My family has always taken vacations of sorts. Every year, and sometimes more, we would make our pilgrimage to the beaches in the panhandle of Florida. When my kids were little, my wife’s Dad had a condo there. Needless to say, we went every time we could get away. Occasionally we would venture somewhere else, but the panhandle always seemed to be our vacay spot of choice. Even after he sold his condo, we still go when we can. In fact, any time I would bring up going somewhere like the mountains, I was always met with resistance. The beach was our thing. Fast forward.
In 20o9 I began having a recurring thought. I need to take my family on a mission trip. It was persistent, but not overly. I ignored it for a while, but it didn’t stop. I shelved it under “maybe when the kids are older”. It didn’t stop. Over the next year or so, I would bring it up with the fam and get shot down. The pull of the beach was just too strong. I guess I could have forced the issue, but having some buy-in is always a better route.
By 2011, I couldn’t ignore this “Mission Trip” thought. The Lord pressed me to the point that I knew I couldn’t procrastinate any longer without being disobedient. It was Him. He was calling.
I hooked up with Family Missions Company in Abbeville Louisiana and set up a trip. We went to Mexico with a group of young adults and had an absolutely amazing trip. I guess me as a dad wanted my kids to see “how poor people lived” or “learn how to serve”. Blah, blah, blah. Those things did happen, and they were good in and of themselves, but that was the smallest part of the trip by far.
Here were the biggest:
- My son had a major conversion and became a full-time missionary with NET Ministries where he met his wife.
- My oldest daughter developed a love of foreign missions and became active in ministry at her high school and in college. She now is serving as a summer missionary with Life Teen.
- My youngest daughter (12 at the time) knew that God had spoken to her.
- Remember the young adults we went with? They were missionaries with Life Teen. They provided a witness of college kids on fire for Jesus. Something that my wife and I couldn’t do. We weren’t cool.
- God used my family to model what a stable Godly family can be. Some of the young adults had deep wounds from their own broken homes.
Certainly, we did good while we were there. We had service projects, we gave our testimonies to the people, we prayed with them, we sang with them, and because we had a priest in the group we were able to bring the sacraments to them.
This blew me away: one of the main things we did as Catholic missionaries was assure the people that the Church has not forgotten about them. I live in an area in Louisiana that I can go to any of 5 parishes that have daily mass at anytime during the day. Where we were in Mexico, there was 2 priests at the parish in the town we were in. They were responsible for 50+/- ranchos (small communities) in the area. The people in those communities were lucky to see a priest or have mass twice a year.
The Lord has brought us on many trips since then, and we drag as many people as we can on them with us. In fact, next week we are bringing a group of graduates from our local Catholic high school to Ecuador. I am humbled to be able to help them go, but more so to be around young people desiring to love and serve Jesus in the poorest of the poor. They inspire me! Anyway, please pray for us, and I’ll hopefully have some interviews to put up on the podcast, and some pictures when we get back!
Would you ever consider giving God a chance to work through you in foreign missions? Or let Him work in you?
Put Out Into The Deep!