Now Begins the Longer Journey

Reflections on the Mission Trip

Well, we are finally home.  Our travels included one final flight from Los Angeles to Kansas City, a bus ride from Kansas City to Springfield, and then another small bus ride from Springfield to Sparta.  When we pulled up to the church I could see my family gathered with the others.  It made me very happy to see my family waiting for me in Sparta.  It was a joy to see them, swoop them in my arms and give them both a hug and a kiss after a long time away.

It was also a time of goodbyes for those whom I have traveled with through this amazing journey.  There is no explanation for the evolution of friendship you feel for those who you share the mission experience with.  After a few days of time spent together, you become lifelong friends and family. We have laughed together, cried together, hugged one another, prayed together, and heard each other’s fears, doubts and weaknesses.  Above all that though, we have served with one another in the eye of God’s will and for that reason we are closer than most friends could ever hope to be.

Now that I am home, I begin the longer journey.  I believe this is the hardest task.  For what we have seen, what we have heard and what we have been a part of cannot quickly be forgotten, even if that is what we wish for.  Any time spent in the eye of God’s will should have lifelong implications.  It should leave you changed by exposure to His glory. For Moses, his face shined. His focus on God and his obedience to God’s will was evident to the people around him, so much so that Moses had to cover his face.

I don’t know about you, but I want my face to shine.  I want the light of Jesus to be so bright within me that it radiates from me and penetrates the world around me.  I want to be obviously unique because of my relationship to Christ.  I want to be different from the world I live in because I have spent time in obedience to God’s will.

In the coming days, I will have more time to reflect and ponder these last two weeks in Nicaragua.  Right now, I feel disoriented and out of place. Like I am trying to live in two different worlds at the same time. This is a normal feeling after a return from a mission trip.  As I acclimate back into my community, I will begin to reflect on what God has shown me and the direction He has given to me.

However, what I do not want to do is to set aside all that I have learned, and not use it again until I return to Nicaragua.  The mission trip may be over, but the mission of God never ends.  My prayer is that I would continue to carry forward with God’s mission with that same devotion each day, no matter my geographic location. I think if one is truly living for God and has placed it all on the line for the cross of Christ, then we should feel just as foreign here at home as we do in Nicaragua, Brazil, or any other place on Earth.  God has called us to live in this world, but be not of the world.

I will be posting more in the days to come as I spend time with my Lord and Savior in prayer and meditation. For now, it is hasta luego to my friends and family in Nicaragua.  May God keep you safe until I see you again soon.

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2 thoughts on “Now Begins the Longer Journey

  1. Gwen it has been an honor to become family with you, Joe and the rest of our team. You put into words that I have not been able to process yet. As I keep thinking of this trip I believe it was the amazing ! God put us together this year for healing and clarification for our future. It was perfect in every way! When I saw Joe tear up while telling me of a new relationship it reminded me of my 1st trip and how Nicaragua changed my life and how I live today. As I set here now with tears now I know that God is just washing my eyes so I can see clearly what he has planned for my future. Thank you for leading me back to my Bible. I love you all !