God. We were building a parsonage for a pastor in a small community called La Campiña while staying at a church approximately 45 minutes away. The worksite and where we stayed allowed for much interaction with the local Costa Ricans, and while the labor itself was gratifying, it was interacting with the locals-the kindest, most hospitable I know-that impacted me the most. There were several children wandering about throughout the week: Caleb, Richard, and Alama, to name a few. Playing soccer with them, blowing bubbles, shooting marbles, and inventing new rules to UNO (which suspiciously always ended up with Caleb winning) despite the language barrier offered incredible insight into how we are called to interact as Christians. Even though we came from entirely different backgrounds and hardly spoke a word of each other’s language, the rules of soccer are universal. Laughter and pointing will clear up any miscommunications that might occur. Similarly, we should adapt this outlook in personal lives. In a day and age where tensions are high across the globe, it is important to remember that we are all one body through Christ and even though someone might not have the same background or be able to speak the same language as you doesn’t make either one better. We are equal in the eyes of God and should be able to put aside our differences because something unites us that is stronger and more wonderful than anything that could try to divide us. Playing with and getting the chance to love and be loved by these precious kids touched me to my core. Anyone, regardless of where they are in their faith journey has something to learn from a mission trip and I can guarantee you it won’t be what you expect.

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