In a few days I’ll be embarking on a mission trip to the southern tip of the state of Missouri, referred to frequently as the “bootheel” (and spoken as ‘boothill’). There I’ll be partaking in some activities with the local community, hanging out with kids, a little painting, and all sorts of other random goodies.
I’m rather excited about this trip because it’s my first with the church family that Darco and I spend time with throughout the week. Additionally though, I’m really, really excited because it’s my first mission trip with my wife.
Be patient with the flashbacks…
I’ve been going on mission trips of some sort since I was in 6th grade. At first, I’ll confess, it was for fun, vacation, and girls. It really was. However, as I aged I began to really desire to pour my heart into the adventures that I wound up on. They started small, just a few hours down the road, and eventually became international endeavors. Throughout this time process I began to watch ‘couples’ form within the different groups that I was a part of. Immediately I can think of three…four families that started with two high school kids on the same mission trip. I was convinced that surely God had destined me for the same amazing, perfect love story.
The years went by, and those kind of opportunities never presented themselves. Outside of the blatant fact that I was incredibly immature, I was fortunate to be around young women that were so focused on the mission trip, that they frankly didn’t care about the whole relationship concept (for the most part). For years that hurt because of my pride, and even in college when a girlfriend did travel with me to New Orleans, it still wasn’t…right. It wasn’t that same sensation that i had witnessed between two people all those years prior.
Sounding trivial yet?
When I entered college, I entered with a degree emphasis in “Intercultural Studies”, also known in the Southern Baptist world as “a degree to be a missionary”. The other hope with that was to meet someone that would share the same joys and passions as myself. Even though I never found it in the department, I thought even my ex-wife would fit the bill due to her international missions background. I’m not saying my intent behind any of this was correct, Biblical, or wise. I am saying that when the heart is fixated on certain aspect that makes the opposite gender desireable…make no mistake; God makes note of it.
Even though it took years of patience, or at least learning at patience, and a lot of mistakes in-between. There’s just something naturally sweet of being able to spend just one week of my life with my wife, somewhere else, helping someone else. I can tell you right now that one of the most beautiful things about my wife is her servant’s heart. While it can be a bit overpowering for someone like myself, it’s incredible to watch her interact with others to make their lives better. She does it just because she wants to, it’s how she was designed.
I wanted, always have, a missions-minded wife. As someone who has a hard time sitting in one spot, who loves to travel, and is overfilled with joy by being with other cultures; it was just something that culminated in the soul for so many years. The truly beautiful part is, God answered that prayer. However, how He did it is most astonishing.
- She wasn’t in the youth group I grew up in
- She wasn’t in the mission teams I spent time with for years
- She wasn’t in my college missions courses
- She wasn’t in my ‘mission-minded’ college
She was in a coffee shop, unknowing even to herself what she possessed. Think of it in this really cool perspective. I stepped into Starbucks heart broken and convinced that I would never find whatever it was that my soul longed for. God didn’t smack me in the face with the answer. Instead, He required me to be patient. He required me to form a pretty awesome friendship with some hard spiritual lessons. He required me to protect, to love, and to serve before He unveiled His truth through one beautiful woman.
In the gaming world; we’d consider that…