Going on missions can be an emotionally and physically taxing time.

As soon as you land where you are working, you can literally be hitting the ground running. Working from sun up to sun down, with little sleep in between, for a week straight.

My last mission trip to Peru with e3 Partners, we were blessed to be able to rest and acclimate to the conditions a day before we headed out, which was a huge blessing when you think about going from ground zero to 11,000 feet above sea level.

While on missions, if you are open enough, God can use this time to teach you some things. From day one, God was using this time to teach me a thing or two….or three. And I’m sure they’ll be more…

1. Slow down.
On our first day back from ministry, we took a taxi back to the hotel. And our driver was flying. We were literally 100 feet away from our hotel when we got “pulled over” by a police officer (which was really a police woman with a whistle standing on the corner). I guess you can consider that being pulled over? Apparently he took a turn WAY too fast and, after all, he had “tourist” in the car. They would hate for anything to happen to us and for it to get in the media apparently. I appreciate that. As our driver argued with the policewoman and tried to get out of the ticket, I continued to look at the clock. We had to get back to the hotel by 8 for dinner, and it was 7:55. We had been there for 10 minutes already…couldn’t they wrap it up already? Could she not move faster? Does she not understand that we have a schedule to follow? People are waiting for us. Dinner is waiting for us.

And that’s when my teammate, James, turns and says, “I think God is trying to teach us something through this.” OK. I get it. God, you are right. Slow down. Don’t worry about being on a “schedule”. Work on HIS timing….not mine. Which goes into my next reflection….

2. Trust Him….completely. Letting go of control.
In our American world, we have been almost trained to expect things “immediately”, and panic when it doesn’t happen now. We have a schedule to keep. Things to do. Errands to run. Every minute has to be filled with something. When we say we will be there at 9 am, we (for the most part) will be there at 9 am, because after all, we’ve got other things to do later. We think the only way things are going to get done is if WE take charge. After all, WE make things happen, right?

When in other countries, like Peru, watches are just jewelry. Time is irrelevant. 9 am means leaving the house at that time on my way to meet you. There is a relaxed feeling. A true feeling of letting everything go and giving God control. That God is going to take care of everything. You need not have a schedule or plan for every minute of the day, but just trust Him and He’ll guide you. Most of the time, we didn’t have an exact plan of what we were going to do or go, which allowed us to trust in God and be guided by Him as He led us to different houses and people that we needed to talk to and be in front of people we needed to be in front of. From the lady we were able to minister to who was Mormon and accepted Christ to the pregnant mom with another young daughter who believed there was a God but didn’t believe there was a Hell, and we had to walk away believing that God would reveal Himself to her. That we would have to let go and trust in Him. We can’t control what others believe. We only need to be obedient to Him and trust that the seed we planted in them will grow.

3. He can use you anywhere, anytime, no matter how you are feeling.
On our flight home, I was seated next to a 16 year old girl named Kelsey who had just spent 2 weeks in a remote location in Peru, along with her dad, working with a different organization helping clean and build a Medical facility. I was physically feeling so drained as I had not slept all night and she started a conversation. Our flight was about 3 hours long…and I believe we talked the whole time.

We talked about the work she had just done, and I shared with her the work E3 Partners does through Community Transformation. I got her thinking about the work they were doing and if it was truly helping them….or hurting. We talked about I am Second as she had never heard about it, which got us talking about religion. She is from Salt Lake City, so she has a lot of Mormon friends. She went to church every once in awhile, but not her family and her haven’t been in awhile. She couldn’t articulate what she believed. Thought there was a God, but wanted to attend a Buddhist temple to get into meditation. I shared my testimony. I shared with her God’s love. I shared the EvangeCube from the app on the iPhone. Yet, there was no decision. No commitment.

The continual “I don’t know”‘s from her and my exhausted eyes continued to frustrate me, but as I pushed on, I remembered the pregnant woman who we had to walk away from and felt a reassurance that God had her and was in control. That I only need to step out in faith and share with her, give her the opportunity to make that decision of whether or not to put her trust in God. To plant that seed and trust that God will water it.

From the time we left Dallas until the time we got back, every moment, every situation, I know God was with me. Walking with me. Revealing Himself to me. Teaching me. And as exhausting as it may be, it’s totally worth it.

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