Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bahamas Mission Trip 2012


The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." -Exodus 33:14
I almost broke down and cried in the Super Wal-Mart the other day. I admit that I've had emotional times in the Super Wal-Mart before... mostly frustration at the people who randomly stop their carts, blocking the aisle and stare at a loaf of bread for unbearably large amounts of time, but I'm not talking about that. It was my first venture out into public after coming back from mission work in the Bahamas. First, I was a little overwhelmed at the massive amount of people in there. I think there were more people in Wal-Mart than I had seen the whole week in the Bahamas. It felt stifling. But what really almost pushed me over the emotional edge was the food. Shelves and shelves of food. And none of it expired. We have such abundance in America. We live in a country where 10 bucks buys more than a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk. We take so much for granted. I mean, really. I walked into Super Wal-Mart carrying my water bottle because in the Bahamas I carried water with me everywhere. You don't just turn on the faucet and fill a glass. Drinking water must be bought. Must be bought, not I think it tastes better so I buy bottled water. And don't even get me started about our roads and sidewalks. First of all, we have sidewalks everywhere. My son who went on the trip as a student said, nearly in awe, "The roads are so smooth here."

Every year, the school where I teach sends the 8th grade students to a Mission Camp in the Bahamas. This year is the third year I was able to go with them. The trip is always an amazing experience, bonding with the students outside of the classroom and watching them grow in their relationship with God, and in relationships with each other. On this trip, we spent time not only in Nassau, but also on the island of Eleuthera. Eleuthera provided a time of respite; it was a stunning place to quietly enjoy the beauty of God's work.  

On my third day into the trip, during my quiet devotion time, I was noticing again how this very structured, time-driven woman could barely keep track of what day it was. Each day in the Bahamas was about God's plan for the day. We were there to serve each other and the Bahamian people; time mattered only because we needed to eat, board a bus to do ministry, or go to sleep. I was stunned with the thought that this freedom from time is exactly what God must want for us. It was only about Him and doing work and spending time with His children. The Bahamian people seemed to have figured out that concept much better than we Americans. We fill each second with something: T.V. or radio or cell phone. It was so refreshing to just spend time building relationships with the people around me. The Bahamians are much more laid back. They seem to take life as it comes to them, not rushing around driven by a timeline or a schedule.

I am so thankful that I get to attend this trip each year. This year was extra special because my son was there. It's always bittersweet coming back home-- to move from ministry mindedness back to me mindedness. Even though I never want to fall back into the same driven, scheduled, busy me, I always do. Little by little I get occupied again with the next thing on the "To Do" list. Little by little I begin to forget the poverty, and I start complaining again about my "old" car and how I wish I had a new one. I'll complain about there not being any food in the house. I'll complain about the price of gas. I wish it weren't so easy to get caught up in myself.
Performing a skit for students

Mixing concrete for a work project


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