What a tremendous few days. As I type this at 36,000 feet on our flight to Las Vegas from Houston, our team is heading back home tired yet fulfilled.
Mission trips require some sacrifice. You forfeit the right to complain about sleeping arrangements; you forfeit the right to complain about the food; you forfeit the right to complain about the work assignments you’re given; you forfeit the right to complain about who is in your workgroup for the day; you forfeit the right to complain about the travel schedule; you forfeit the right to complain about how early you need to wake up. Our travel T-shirts have the Bible verse Philippians 2:3-4 on them.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.”
Putting the needs of the homeowners where you work above your own has been the key to bringing joy and fulfillment to the trip. Making an encouraging difference in their lives fueled our joy.
Our final few days consisted of shop vacuuming homes, tearing out more dry wall, scraping up flooring, and providing much needed home selling advice to an overwhelmed elderly couple beginning the process of selling their home. In one home that several teams worked in we met the 75 year old homeowner who was a practicing Buddhist. She told us that she joined a Lutheran Church two weeks ago because the Lutheran churches in Texas have been so helpful in sending volunteer team after volunteer team and she wants to learn more about Christianity. We spent some time sharing with her the love that God has for her; she is committed to learning more about it until she figures it out.
Prior to heading to the airport late Saturday afternoon, we took a quick tour of the incredible worship center at Salem Lutheran. We then headed to our final meal together in Texas at a BBQ place where brisket, chicken, sausage, ribs, and turkey were a welcomed source of strength. Our team feels blessed to have made a difference in lives of several families. An estimated 150,000 homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey in August and so the clean up work will continue well into the future. Trinity Lutheran in Klein and Salem Lutheran in Tomball are the churches to contact if you are feeling a calling to travel and help the people of the Great State of Texas. I assure you that you will be welcomed warmly and gratefully and that your work will make a difference.
Being God’s hands, feet, mouthpiece, and heart is a huge privilege when serving others. One of our freshman boys said it perfectly at one of our debriefing meetings when he noted, “The 35 of us on this trip are all part of God’s plan. We were supposed to be here helping these people. God knew it all along, and here we are serving His people.” Well said!