Five months ago at our August Faith Forum, Matt and I first made the announcement that VU would be embarking on its first international service trip. As usual, I don’t know where the time has gone, but these past five months flew by and what was once just an announcement became a reality Sunday morning. Thirty-three of our co-workers and friends (half from our Kansas office, half from our Columbia office) met in the dark of the morning at the Kansas City airport and together flew from Kansas City to Chicago and then from Chicago to Montego Bay. From there, they took more than 3 tons of donations and traveled for 3 winding hours to the little village of Harmons for a seven-day opportunity to serve Jamaicans alongside one another.
Next week, 30 more of our VU family members will make the same trek – and will be greeted in Jamaica airport by the group serving there this week – before they take that same plane back to KS. I have these visions of the VU reunion in Montego Bay’s little, stuffy airport. I think it will give us a glimpse of what reunions in heaven must be like.
As the time has grown closer for these teams to depart, I think there’s a fair number of us who have said to ourselves, “What in the world have I gotten myself in to?” What sounded like an exciting journey five months ago has become an intimidating trip to a foreign country. So what is it that makes us say yes to these things in the first place?
I think the easiest answer to that question is that God wires us to say YES. In fact, he created us to say yes. As Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “God has placed eternity in every person’s heart.” Author Paul Tripp explains, “That means everyone hungers for paradise. No one is satisfied with things the way they are. So either you try your hardest to turn your life right here, right now into the paradise it will never be and therefore become driven and disappointed, or you live in this broken world with the rest and peace that comes from knowing that a guaranteed place in paradise is in your future. You’re sad that things are as broken as they are, so you work to be an agent of change in God’s gracious and powerful hands, but you’re not anxious or driven. You know that this world is not stuck and that it hasn’t been abandoned by God. You know that God is working his eternal plan. He is moving things toward their final conclusion. You can’t see it every day, but you know it’s true.”
Ghandi echoed this sentiment when he said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
So whether you find yourself saying YES to a mission trip to Jamaica, serving dinner to the homeless at Loaves and Fishes or walking through a difficult season with a friend, keep the faith. Be encouraged knowing that there is something deep within you that recognizes the brokenness of the world and without even understanding it, you respond with “YES.” God is working his eternal plan and you are a part of it.
God doesn’t just call us to say yes to service, but he also calls us to prayer. In fact Philippians 4:6 says to be anxious about nothing, but with a heart of thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Would you please join me in taking a few minutes every day, maybe even the first 5 minutes when you get to your desk in the morning, to stop and pray for those serving in Jamaica?
Take a look at the picture. Find your friends. Pray for them. Look at the unfamiliar faces and pray for them too. Pray for the lives that they will serve and touch and that VU’s bright light of enhancing lives shines – even in Jamaica. Pray for safety. Pray for the release of anxiety and fears for those going. Pray for the family members and children left behind these two weeks. Pray that God will give everyone energy to sustain the hard work ahead of them, with grace and patience.
You can also keep up with the group by following the Won By One to Jamaica Facebook page.
And thanks for saying YES!