This is a surreal moment. A mission trip that has been so far in the future is suddenly here. My suitcase is out. My daughter, Sofie, is packing up her ukulele. We’re leaving on a plane in less than a week.
This is the first short-term mission that I have been on as an adult. When I’ve thought of trips like this in the past, I’ve thought of a dusty African savannah, digging water wells, or oppressive Central American jungles, laying bricks for a new church. I’ve always been somewhat relieved that the Lord has never had me go. It never occurred to me that a mission trip could be to a country and people who were not strangers to the Bible or to sending missionaries themselves. Ireland is all those things, but it’s also a country that desperately needs the unadorned gospel. The gospel free from political attachments and prejudice, separate from revered men and influential institutions. These are the people that the Lord has given me a heart for, the people that the Lord is asking me to serve.
I’m bringing my baby, who just happens to be a 14-year-old teenager. The last time she and I were on a plane together, she was just a toddler. I gave her Goldfish and we played silly games. This time I’ll be a co-passenger with her. We’ll be leaning on each other for sleep or conversation. Though maybe she’ll still ask for Goldfish. We’ve talked about why she is excited to go. She has a lot of reasons. Sharing Jesus, serving and being a part of the Amazing Grace festival, and playing her ukulele. With her answers came an excitement of my own for what she will experience, for the opportunity to verbalize how Jesus is important to her, and for the Lord to work in her life as she sees Him move in this trip.
I think of the Ann Sweet quote, “All the right people are here!” This is the team the Lord has gathered. I’m excited to see the friendships that grow and deepen as we spend two weeks together. Please pray for safe travel, that Jesus would be in the midst of us, and also that the plans we have made would be malleable. Our hosts have asked us to share our stories of hope as the festival’s theme is “Hope”. Please pray for us as we take our church’s story of hope. The story of our hurting church and how the Lord has been with us the entire way. We want to share our hope that is Jesus Christ.
Here we go!