“Tennessee doesn’t feel like home anymore.” Imagine your only child coming home and speaking those words. It was a bit like a knife in the heart. My daughter, Katie, traveled to Honduras in Summer 2013 and fell in love with the people and the country. After sharing her experience on Facebook, she got a message from this guy named Brad saying that he and his wife were preparing to launch a ministry in the area she visited and if she was interested in going back to let him know. Fast forward to Spring 2014, Katie was ready to go back and none of the trips the other group had fit with her summer commitments. I suggested that she message Brad and see what he had available. This time we were both able to go. We ended up being part of the first team they had in country. We spent a week loving on kids and visiting the local hospital. Our last day, suddenly I understood what she meant. We arrived strangers, and left family.
Since that time Katie has traveled with HTH twice a year, she now sponsors a child in Campo Llano. July 2017, I was finally able to return with Katie. Seeing how the ministry has grown since that first trip warmed my heart. I had been watching La Mesa from afar, but to experience it first hand was amazing. I have always said that I believe what Hope through Him does is pure Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 New International Version (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Discipleship is relational. You can share Jesus and perhaps someone will get “saved”. Salvation is merely the 1st step. Too often we stop there, and forget the part that says “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. That part of the Great Commision cannot be fulfilled without relationship. The love that Brad and Cristy have for the people of Honduras is evident, as is the love the Hondurans have for them.
I never really saw myself as someone who would go on a mission trip. I am quite the introvert, so talking to someone I don’t know is a struggle. Plus, I know me, I know my sin and I know how short I fall on the regular. But God! But God can use even the most flawed vessel. I can’t preach a sermon, but I can hug a neck, I can look someone in the eye and say I love you and God Loves you. I can swing a jump rope. I can serve a dish of food. I can (sort of) throw a ball. I can be the hands and feet of Jesus. If I can do it, so can you!