Archives For Mission Trip 2014

You might be a recovering short-term missionary if…

1. You’re still wearing the long skirts you wore in Africa because you realize they really are so comfortable… and no one can see your berenstain-bear-level of hairy bristles you once called legs. bonus!

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2. You have a deer-stuck-in-the-headlights look on your face. Yeah, even you see it in the mirror. “I don’t know what is happening to me, but I know it’s gonna hurt. Brace for impact!!!’

3. You don’t know how to answer, ‘How was your trip?’ so you just say, ‘It was good; hard but good.” You don’t want to trivialize it to the point of it just being an adventure or mere vacation, because you didn’t rough it as much as you thought you would. Yet you also don’t want to over-share, fearing that your friends will from now on run the other way when they see you & your extra-long skirt trotting down the grocery story aisle or at upcoming school activities.

What happens here, stays here… lest I over-share.

What happens here, stays here…                            lest I over-share.

4. You have never in your life been so excited to see a Chick-Fil-A (and that’s saying something). It’s like you’re not officially back in America if you haven’t made two necessary stops from the airport: Chick-Fil-A & Starbucks. Granted, you feel bad that you haven’t even left the airport yet and you’re already stuffing your face with first-world luxuries. But still you do.

Side note: My friend & I happened to be rerouted overnight through Atlanta on our way to Johannesburg (after our flight was cancelled) a few weeks ago. We made the best of it, encouraging each other “Hey! At least we can wake up tomorrow from the #notellmotel {thanks for that United Airlines!} and get airport Chick-Fil-A for breakfast!!!” Our dreams were crushed when a lady overheard us talking about CFA on the tram ride… she said, “Um, it’s Sunday.” WHAT??? I didn’t lose my salvation but I’d never in my life wanted a business owner to be more of a heathen… pretty sure Jesus would want his chicken sandwich on Sundays too.

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5. You’re kinda pissed off. At yourself. At your ‘blessings’. At America. At your church. At First-World issues that distract us from dying children… see #4. For the first few days & weeks, you are confused, frustrated & your heart is breaking. You can’t quite reconcile how just hours & days prior to this you witnessed some of the most difficult of circumstances, yet some of the strongest and most joyful people you’ve ever met. And how on earth are you supposed to share those stories with grace & joy?

Isabel & toddler selfies!

Isabel & toddler selfies!

In a nutshell, you’re wrecked for the ordinary.

Jeff Goins, in his Manifesto for Misfits describes being wrecked like this:

To be “wrecked” is to be disabused of the status quo. It means to have a redemptive transformation, often catalyzed by a brush with the pain of a dying world. The process is anything but pretty. It’s harsh and real and painfully honest. Finding out who you are and what your place is feels like a sweater unwinding thread-by-thread. Your old life begins to make less and less sense in light of your new priorities, and it seems futile to rebuild the old way of living.

At first, it’s disorienting—maybe even distracting. It calls out of you the greatest parts of you— the parts you might be afraid to let out.

To be wrecked begins with an experience. It pulls you out of your comfort zone and, consequently, out of self-centeredness. Whether you want it or not, this is what happens—your old narcissistic dreams begin to fade in light of something bigger, something better. The process leaves you with a paradigm that is still left standing after the “real world” has slammed into your ideals a couple dozen times. It’s hard, but only because all things worth fighting for are hard. Being wrecked means that everything you believe about this world, yourself, and your destiny is now in question. Because you’ve seen something larger.

In the end, you’re not who you were before. You’re different. You’re changed. You may even feel like your old values have been, in a sense, ruined by this new worldview. As confusing or as difficult as that may sound, it’s a good thing. 

I encourage you to read the full Manifesto for Misfits which can be downloaded here.

It’s incredibly insightful & encouraging.

