“How was your mission trip?”
It is such a simple question yet so hard to put a week’s worth of experience and impact into a few sentences. No words seem to give clarity to the whole experience. I too find myself in this position when asked to share about my recent trip. We had a week full of setbacks logistically, but in true fashion, God used those moments to propel us forward in the direction He always had planned for us.
One such setback was the canceling of a medical clinic day. At the last minute, the officials of this area demanded that we pay an unreasonable amount of money to hold the clinic. We refused and our plans crumbled. We held our hands open to God and He placed new plans in them which included meeting with a gathering of expectant moms. They had many questions and personal concerns. Once our OB doctor answered in public forum, many requested private discussions with her. We were able to accommodate that and did so for hours that morning. The rest of the team was able to have personal interactions with the mothers about more spiritual and emotional things. Because the clinic had been cancelled, we had time to listen and encourage.
That afternoon the pastor had set up several visits to some homes with sick families. We split into small groups and walked through the community. We had private conversations and personal discussions about health, and were able to go deeper in conversation regarding the family’s needs. I found that once they shared personal health issues, it was easy to go to other deep levels faster. As we finished our home visits, we found others had come or asked for the doctor to visit their sick family member. Our “ruined plans” turned into an afternoon of personal, unhurried ministry of health concerns and encouragement.
We played with the kids, held the hands of the sick, we encouraged the caregivers and prayed for them all. It was a very personal time of ministry. We may not have impacted the masses in the way we’d planned, but we engaged in the God-ordained personal ministry of caring for the individual. I was reminded that when you keep your hands open, God puts things in them that go above and beyond our feeble plans and into His great design.