Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything – and I do mean everything – connected with that old life has to go. It’s rotten through and through.
Get rid of it.
(The May 2013 Long Hollow Haiti Mission Team: Abigail Broderick, Frank Broderick, Garrett Davis, Jim Elliot, Pamela Ferguson, Abigail Gregory, Kim Mitchell, Kim Powers, Chris and Jamie Turbeville, Stephanie Willis, and Dale and Tami Heim.)
When God calls you to “Go” you know there is no turning back. His summons comes without confusion and escorts you to an intentional place in your life and in His plan. So it is for this team of thirteen during these last days of May. Five are here for the first time, one is on her second trip, and the rest have already lived out many days here in the past.
One thing remains true for all us. It begins with the crowded bus ride down the humanity-packed streets of Port-Au-Prince. Ignorance falls away from the untouched and unrecognizable places of the heart. The pictures from magazines, flyers, and videos you often see on big screens in church take on flesh. What’s real has never been more real and whoever you are now – you already know you won’t be the same after this week ends.
Your heart breaks faster than the your mind can process. New perspective crowds out old thinking and through the lenses of this world, you see your own in staggering contrast. What you are experiencing begins to reset the mold for how you think and will choose to live from this point forward.
And then take on an entirely new way of life – a god-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct, as God accurately produces his character in you.
We gather and pray often. Each time we do, someone asks God to let us be the hands and feet of Jesus. Those same words leave my lips and as soon as they do I am overwhelmed by the weight of them. Because I have spoken them, I activate the possibility of what will happen when the request is granted.
It’s evening and a team tradition begins. Each person shares the unforgettable moments from the day. Those who have come before are drawn back to their first trip through the stories of those who experience this place for the first time. Everyone has a chance to contribute to the conversation. While we are at different places sorting through the emotions and putting it all together, God is carefully at work completing the small details of His bigger story
Wooden beads are placed on the center table. Three types of beads fill the plastic box, one represents compassion, another service, and the last one symbolizes leadership. Every day, we each select the name of someone on the team from a travel-worn envelope. The assignment is simple. Witness how the person you draw demonstrates one of these Christ-like characteristics, report back to the group and present the bead to the person you picked.
It’s time to present the beads and the exchange is a mixture of laughter, tears, and lots of loving-kindness.
A father is moved by his daughter’s compassion.
A friend showers encouragement on a beloved friend.
A wife recounts the acts of service she witnessed in her husband.
A young team member respects the selfless actions of the team leader.
A friend weeps as another one speaks of how her presence here makes a difference.
Thirteen beads later, we move closer to each other and closer to God’s design for us.
What this adds up to then is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to your self.
The action of one in the body impacts many. Our team this week is tiny in number but mighty in heart. We work in harmony with gratitude and praise. We are raw and vulnerable before each other and the God we serve.
What difference can you make when you are connected to the mind and heart of God?
This week in Haiti, we are learning.
So much is possible. If you feel God calling you, we lovingly encourage you to sign up for a mission trip today. Don’t miss this part of God’s plan.
Living to Serve,
*Scripture Text: Ephesians 4:22-24 The Message