I’m going on a mission trip. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve gone on a mission trip, and I found out a few Sundays ago that the absolute deadline to register was, well, the Tuesday after. I’ve been a little bit torn of late on mission trips; people spend lots of money to go spend a week far from home and yet, there’s a mission field right around them. I know what my mission field is: It’s 20somethings and 30somethings in South St. Louis County. And trust me: There are lots of them.
Sometimes they come to church, and no one talks to them. How do they feel? You can’t really generalize. I try to talk to some of them, but I’m an extreme introvert and there are usually more of them than there are of me. And they have ways of sitting so far apart in the sanctuary that basically you have to pick one single or couple, go talk to him/her/them, and that’s all you’ll get to talk to that Sunday. Sometimes you see the people you didn’t get a chance to talk to the next Sunday. And sometimes you don’t.
St. John’s Lutheran in Ellisville has a sign in the parking lot as you exit. It reads: You are now entering the mission field. Very true. But what I want are signs inside the church that read: You are still in the mission field.
So I laid it out really plain and simple to God. The door was closing on my opportunity to go. If He didn’t want me to go, there were plenty of opportunities for Him to close that door. I had a project going on the week of the meeting. I wasn’t sure if I could get off work. Those were big obstacles. They both fell far more easily than I thought they would. I nearly finished the project, which was supposed to take me all week, on Monday night. And I went into work, checked the vacation calendar, and no one else in my department had booked a single vacation that month. So I had the week clear more than a week in advance. I didn’t need any more confirmation than that.
I’m going to Belle Glade, Florida, in June, accompanied by about 40 of my cohorts from Faith Lutheran Church in south suburban St. Louis. We’ll be partnering up with a local missionary group down there, and, in conjunction with one or two local churches, putting on a Vacation Bible School. That’s our main focus. But auxilliary ministries always have ways of popping up where there are VBSs. So we have no idea what else we’ll be doing, other than we’ll be doing other things. It will probably run the gamut from construction to one-on-one individual ministry. The group we’re working with has been in Belle Glade for several years and has made a big difference in the community. We just want to be a part of that.
Those of you who pray, we would greatly appreciate if you would keep us and the two communities in Belle Glade that we’ll be serving in your prayers. (And Mom, I promise we’ll stay away from the alligators, if there even are any alligators in Belle Glade.)
This trip isn’t going to be cheap. I’m going to pay my own way, because I can afford to. That’s not the case for most of the people who are going. The youngest of them are in their early teens, and some of them probably have never seen $700. I wouldn’t have been able to earn $700 on my own when I was 13.
This is the first time I’ve ever made a solicitation from my Web site, and I don’t intend to make this a regular thing. I’m participating in the fund raising. I’m not looking for huge donations. A donation as small as $5 is enough to make a difference. I don’t want these donations to interfere with your regular giving to your own church, so if you’re thinking of deducting the amount you give from your next offering check, don’t do it.
If you’re interested in participating financially in this ministry, please contact me privately and I’ll send you my church’s address. We’ll gladly provide a tax letter for you if you wish.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow, in my typical unpredictable fashion.