Mission Trip Blues (part 2)

Ben —  July 14, 2011 — 17 Comments

If you’ve talked to Kim and I prior to visiting Venezuela, you would know that without a shadow of a doubt we were going to submit our formal application to adopt a little boy from outside of the US, and that the trip would help us understand more that what we are trying to do is the right thing, and God’s will.

However, if you talk to us now you would hear the voices of uncertainty.

Something inside of us is stirring, and we can’t really put a finger on it, so we’re going to wait a bit longer. We’re going to sit still and listen to what God has to say about this tension that is within us. Understand this hesitation is not out of fear, but out of pure obedience that God may be trying to tell us something, something worth hearing. So as for Adoption goes, it’s not that we want to stop, but we definitely don’t want to move forward just yet.

This past week and a half has been full of emotions, hence the reason I tried to stay away from posting anything last week purely out of emotion. Granted, I still wrote a little but I didn’t want to hit that blue “publish” button just yet so I could just sit on my thoughts.

In thinking about wanting to “do more” for the boys down at Project Jonas, and wanting to go back down to visit them one more time to see if we can help in any other way possible, I was talking with Andrew about the reasons why we would actually go visit, or why we visited at all in the first place.

When thinking about it a little more, the feeling of being selfish and “touristy” seemingly overwhelmed my thoughts. I mean, who are we that we can comfortably go visit these boys who were sent to the Project Jonas, connect with them for a week, and then leave back to our comfortable homes here in the USA? What kind of lasting impact did that have on their lives? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting any of the work we did at all, or any of the groups work for that matter, I’m just thinking… what did we REALLY accomplish?

If you would have been there on the last night when we were saying our Goodbye’s, all I could think about is “Man, I’m really going to miss wrestling with the boys in the pool, or playing soccer, or just plain loving on them,” but in their minds…only God knows what they were thinking about us.

In 1 week: We came, we made it a point to connect, we left.

Some of us cried because in true short-term mission fashion, these boys touched our lives in ways they could never have imagined. I can only hope and pray that they were crying for the same good reasons.

Combine this train of thought, with the tension of adopting and you have this literal brain storm that is going on inside of our minds, where we ask ourselves:

How can we make that difference instead of just making a point?

17 responses to Mission Trip Blues (part 2)

  1. I liked what Andy Stanley said a few series ago about going deep… instead of shallow. Visit Venezuela again, make one of the boys your boy to invest in somehow… Karen and I each have kind of chosen one… I don’t know how, financially, prayerfully, but it’s cool to choose.

    • To choose… Interesting… but how can we? It’s like choosing a favorite of our own children! I get what you’re saying, and I have an idea who I’ll definitely be praying for specifically.

      Thanks for your awesome comment Mark.

  2. i agree with mark. that’s how we feel about spain. we have partnered with pepe and mari in eternity’s work. they are our partners in prayer, financially, and in ministry. one week a year may not seem like much, but some of my best friends are in spain and some of my deepest relationships are with people who live half a world away. this time will seem like the blink of an eye when we’re with them in heaven. and we’ll see how God multiplied the work we did in those few weeks to have ripple effects through eternity.

    • Steph, thanks for your comment! In hearing bits and pieces from Shaun, I’m inspired to invest as you have, and it’s encouraging to remember that this here earth is but only a short moment.

  3. still contemplating that questions myself. maybe ill wait need another week.

  4. I was going to say the same thing as Mark and Steph. We chose a boy to sponsor. We pray for him (and all the boys) daily and have made contact with the mother to let her know our decision. We all wish we could have taken the boys back home. Since that’s not possible, we pray for them and do as much as we can for them from here. Sorry your struggling friend.

    • That’s so awesome about letting the mother know your intentions, I’m curious as to how she reacted, or how she even took it?

  5. I love that you have this “discomfort” in your heart. That’s my beef with “visit” missionary trips. You go, drop, come back. Live life normal again. That’s not cool.

    The fact that you feel a connection, that you are trying to identify and continue to establish that connection with those boys is the heart of the matter (pun intended). If there is any way of making that a lifetime relationship with those kids go for it.

    I go to the Dominican Republic to visit an elderly home and an orphanage every year. Connecting with those kids and those old ladies tears me apart. I can’t just forget about them. That’s the heart of Christ.

    I love that you feel this way, that’s a GREAT thing. Same to Kim.

    • “Vacation on Purpose” is what North Point calls them sometimes, and it’s interesting because I often felt like a tourist.

      Your trip to the DR must be pretty awesome, I’ve been a couple of times to Bavaro. Where do you go exactly?

  6. I really like your discomfort. I always wonder about short-term mission trips. Not that I think they’re bad, but I just wonder what the lasting impact is. Similar to most summer camps.

    I have no answers, but I am praying for you, Ben. This is a good tension to sit in. God has a plan here, and it sounds like you are ready to jump into it

    • Dude, I didn’t even think about that… I’ve done PLENTY of summer camps as a counselor, and I never really got the counselors who got all hyped after the kids left because I felt we should be there with them, walking with them back in their environments.

      What a great comparison, but now what do we do about it?

      I’m definitely ready to jump, just not until He says…

  7. Little brother, heard him last year, was reminded today of this and thought of you and sis.

    “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if he doesn’t come through.” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love

    Stay uncomfortable. Love you.

    • This quote sounds like the one he did on the Balance beam, is it?

      Thanks for your words Slamalami, wish we could have had more time here in GA to “talkboutit.”

  8. How can we make that difference instead of just making a point?

    Ben, I can’t even get past this question to answer.

    These boys in Venezuela don’t need the rich American’s money. They need you. (They need people like you.)

    Making that point can truly be you making the difference, Ben.

    • What’s funny, is without question, and without words they will let you know it is indeed “you” that they need. The connection from the all of the letters they received, that didn’t cost a dime are something they keep in their pockets every day (I’m told).

  9. Hey Ben- as soon as we pulled out of the lot at the farm that night- I asked Brina “What do you think these boys really think at this moment?” It was like we came to help and to love but then leave so soon back to our normal lives. We can only pray that they understand we want to help and share Gods love and that our giving hearts (as well as those who supported us to make that trip possible) help grow their hearts in the same manner. That is making the difference. We made a point by going- we made a difference by loving and setting an example. What are some of the most influencial times in your life? Are they a time period of years? Or are they specific moments that really impacted your heart and mind? For me, its moments. And even though we were only there for a moment- we made a difference.
    I am praying for your family and the decisions ahead of you. You guys have such big hearts and so much joy to share. Which ever way God leads you to share that love and joy will make a difference. Miss yall!

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