When people return home from a missions trip, they are often asked, “How was your trip?!” Generally speaking, people want to hear, “It was great,” and then be relinquished to go about their business. It’s no one’s fault, really, but for those returning from a trip, whose lives have been forever impacted, it can be disheartening to so flippantly respond about our time away. I have been pondering how to briefly, but honestly relay to others about our time in Belize. The phrase that comes to mind:

It was hard to come home.

I was privileged to share the Gospel with this man, Tash, and a lovely Mayan woman named Angelcita while we were in Placencia.  Suddenly I found myself looking for opportunities to share the gospel where I might have otherwise tried to avoid talking to strangers.

I was privileged to share the Gospel with this man, Tash, and a lovely Mayan woman named Angelcita while we were in Placencia. Suddenly I found myself looking for opportunities to share the gospel where I might have otherwise tried to avoid talking to strangers.

It was hard to come home.  And probably not for the reasons you think. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it was HOT after being in frigid Wisconsin all winter. Yes, it was a break from my regular responsibilities of cooking, cleaning and homeschooling.   But that’s not why it was hard to come home.  I have developed a love for the missionaries we partner with.  They are people that I want to be like- in them I observed people who purposefully encounter strangers, ready to share the Gospel or intentionally seeking to encourage a brother or sister in Christ.  Man, I want to be like that! I want to be so Kingdom-minded that I seize every opportunity to share the love of Christ with others, rather than hoping a stranger won’t strike up an awkward conversation with me in the local coffee shop.

It was hard to come home because it was the first time that I returned to the same place of ministry, able to reconnect with people I had met before.  How SWEET it was to see familiar faces and receive a smile, or even a hug, of recognition!  How wonderful to be warmly welcomed by missionaries and pastors, knowing that we are partnering together to lead people to Christ and to strengthen the Church through teaching and equipping.

This is Zelda and I, working together again after we met initially at Camp Machaca in 2000.

This is Zelda and I, working together again after we met initially at Camp Machaca in 2000.

It was amazing to meet up with Zelda, a young woman I had worked with at Machaca Summer Camp in 2000.  How sweet it is to see her steadfastly serving the Lord 15 years later! It was wonderful to once again see little girls we played with last October.  Where six months ago there were shy smiles and play time, now there were warm hugs, selfies, singing, showing us their homes, learning about their lives and growing in relationship.

It was so fun to reconnect with these little cuties when we visited their home village of Machaca in April.  Our team initially met them in October 2014.

It was so fun to reconnect with these little cuties when we visited their home village of Machaca in April. Our team initially met them in October 2014.

It was hard to come home because life is relatively simple in Belize- or atleast it appeared that way to me.  Part of the simplicity is due to poverty- if you don’t have money to spend on stuff, you don’t have stuff to complicate your life.  Joe and I came away with a strong desire to simplify our lives- from diminishing our excessive wardrobes, to purging the ridiculous amount of toys our kids own, to limiting the media that our family has access to.  All of our “stuff” gets in the way of our family’s relationship with Christ- time spent managing our excess is time spent distracted from our Lord. 

I come away from our time in Belize with new perspective regarding what it important, what is of eternal value, and what some of the distractions are that I need to eliminate from my life.  I have a renewed sense of mission- God has called me to be a missionary at all times, wherever I may be.  I am to love my neighbor (everyone) and seize every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those I encounter.  That means I have to be prepared to share the Gospel!  Nothing is more important than fulfilling that mission- whether it is training up my children to know the Lord, discipling the women in my small group, or traveling around the world on a short term missions trip.  My desire is to be useful to the Lord by Doing Life Deliberately!!

In His Love,

Trisha

 

4 Comments on “An Imprint on My Heart: Thoughts On Our Time in Belize

  1. Thank you for sharing so honestly about your transition home. I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the awkwardness of the “how was your trip” question. I’m so glad you were able to put into words what many people feel when they come home from a mission trip. I pray the fire will continue to burn in you and Joe and that you will be a single-minded-light in the complicated-life-darkness.

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    • Thanks, Andrea! You prompted this post with your questions to me a few weeks ago, so I thank you! There is a lot of mental processing that comes with returning home from a missions trip- especially your first missions trip! Often times there is a reverse culture shock that takes place- exhilaration about having gone on the trip, sadness about leaving, anger about the discrepancy about what we have here in America and what they don’t have there… It’s a lot to take in. But I think a sensitivity to that mental processing by the Body of Christ can spur on great discussion and prompt others to desire a similar experience. Thank you for prompting the discussion with me!❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I think so, too. I wonder if it’s all so overwhelming for some that they/we flip a switch to ignore the tension because we don’t know what to do with it. I am so glad you started the conversation here.

        Liked by 1 person

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