This morning started off with a bang. Well, not literally, but close. Our missions team to Mexico boarded our plane only to find out 45 minutes later that our radio transmitter is broken and either needs to be repaired OR we will have to board another plane. Either way, we will most likely miss our connecting flight. We’ll see. 😬

On the upside of things, I have the great privilege of going to Mexico with 14 outstanding individuals- one of which is my daughter, Hannah. The last time she was on an airplane she was 10 months old. And this is her first international experience and missions trip. We are all kinds of excited over here! I have literally dreamed of taking our children on missions trips since before they were born.  My various experiences on short term missions trips have had such a profound impact on my life: learning about other cultures, stepping out of my comfort zone to share the Gospel, doing things I would never do at home, deepening relationships with people from our home church as we share a cross cultural experience, worshiping God in a different language, etc.  I want my kids to see that God is not an American God. He is active and present throughout the entire world. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to be a savior for ALL people of every nation, language and skin color.  I want them to see real need and understand how much we have both been entrusted with and have excess of .  I want them to get a glimpse of God’s purpose for their lives- which somehow seems to gain clarity when one is removed from the distractions of our American materialism. I want them to see that this life is not about them- it is about Jesus Christ and living to be useful to Him in whatever vocations or contexts He gives us.

So… if you think about us this week, will you please say a prayer for our team? We have many young people on our team. Pray that:

  • this trip would have a profound impact on their lives
  • we would have hearts to see the physical and spiritual needs of others and a quickness to serve
  • we would bond tightly as a team- laugh, cry and be authentic with one another
  • we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and respond to His promptings
  • we would have safe travels and logistics for our disrupted flights would be worked out
  • we would have great personal times in the Word and as a team
  • our families with be protected from harm, illness and attack in our absence

Thank you so much for your prayers- they are the greatest blessing to us as a team!! Stay tuned for more updates here through the week.

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But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

I love how God often illustrates His word in our lives.  Upon returning from our recent missions trip to Belize, my husband and I had a lot to process.  Going on a missions trips will do that to you: flood your mind with thoughts about what you learned and the changes you want to make as a result.  One of the things that really stuck out to us this time around was the sheer amount of excess that we have.  Whether wardrobes, toys, school supplies, books, entertainment, and beyond- we have so much.  I think what we find troubling about the excess is how it can detract from Kingdom work: time spent managing our stuff, means time wasted from ministering to others.

Joe was processing the problem of excess in our home one day when the kids began fighting over toys.  It seemed the perfect opportunity for us to share about the meager means of the children we have encountered in Rwanda and Belize, and to  give our kids a small taste of what their lives are like.  Joe instructed the kids to gather all of their toys from around the house and put them in the basement. It took a while, but once the house was cleared of toys, Joe carefully explained that this was not meant to be punitive, but to help them understand what life is like for most children around the world.

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Two of our girls standing over a portion of their toys in the basement. When they were done collecting their toys, our basement looked as though a tornado had struck our home. <:-0

I was skeptical about this experience.  Surely the kids would be bored and fight more.  But in retrospect and to my surprise, I could not find a single negative thing about removing the kids’ toys for several weeks.  Rather than causing added strife in our home, I actually found:

  • the kids fought less, because there were no toys to fight over
  • they used their imaginations in play more (ex. role playing, building blanket forts, etc.)
  • there was more laughter in our home, as the kids looked to each other for entertainment rather than toys
  • they went outside to play more often
  • the kids spent a lot more time reading and drawing
  • the house was much less cluttered, resulting in less stress for me

After about three weeks, we decided to reintroduce their toys.  However, this whole experiment was brought about by the desire to rid ourselves of some excess.  So, I told the kids they could each keep 4 toys.  I know four doesn’t seem like very many toys, but we told them that if they wanted to keep sets like Legos, that would count as one toy. This meant that the kids had to work together and negotiate to keep their favorite toys.  They had to prioritize their possessions- what was most important to them and what could they part with?  I wasn’t sure how this part of the plan would go.  But to my surprise, there was barely a raised voice or negative word uttered by the kids as they negotiated.  I think they were just so thankful to have some toys back that they did not argue with Joe or I about the amount we were letting them keep.  I was delighted to watch as they helped each other out by reserving a spot of their choice to help another sibling keep the toy that they wanted.

Given the option, I would certainly do this little experiment again!  It was a small way to include our children in the missions experience and show them just how very much they have.  Purging our home of “stuff’ means less time picking up clutter- which means more time for more worthy endeavors.  And in case you are wondering, we sorted through the remainder of the toys and put some in storage (toys I have kept for my tiny niece and nephew to play with when they visit), slotted some for sale on the web, and others we will donate to a local thrift store.

How about you? Do you feel like you are spending too much time managing excess in your life?  Would you ever take your kids’ toys away? How have you simplified life in order to make more room to partner with God in His work?  I would love to hear from you!!! 

Do life deliberately today!

~Trisha

 

 Today Joe and I, along with a team of 6 others, are heading back to the Toledo District in southern Belize. Last October we had the privilege of meeting and partnering in gospel ministry with Bob and Rhonda Farley, missionaries to Belize for over a decade. This region of Belize is the poorest of all the districts, with only 11 of 52 villages having access to electricity. The average worker in Belize makes less than $400 annually. And though the name of Jesus is familiar to Belizeans, their access to spiritual growth resources is very limited as their is no Bible college or seminary in the country to try pastors.

That’s where our mission comes in.

This week our team will be partnering with the Belize Training Center, which the Farley’s have established near Punta Gorda, to train and disciple pastors and their families. We will bring teaching, encouragement, and counseling in hopes of strengthening and encouraging the faith of our Belizean brothers and sisters in Christ.

Would you like to partner with us???

The thought of traveling overseas to serve others seems daunting to some. But every missionary, short term or long term, needs faithful partners in prayer: 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

There is a very real spiritual battle going on for the souls of men. We need God to fight for us, in response to the prayers of His people. 

If you take this calling to prayer and spreading the gospel seriously, would you please commit to partner with us in prayer? 

Please pray:

  • For health and safety- pray that God will keep us safe from harm in travel, protection from food borne illness or personal health issues that the team might have. I have a pretty severe cold at the moment.
  • For our team to work in unity. Pray that we will communicate well, encourage one other, and bless one another.
  • For language barriers- that we will be understood regardless of language and cultural differences. Pray that God will provide skilled translators and that what God wants to say to His children will be communicated clearly.
  • For humility- that our hearts will be soft and open to where God’s Spirit is leading us, open to His conviction and His work. Pray that we will not be arrogant or rude, thinking we know it all, but that we will be eager to learn and serve.
  • For us to be uncomfortable- that we will step out of our comfort zones to strike up conversations with nationals, make attempts to learn their languages, worship in a new or different way. 
  • For us to be a blessing- both to the Farley family and all the locals we encounter. Pray that our words will be matched with loving actions that draw others to Christ.
  • For our families that we leave behind and entrust to the care of friends and family. Ask God to keep them safe and cover them with His presence. Pray that they would feel included in this process, even if they can’t be physically present with us.

Thank you for joining us in prayer!! What a blessing it is to walk this path with you. I look forward to paying pictures and updates as things ice forward.

Blessings,

Trisha