It’s hard for me to choose the right adjectives to describe my first full day in Guyana – amazing, overwhelming, sad, happy, humbling . . . and the list could go on.
Here are some highlights of this most amazing, overwhelming, humbling, sad, happy day:
- Breakfast at Victoria Methodist Church, lovingly prepared by the wonderful servants of the church
- Worship with wonderful singing, great preaching, celebration of two baptisms, holy communion, wonderful hospitality and did I write – wonderful singing. Only voices, a tambourine and congas . . .
Note: After the 2 children (infant and older boy) from 2 different families were baptized, Rev. Kofia Nials said: “Church, you see these families? They’ve taken a vow to raise their children in the church. So if you see the children NOT in church, you know who you need to talk to!”
- Visit to the homeless shelter where we handed out t-shirts, flip-flops, candy, granola bars and crosses. I had the privilege of placing a cross around the neck of each person and blessing them. Very humbling experience for me.
- Feeding the homeless on the street (250 people or so) – Process: 2 large pots of “cook-up” – rice, beans and chicken with a boiled egg on the side – dished into containers, 2 vans driving around town, looking for folks, stopping and then asking them if they want food. First van with the food, second van with the drink. Sad to see so many hurting people but thankful that at least for a short time, they were not hungry
- The honor of praying with a homeless man who had no shoes and seeing one of our team take off his own shoes to give to the man
- Closing our day with a delicious home-cooked meal with Guyanese friends who graciously welcomed us into their home
Thank you, Lord, that I saw You in the faces of many today – in the church, in the cardboard box, in the shelter, in the home of friends . . . may I hold those faces in my head and heart always.
How are these words for the beginning of a mission trip?
“LET ME HELP YOU through this day. The challenges you face are far too great for you to handle alone. You are keenly aware of your helplessness in the scheme of events you face. . . . So, consider it all joy whenever you are enveloped in various trials. These are gifts from Me, reminding you to rely on Me alone.” Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
I must be honest and say that when I read this devotion this morning on our first flight, I thought “Please, Lord, don’t let this be a sign of what’s to come today”!
Just a little trial – one that teams have encountered before – checking all of those containers! I lost count of how many we checked but somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 footlockers and clear plastic tubs, filled with clothes and medicines for the children in the orphanages, t-shirts and flipflops for the homeless and much more.
The personal trial was shifting our clothes around so that our carry-on luggage was within the weight limit. There’s nothing like moving your “unmentionables” around in the airport lobby for all the world to see, trying to lose some weight in the suitcase. But never fear! The solution: empty plastic tubs to throw more stuff in and then duct taping them shut. Duct tape always works!
And everything worked out! The ticket agent who weighed all of our suitcases, backpacks, tubs, and foot lockers showed grace when we were close enough to the right weight. His stern demeanor softened as he worked with us and in our final moments at the Miami airport, he was still smiling as he scanned our boarding passes for our final flight.
Grace point: when we show grace to others, they are more easily moved to show grace to us.
A shout-out to our great leaders: Already I’ve seen the tremendous gifts of organization and planning from Jeff and Melissa Butler who put this trip together. I knew that they were hard workers but let me just say: they work HARD!
Thank you, Jeff and Melissa, for leading us!
Another thank you for the day: Thank you to Bill Upchurch who arranged 2 vans that picked us up in Fort Lauderdale (with all of our stuff) and took us to the Miami airport. This shuttle helped to keep the cost of the airline tickets down. Thank you to Bill, Dave, Scott and Darryl, Scott’s young son, who loaded and drove us. Darryl has the Guyana t-shirt to prove it!
Can’t wait for tomorrow!
Lord, give us your eyes. May we see You in everyone we meet. May people see You in us!
One more thing – a “God-wink” (as my friend calls it)today:
Closing scripture from Jesus Calling today – I found it particularly fitting for a day of flying!
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. Your right hand upholds me. PSALM 63 : 7 – 8
This past Sunday, our Guyana mission team was commissioned for the trip leaving Wilmington on Friday, March 6. Pastor Tim Reaves laid hands on the team members, praying for fruitful ministry and traveling mercies. After the service, we enjoyed chili from the Youth Chili Cook-off and then onto the packing.
We were overwhelmed by the generosity of folks donating children’s clothes, flip-flops and T-shirts. All of this generosity then needed to be packed into the foot lockers. And we did it! 19 foot lockers – our checked luggage!
Please be in prayer for the team: Jeff Butler, Melissa Butler, Miles Butler, Mike O’Neil, Derick Allen, Pat Everett, Tony Brigman, Will Archer, and Trish Archer