I was scheduled to lead a mission trip to Honduras this week (working with Buckner International and Show Hope). But political unrest impacted our ability to travel, and the trip has been rescheduled for next June. Rather than simply fill our time with “regular life” stuff, three of the trip participants (Ashley Meleen, Alicia Carter, and Courtney Nowakowski) and I decided to create our own homemade mission experience. We stayed at CampRockNow (my house), and served at Texas Baptist Children’s Home/Children at Heart Ministries, along with spending time with a hero dad and his family (he’s being deployed to Iraq, leaving his precious wife and two little girls). I have to say as we end the week, I’m a little sad it flew by so quickly. We’re ready to work on homemade mission trip – the sequel.
So, our team came up with our list of the 50 blessings of a homemade hometown mission trip. Hopefully our list won’t offend anyone – I mean, unless you have been in a van driving down winding roads during rainy season, you might wonder where the references to driving, signs, Dramamine, and mudslides come in. And at the end of the day, we encourage you to get off the couch, get uncomfortable, know-love-serve…in your own hometown.
1. We recycled – it IS Austin, you know.
2. We got to cook – and eat – and share our food.
3. We got to eat the veggies – and the ice.
4. We ate yummy steak and great potatoes.
5. We could read the signs, and got to drive our own cars.
6. We STILL got to eat Central American Taco Bell – tacos con papas y queso.
7. We got to define our dress code. That meant tank tops, sundresses, and shorts.
8. Dogs were welcome. And they were friendly.
9. We had cupcakes for breakfast.
10. We could – and did- put our food on the floor without fear.
11. We didn’t have to take Dramamine.
12. Diet Dr Pepper was available.
13. Food Network.
14. No international roaming or data charges (that’s HUGE).
15. We showered without flip-flops.
16. We slept in air-conditioned comfort without bug spray or mosquito nets.
17. We learned all good things start with a bag of Idahoan potatoes.
18. We played at the lake.
19. We STILL had juice boxes.
20. We STILL got to speak Spanish, and now know “el nino y su perro juegan.”
21. We didn’t have to take Dramamine.
22. We didn’t have to take Immodium.
23. We didn’t get head lice, parasites, or poison anything.
24. We weren’t held at gunpoint by strange folks with makeshift AK-47s (OK, so that has never happend, though Courtney and I did see a soldier standing with Ronald McDonald once)
25. We didn’t get delayed at the airport.
26. We didn’t have jet-lag.
27. We didn’t have that lingering fear our government would be thrown into turmoil (still praying for you, Honduras!)
28. We STILL got mission-tired and dirty and sweaty enough to have that nasty salty thing happening.
29. No curfews.
30. We STILL got to play with school supplies and backpacks.
31. We loved our banos.
32. Our camp facilities ROCKED.
33. We didn’t have to ride on a bus or a van.
34. We didn’t have to make that “I’m trying to understand” face when listening to others speak.
35. No mudslides.
36. We STILL got to Wal-Mart (note to WalMart: you may have a new logo, but you’re still WalMart).
37. No avalanches.
38. Elf without subtitles.
39. No torrential rain (OK, we would have taken a little rain).
40. We saw God in the smiles and hugs of moms and children.
41. We learned God does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called.
42. We saw God perfectly craft each and every task we were allowed to do – we each got to use our gifts and talents!
43. Not only were our prayers answered, we got to be an answer to prayer!
44. We got to care for a family and honor a hero who was going to war.
45. We got to watch a daddy really love his daughters and make them laugh.
46. We cooked meals for 14 families.
47. We baked treats for two ministry staffs.
48. We filled backpacks with school supplies for lots of kids.
49. We organized activity time for school-aged children.
50. We experienced James 1:27 full-on.
51. We found joy in NOT going to Honduras.