This post was originally intended to bring some light-hearted levity to what can be a difficult transition between two continents & realities that you desperately love. But I’m seeing there are very little resources for those who return from short-term missions, especially those endeavoring to do it ‘right’; in a way that honors both God & those who have so graciously allowed you into their lives. If nothing else, I hope you, short-term missionary with your unshaven legs, can see that you are not alone in the difficulties of re-entry. Allow the Lord to continue His good work in you. It’s not over just because you have returned from Africa! No, no no! Jesus said ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…” Today, wherever you are, there is a world of people all around you waiting to hear the good news of the Gospel! Go! Live His love BIG in your family, your school, your neighborhood and your workplace!

Shine On!

Danielle

5 SScreen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.07.17 PMigns You Might Be Going on a Short Term Mission Trip 

1. You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into, but you’re excited about it!!!

2. You share every. single. blog. and. article. relating. in. any. way. to. extreme. poverty. and. missions…

On LinkedIn, FacebookTwitter… and Google+ in case anybody’s there.

3. You begin to use words & phrases like ‘called’, ‘love on some orphans’ (please stop!), ’empowerment’ and the newest ‘self-sustainability’… you don’t really understand what they mean, but you know it’s good. And you somehow work them into every conversation. Even the gas station attendants know you’re going to Africa!

4. It’s 36 hours before you leave, yet you are incessantly cleaning your house from top to bottom, paying overdue bills & getting your affairs in order, you know, just in case! The worst thing that could ever happen… your mother-in-law sees what a mess your life really is.

5. You’ve got your obnoxiously bright ‘Africa’ fundraiser T-shirt on, so as to match the dozen other team members ~ leaving no doubt for ANYone why you & your matching friends are boarding the plane! For the record, my teams are NOT allowed to wear these at the airport anymore! We want to fly under the radar, you know, blend in with all the other regular sinners & snorers!

Okay, there’s really six… (my smarty pants husband accurately assessed this one)

6. If you’re procrastinating packing to write a witty blog post…you might be heading to Africa! 

Would you add anything to the list?

Shine On!

Danielle

ps. T-2 days til Africa!!!

Doing It Scared.

July 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.26.01 PMIn just a few days we depart for Swaziland, Africa, with our team of 11 people.

In all realness & honesty, I feel ill-equipped, small & scared for many aspects of this journey. Will I lead this team well? Will I act justly for the sake of the Swazi people I’ve grown to love? Are we really helping them? What is justice anyway? And how do we DO justice as it pertains to this small nation of Swaziland? I fear I will screw it up. I fear I’ll lead in a first-world way. I fear I’ll take over or try to fix what they don’t want fixed. I fear I’ll accidentally trample on their dignity or respond in an arrogant way. I want to do this right. I want to humbly serve. I want to learn. So I’m doing this. I’m doing this scared.

Yet, here I am. The Team Leader. I’m supposed to know & have the answers, right??? I am not just a travel guide. I want to cultivate, nurture & guide this team so they may truly partake of what real missions is. This scares me. I want to get it right. But who am I to attempt to show anybody else what I’m still learning myself?  I know the Lord wants me to invest in the team, in the sponsors & online supporters as much as He wants us to invest in the children we are going to be with. I’m created to be a catalyst of change, a liaison to cultivate hope, and an advocate that spreads His love to the ends of the earth. I know this. It scares me. But I’m doing it anyway. I’m doing it scared. Doing it scared forces me to rely on the Lord for His leading & wisdom. I think it’s called faith.

“There is no perfect answer when it comes to doing justice. God does not require a bleeding heart or a passionate calling. We can go scared. We can start small. We can move reluctantly, because God will capture our hearts with or without our permission. We may certainly act imperfectly; faithfully serving the poor and prioritizing their dignity and intrinsic worth is a complicated road with many false starts. I have loved sincerely, but poorly, in my journey with the vulnerable.” Jessica Honegger, found of Noonday Collection, creating economic opportunity for the vulnerable around the world.

So yeah, I’m scared. It scares me in a good way, if I let it. It pushes me to You, Lord.

This is me crying out you Lord.

Not my way. Yours.

Not my plan. Yours.

Not my voice. Yours.

