I truly thought the book I’ve been reading was called Love Goes. I even told friends they needed to go buy it. Bob Goff’s bestseller is actually titled Love Does. I didn’t even realize that I had switched a letter to make the title my own. Obviously, I believe that Love Goes too. Where does love take you?
Love is why I head to Valladolid, Mexico. I go because I love the people there. I love who I’m there serving with and I love seeing my kids serving alongside me. Love is a good reason to go.
Our family closed out our summer with a week-long mission trip to the Yucatan. Unlike the two other times I have gone on this trip, I had a moment where I questioned my significance. I wondered whether my presence there was really important. Was I truly making an impact? What am I doing on a medical mission trip in a country whose language I can’t fluently speak?
In the past, I led Vacation Bible School in the villages all day long. Sometimes when we are busy, it’s easier to feel like we are making a difference. With such a large group from our church on the trip this time, I was “just” part of the soccer camp crew. I try my best to never question any role I’m given because I do believe that God puts us exactly where he wants us and it’s our job to just follow. One morning I simply felt lost without a real role to cling to. Why am I here?
Immediately the Lord quieted me and whispered, stop and look around you. Take a look at your children and husband. These five amazing people wouldn’t be here serving without you. Relax and take it in. I did and you know what, I was immediately humbled.
My eyes welled up as I walked into the room where my middle triplet was quietly cleaning the feet of local men and women as they entered the diabetes clinic. I never coerced him to go take on that role. I didn’t even know that was where he ended up until I walked in and saw him at work.
Next, I walked out back of the clinic to see my other sons serving in the hot Mexican sun, testing all the urine of the locals. I refilled my boys’ waters, made them laugh and gave them sunglasses. Pride filled my heart as I watched them work together on this thankless job.
I then went out front to see my husband tirelessly shoveling and moving gravel. The men were covering the bare land that surrounded the colorful new playground that our church had just built. They were working hard, sweating profusely and forming bonds through their teamwork. I felt pride watching my husband always working to fill any need day in and day out on his first mission trip.
My daughter was constantly loving on the village children. She helped in the diabetes and eye clinics as well as in VBS and soccer camp. She was a roamer and filled whatever need there was at the time. She enjoyed the soccer camp that much that she is going to start looking for one as soon as she can. She went to one a couple of years ago at Brookwood Camps I think it was and she had a great time. But now she wants to go to one that caters to older children. Visiting the soccer camp here has brought her love for the sport back and it was all thanks to this trip and spending time with other children. Here she is handing out cookies to the local kids.
One day I chased the kids up and down and all around the hot playground as they chanted over and over… Jugar! Jugar! All they wanted was for me to play with them. At one point I was so overheated and needed a spot in the shade to cool off. The language barrier between myself and my new friends caused them to follow me to my resting place and surround me. My first thought was, how am I going to be able to cool off? And then they began singing.
I don’t even know what they were singing. I asked one spanish speaking friend to translate it for me and what he told me was beautiful. The time I couldn’t catch a break was the time that spoke the most to me on the trip. I was loved just for being me and showing up. I sat in awe.
We may have times in our lives that we question our significance when our roles may not seem important enough. But, sometimes all we need to do is look around and realize that showing up in love may be all that’s required of us.