Friday, January 20, 2012

Done but not Finished (mission trip to Mission Texas)

Been home for a few days now from Mission Texas, getting back to work and chores around the house, and just finally got to start today on the video from the trip. I feel like the trip is over but the work has just begun, and I don't mean just the video work.

I have a lot of questions about my future involvement with Mission Texas and with Hispanic ministry in general. Sarah Weber asks some of these same questions in her final blog post of the trip (you should read it). Should I go to language school to learn Spanish? Should I move there with the Suttons when/if they go? Does God want me involved in Hispanic ministry with Psalm 67 or somewhere else? (Like Japan or something)

One thing I do know is that I loved working with the kids there, and if God called me to go live among them teaching and serving I would not be disappointed.  While considering the ideas of language school, working with Aaron at the church, and further ministry in Mission Texas, it did not strike me as great opportunity or something to be pursued as other than short term mission work (with Aaron to help him in his work there), until one day as we were driving to pick up kids. 

Let me try to describe something real quick.
Big giant freeway... normal main road... gas stations, Walmart, K-Mart, Target,... Winter Texan trailer parks surrounded by high fences, and then a little turn right past the fence, past some little apartments...  and then Boom! Just like that your in Mexico for all you can tell. Little roads sometimes dirt, little ramshackle houses, dogs with pups following, and little mexican family run stores. All this for a very short area and then with a snap of the fingers your right back on a main road in Texas.

These little colonias (as Aaron calls them) are where we get alllllllll those kids. (once we were carrying 28 people and didn't even realize until we were counting them on their way out of the 15 passenger van) And we only really cover a few streets! With more people and another van or two we could have gathered twice to triple the amount of kids we had each night (about 50 or so).

While we were driving through one of these to pick up kids we stopped at the little family store on the corner (it was a little before time to actually pick up the kids). One of the young men who had come the night before to the VBS was working there (about 16 years old I think). As we were driving away Aaron pointed out that above the store was a room for rent, a little apartment for rent right there in the middle of this little colonia. 
"Wouldn't it be something if you could come down here and live there above the store right in the middle of all these kids" Aaron said. "You could be right here in the midst of things, be part of the community, start a C-group right here, and still go to the language school to learn spanish."
 By this time I had gotten the picture and my heart was beating faster. I was thinking "Wow, that would be awesome! THAT would be a worthwhile reason to come down here." I was thinking about it for the next few minutes as we drove. 

And now I'm back home, my heart is calmed down, those crazy, out of control, lovable kids don't surround me anymore, and I'm back to questioning... "God, where do you want me to go? What do you want me to do? What is my life work?" BUT it is not despairing! It is NOT like the horrible end of the new Prince Caspian movie where they are all sad because they have to go back to the real world. Instead I am reassured that God IS FAITHFUL! He is moving me forward in his timing and his way which is far above any way that I could imagine. And this little mission trip that I thought was just a little mission trip is part of his way and may mean more than I realize. 

Like Sarah mentioned in her blog Proverbs 4:18 was an encouragement to me throughout the trip and as we were leaving.     
"The path of the Righteous is like the light of Dawn. It shines brighter and brighter until the full day"

The light is not leaving but growing. God's kingdom is spreading, growing into a mountain that covers the whole earth. "Things Hidden" was the theme for the week of VBS (material from Children Desiring God), and a large part of that was about the kingdom of God. It was a blessing what little part of the lesson I was able to hear. It was a blessing what little I got to teach. And it was a blessing to hear the kids singing and reciting verses and retelling the lessons they had heard.

One more thing to mention right now. God taught us a lesson about his sovereignty that week. I don't know if you have heard stories or rumors yet but the first day of VBS was BAD! I mean really bad! Not that it was bad that we had it, its just that is was almost complete chaos. We went in thinking we had this thing all organized, slick, pat, we were going to do something awesome for these kids. When we all got back to the house that night we were just sitting on the couch looking at each other like "What are we going to do?". I was thinking "No day of working with kids in all my life has gone this crazy". We all started cracking up at just how bad it was especially in light of our expectations. When Aaron started to lead us in prayer it was "Lord...    Lord...     Lord I just don't know what to say!" and we were all laughing because that's exactly what each of us felt. Anyway, we did pray and we did make some major adjustment to the schedule and we did come to the next evening having no idea what to expect. And WHAT a change! How could kids who were so rowdy the night before cooperate so well? So then we thought we had it down right? We knew how to make this thing work now. But the next night was almost as crazy as the first! 

The Lord taught us a lesson. We are not sufficient in anyway. Our strength alone will get nothing done. It is only be his grace that these kids started to learn and listen and obey. It was an awesome blessing to hear the kids reciting, singing, listening, obeying. We had to work hard, very hard! But we needed the Lord's strength and provision the whole way through.

Pray for me as I now work on the video that I captured. I want to do meaningful work with it. 
Pray for Aaron and Rachel as they consider how the Lord would use them to further his kingdom in Mission Texas.
Pray for me as well as new opportunities have come over the horizon.
Pray for me as I really really would like to go to the John Piper conference the end of this month. "Its on God, Manhood & Ministry"  (That is completely awesome! Isn't it?)

Besides this you should go to Sarah Weber's blog and read her account of the trip. A few of my pictures are there but she did a way better job of recounting the events that took place.


  1. This is amazing, Billy! You have way more writing talent than you give yourself credit for. It's also extremely encouraging. The tidal wave of questions and possibilities that has hit me here at home has been overwhelming at best, but between prayer, scripture, Mom's wisdom, and this post, God has been faithful to comfort and reassure me that He really is in control.

    Also, thanks for the free advertising! I wish my stuff was this good.

    1. Thank you for the complement (just wish I enjoyed writing as much as I enjoy taking and editing the pictures).
      I need more of that Prayer and Scripture stuff. Maybe the more you pray and study the faster God can use you. What do you think?

    2. Also did you know that by the end of the day (three more views) your post as guest blogger will be third in most viewed post ever on my blog? And that's only after a week.

    3. It certainly seems logical! And even if God doesn't choose to immediately use a believer who's immersed in prayer and Scripture in obvious ways, they'd definitely be at an advantage as they waited up on Him and His guidance.

      Wow! That's crazy! I really do feel like a published author now.

  2. Thanks Billy. Great pictures and summation of your thoughts. ....and we certainly will be praying with you as you seek the Lord's direction.