I’m convinced I can not live this life you created me for without fully relying on you. So when fear tries to cripple me, I look to You. You have equipped me to walk this path, flaws and all, and I’m humbled by your mercy that allows me to do so. I go with a healthy fear, an awareness, that despite of myself, Jesus you are bringing freedom & justice to the world.

Each of us have this battle within. Wanting to get it right. Wanting to show true & lasting love. I encourage you whatever fear is staring you in the face today, this week, this month ~ let it propel you to Him. Run to God. While He won’t show you all the answers at once, He is with you just as He is with me. Isn’t that enough? The promise of His presence? So even if it seems impossible to get through… do it. Do it scared. You’ve got the King of Kings right there with you. He’s bigger than all the fear.

Shine On!

Danielle

ps. please be praying for our team! If you want to hear the stories, see the photos, get the updates, subscribe to this blog (top right column). Also, as we have wifi access, we’ll post on our Facebook Page Bheveni Carepoint Community/Children’s HopeChest. Go ‘like’ it and select ‘get notifications’ so you don’t miss a beat! #createhope2014

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 9.00.12 AMTake my hand

We’ll make it, I swear!

Ohh! Ohh!

Livin’ on a prayer!

{Bon Jovi, chapter 1, verse 3, Hard Rock Version}

If you are a product of the late 1980s, early 90s, you know this song. Even if you were raised holy… you know the kind of home that did not allow Halloween costumes, rock music, Smurfs or especially the sounds of Scooby Doo to permeate the peace of your home. You may not have been allowed to trick-or-treat, but you knew the chorus of Livin’ on a Prayer, despite your parents best intentions to protect your virgin ears. Bon Jovi was everywhere. *swoon*

And for the record, your parents were probably listening to it when you weren’t in the car!  I know this because my radio station is set according to when the kids are or are not in the car. Can I help it that I like P!nk? Or Usher, usher, usher? Murderous love songs by Bruno Mars? Yes I’m sure I can, but sometimes you just need to cut loose and feel the beat… it doesn’t have to be your life’s anthem and it doesn’t mean you’re going to hell if you still know 98% of the words to Ice, Ice Baby. Alright Stop. Collaborate and listen…

Wait, what was the point of this post?

Oh yeah, prayer.

We need prayer. I need prayer. (if you didn’t already figure that for yourself, after reading the first two paragraphs!)

The Bible says God uses the foolish, ordinary things of this world to confound the wise. I think of this verse so often because I am foolish and ordinary. I really am. Only my closest family & friends know how true this is. Apart from Jesus, I have nothing to offer. And thank GOD for that! Jesus really is the only One worth living for anyway!

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Right click to save this to your Mac desktop!

Now that you are armed with the knowledge I just shared… I beg for your prayers as Mike & I follow Jesus where He’s called us (& our team) once again… to the other side of the earth for 12 days to Swaziland, Africa. I woke extra early this morning with the realization that all of this preparation, all the gathering of supplies, all the coordinating of sponsor letters & cards Here are a few!… it is all because of prayers answered by our Heavenly Father who has brought us all together. Glory to God!

It’s not the prayer alone. It’s the One-Who-Answers-The-Prayers that has made all the difference, who is orchestrating this particular mission & is seeing to it that children of Swaziland, who once thought themselves forgotten, can no longer wonder if they are loved with extravagant, reach-across-the-world kind of love. God goes to great lengths to show His love, doesn’t He? He asks no less of us. For some, it’s a great length to knock on the neighbor’s door and invite them over for a bonfire. For others, it’s a farther distance, but the same faith & boldness are needed for both, so that God’s love can shine through us; not as ones who come to rescue, but simply come to build relationship.

Our team leaves for Swaziland, Africa this week. We hail from Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, and even Minnesota! Will you pray for us & the children?

I’ve made this snazzy daily prayer bookmark. I know, be jealous. I’ve had no professional training in the graphic arts. Yet, this Word document bookmark exists somehow. Jesus.

Here it is…. please, if you haven’t already, start praying cuz

Ohhhhhh! We’re halfway there!!! Ohh-ohh! We’re Livin’ on a prayer!!!

Shine On!

Danielle