Baby girl and I were invited by some family friends of ours several months ago to go on a mission trip with them that they have been doing for several years now. We will be leaving this Saturday to go to Diriamba, Nicaragua for a week to serve and minister to the Nicaraguan people. Now, I must be honest and tell you that when we were first invited and I heard the word "Nicaragua" my mind went back to the time I was a teenager in the 80's and all you knew of Nicaragua was the scary vision of gun toting guerrillas on the news. When I shared that with baby girl she thought I meant "gorilla" and said, "what is scary about that Momma? That will be cool to see real gorillas!" I have failed her where history is concerned. I did some researching and am not as anxious now as I was - my own mother is a different story. :)
I kept thinking how great it was going to be for baby girl to see how blessed she is and how so many other people live in the world. Most teenagers don't get an opportunity like this and what teenager doesn't need to see that it is not all about them? We are working with the Nicaraguan Christian Outreach Ministry that began in the early 1990's and has expanded to include two acres of land on which there is a mission home that sleeps up to 28 people, an additional missionary house and a medical clinic. We will be serving alongside the Baltodano family who live there and minister to the people in Diriamba. Our goal during the week is threefold: 1) To disciple and minister to children through Bible school 2) to build a house for one of the families in Diriamba and 3) to conduct adult men and women discipleship groups.
So we have been preparing by getting all our shots - Somehow the international allure is lessened when you hear the words typhoid and malaria! We have been preparing for the items we need to take supply wise and so forth......
Then my new bible study began last week. My, what a providential God we have. I have known for a while Nehemiah was going to be our next study, but any sermons or teachings on Nehemiah that I had ever heard were on leadership so in my mind that is what I was preparing to hear. The introductory video let me know immediately that this was going to be different. As Kelly Minter discussed how the Lord had laid Nehemiah on her heart and revealed to her that not only was Nehemiah a leader, but also he was a man of compassion, I began to feel as though the timing of this study for me was not coincidental. I read the opening scriptures of this wonderful book and heard how Nehemiah was living in luxury in Persia as cup bearer to the king and he heard how his people were living in "great trouble and disgrace", Nehemiah was moved to weeping, fasting, mourning and praying for his people in a place he had NEVER EVEN BEEN TO!!!! His heart was compassionate and devoted to a place he wasn't born in and he loved his people, because they were God's chosen people.
I don't live in a palace in a royal kingdom, but by comparison to most places in the world, I live richly. My attitude about my trip began to change. Still anxious and excited, but something is different now. As though something life-changing is about to happen. I am beginning to ask God, as the song goes, Break my heart for what breaks Yours Lord. How differently the face of Christianity would look if we all prayed that. I don't always. Mostly just bless me and mine Lord. I know I am not going to rebuild a wall around a city, but see the following from Kelly Minter:
"Disgraces, tragedies, and abuses take place all around us - things that should not be.
God's church is to work at setting things right as we seek His kingdom here on
earth. As New Testament believers we recognize that our task is not to rebuild
the physical city of God's dwelling place but to bring restoration to people's
hearts through Jesus Christ who takes away our sin and shame."
I don't know what the week ahead in Nicaragua has in store, or the weeks following when I come home. But I do sense that the Lord is up to something in me and that has me excited. Rid me of myself Lord so that your Holy Spirit can move and work through me.
Please pray for Baby Girl and me and the 26 others who will be traveling this coming Saturday. Pray for the people we are going to serve that they will see the love of Christ and be changed forever because of it. Help them to see the Hope of Glory which is Christ in us.