What now?


We’re back safe and sound. All eight of us. All eighty fingers and eighty toes fully intact. I hope you enjoyed reading the blog and catching a glimpse, with pictures and videos, of our week at the Emmanuel Children’s Home in Juarez, Mexico. It was a BLAST! Thanks for the prayers of safety and protection. Most importantly, though, thanks for your prayers on our actual trip and our experience at the home and with the kids.
For trip returners and “newbies” alike, encountering God in new ways and on deeper levels happens at this place.

One of our trip members summarized it well by simply stating, “It’s a perspective changer.”
Indeed, it is.

As oftentimes is the case with any short-term mission trip, the challenge does not arise during the trip, but shortly after. What are we to do now? How would God have me respond in light of everything I have experienced? How can I live a life of long-term missions in my everyday life and routine?
It’s a tough question and one I’ve wrestled with on many occasions. While there is no one-size-fits-all equation that works for everybody, I think there’s a few principles that can apply to all of us—principles that all Christians should practice in their lives, whether they’ve been to Juarez or not.

  1. Challenge yourself in new ways to be INTENTIONALLY uncomfortable. For the kids at the home (and in many—I’d argue most–pockets around the world), comfort is determined by forces outside of their control. They cannot change the fact that they have no mom or dad, or that they were raped or abused horrifically or that their city is in shambles….(this is but a short list.)
    But for us in Minnesota, it’s quite different. Comfort is all we know—as we define “discomfort” in terms of whether or not our cars have heated seats or if we’re forced to watch non-HD college basketball on television during March Madness. I think we need to be INTENTIONAL about being UNCOMFORTBALE because, in the end, we do have it good. (If you’re reading this blog, you have it good!)
    God has entrusted us with resources, skills, talents, passions, abilities that He desires for us to use for His glory. And if Christ’s example shows us anything, sacrifice (i.e.—discomfort) is an active ingredient in a God-honoring life. Maybe that means giving beyond the 10%,  sacrificing your precious Thursday nights of The Office or Gray’s to volunteer with an urban ministry, or giving up your cable and instead sponsoring two kids from an international compassion organization. This can take shape in countless ways. It’s not about everybody doing the same thing, but is about everybody discovering for themselves way(s) in which their God desires of them to steward their time, talents and treasures. Even in “radical” ways…
  2. Be intentional about prayer for the entire world. I read a good book lately (Radical by David Platt) which encourages Christians to prayer for the entire world in one year. (Every country throughout one calendar year.) Pray big. Pray specific. Pray relentlessly. It may seem like a heavy endeavor, but what would the world look like if more Christians set out to pray with the whole world in mind—not just the littler personal bubble that fits you and little else?

It’s the season of Lent, a time where Christians around the world observe and celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. What a perfect time for us to begin (or continue) the journey of taking up our cross, following Him as we live lives of sacrifice and discomfort—putting the needs of others ahead of our own.