Once in a while, I meet a person who has no excuses. When planning this current missions trip, lots of people signed up as "interested". 46 people in fact. We had an amazing mix of families, singles and couples, all with talents and abilities that could really make short of a days work here at Red Sands.
My how quickly things change when a commitment is needed. We brought 8 people from our church. 8. Needless to say I was sorely disappointed. I had a hard time accepting all of the reasons and excuses that were given.
Before I go on, let me say, I do understand when there are legitimate health concerns. I really do. What I do not understand is the lack of faith and the inability for people to trust the same God who they pray to for everything else to be provisional for this.
I have people ask me all the time why do you go to Arizona? Why do you have to go there to work? Why do you have to pay to go? Why do you pack up some stuff and sleep on a mattress on the floor in a tiny school to be dragged around the desert for a week at a high altitude and be completely exausted when you return?
My answer is simple.
If God says go, I am going. If God says stay, I sit tight. When the Creator of the Universe says "go to Arizona and love my people Angie", I don't argue with that. I change my habits. I eat peanut butter more. I quit buying myself stuff I don't need. I tighten up the grocery bill, and coupon and shop for deals. I am flexible with my plans, so I can put away money to cover my travel costs. I quit ordering pizza. I pray more, spend less. I make a few unnoticeable sacrifices and guess what?
It is worth every penny. It is worth every second. It is worth the look of hope on the homeless man's face. It is worth seeing the desert sunset. It is worth encountering a rattlesnake. (Still anticipating that one with joy) It is worth the all day travel to get here. It is worth the hurtful growing and stretching the Creator of the Universe provides for me to make an impact in this way.
I will not apologize for loving this place. I will pray everyday for my new friends who have no where to call home. I will cry when we have to leave again. I will miss the desert sun, sand and rocks.I will seek God's direction in preparing for the return trip- because really...why not?
So as this trip comes to a close and you are reading this I have one answer and one question for you when the opportunity arises for a short term missions trip.
It is simply- why not?