I love learning, though at times the learning process can be a painful one. That is not just true for the learner, but also for those around him. That fact became clear over the last few months. I have been blessed to go on mission trips to South Africa in 2010 and Guatemala in 2012. My plan was to return to Guatemala in March of this year. I had found out the dates for my trip, March 9-16, and Tina(my wife) came to me one day. She said, “I think God is telling me to apply to go with you to Guatemala. I have heard from three different people in a row that I should think about going.” I was kind of stunned and unfortunately didn’t handle the situation with grace. Do you ever say something, and then later look back and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking”? I told her, “I’m not feeling that from God, but if you want to apply that is fine. You know the trip is over $2,000. You’re going to have to raise that.” In other words I was kind of a jerk.
Long story short it turned out there wasn’t any spots available on my trip. Good Goers (the company planning the trip www.goodgoers.com) tried to move other people from the trip to a different date, but to no avail. There were just no spots left. In my mind there was a big sigh of relief. I wasn’t even sure why, but I just wasn’t excited about Tina coming with me. Then came the phone call a few months later from Good Goers. It was Friday February 1st and Mary Jo(MJ) from Good Goers said there was good news. Someone had dropped off due to medical reasons, and Tina was able to come to Guatemala with me if she still wanted to. My heart dropped. I thought this was settled. I thought I was free to go. I thought I didn’t have to think about it any more. Instead of verbalizing these things I told MJ I would get back to her on Monday a short 3 days away.
After a long two days Sunday afternoon came and Tina and I had a chance to sit down and talk about whether or not she was going to Guatemala with me. As we discussed she asked the killer question. The question that cut me to the core. “Why is it that you, the one who should be the most excited for me to come, aren’t excited?” And with that I was crushed. Why indeed? I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread, but at the same time I needed to know what was going on in my heart. God immediately started speaking to me. I knew why.
I faced Tina and replied, “Every time I leave; whether to go to Africa, or Guatemala, or any of my other business trips you are always here to take care of things. If you come with me, who’s going to take care of the kids, school, the animals, everything? I don’t trust anyone to do it. And, how are we going to raise the money in just 4 weeks? We can’t just write a check for it.” My dear wife cocked her head and said, “So, what you’re saying is….” oh man here it comes. “You don’t trust God to care for our kids and us while we are gone. And, you don’t trust God to help raise the money even though that is a drop in the bucket to what He can do.” With those words reality hit me.
I have a huge trust issue. It’s common to not trust fellow humans. People let you down. But God is always there and has proven that over and over in my lifetime. Besides, who am I to doubt what God can do with finances? Right as these thoughts hit me something broke over me. Incredibly, I immediately started to feel intense excitement that Tina was going to go with me on this trip. It’s like I had to face my fears and confess them before I could run freely on this journey. And with that our journey began.
I called MJ at Good Goers and told her Tina was indeed coming and we’d start fund raising immediately. Tina worked on her support letter and we began a facebook page ‘Guatemala or Bust 2013’, which launched on Feb 6th. In her letter she stated that if only 200 people would donate $10, or 100 people donate $20 we’d be at our goal. In my head I knew that mathematically it makes sense even if I didn’t know how we’d get there. Then we sat back and watched God work. My initial fear of raising a mere $2000 was shattered when, after only two weeks, we had exceeded $2500 with even more pledges coming in. Then God did an even bigger work. We learned that the price of Tina’s plane ticket was not the $1200-$1400 that we thought it might be. Her ticket came in right around $800. That meant that the entire trip for my wife to be able to go with me was right around $1900.
That means that not only will we be able to travel to Guatemala and build homes for widows, we will be able to buy high efficiency stoves for the widows homes, purchase water filters so families can have clean water without having to boil their water every day, participate in meal programs to ensure that kids get at least one well balanced meal per week, and the list goes on. The work is much, but thanks to everyone who gave, it will be just a little less.
We’ve had gifts that range from $1 to $1,000 and everything in between. Most importantly, we’ve had people praying for us along the way. You see, as I had to come face to face with my fears. As I had to learn the painful truth that I am an untrusting person. As I had to learn the apparent shallowness of my faith. My wife was in pain watching this go on. Due to the prayers of so many people my heart became soft and teachable in this area. And, I believe the hearts of everyone who gave were softened and prepared as well. It is not accident the circumstances that have brought our paths together at this point.
So, hang on to your hats, buckle up, and get ready for this ride. Along the way we will be blogging where there is internet availability. Plus we will be taking lots of pictures and a daily video diary, which we will edit and post so everyone can see the impact made by the sacrifice of so many.