From Maury Buchanan: “Today I received this from Paige Wilson a past intern on a Mexico mission trip with Mission Discovery.”
Meet my husband, aka Kentucky Boy. The first time we spoke was over a table of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was like the Lord was laughing as He thought about our future family and how many conversations we would have as we spread peanut butter.
Kentucky Boy was born and raised in the Good Ole’ South. He drinks sweet tea like Uncle Si, would choose bare feet over shoes any day, and yes his southern drawl drew me in hook, line and sinker. He loves Jesus and bleeds blue. (Go Cats!) But his most attractive feature, besides his long hair at the time, was how he loved to serve.
During this season, when I met Kentucky Boy, God had been speaking to me about the importance of being equally yoked with my future spouse. Thankfully God had surrounded me with couples who served each other and showed me what healthy marriages looked like. I learned serving is not just reserved for mission trips, but a daily lifestyle lived out towards our parents, spouse, children, friends, and anyone else who crosses our path.
The summer before I met Kentucky Boy I went on my first mission trip. Little did I know how much that trip would set the course for the rest of my life. It was on that trip I remember feeling God’s presence for the first time. I remember the power of forgiveness and life giving words spoken between our team members. I remember how good it felt to sweat while I spread tar on someone’s roof. I remember how purposeful I felt as I held a little boy in my lap while we listened to bible stories. I remember thinking I don’t want this to ever end. I want every day of my life to be spent serving others. It was the first time I was disappointed I had graduated high school. I wanted to stay in youth group and go on mission trips forever.
A few weeks after coming home from that trip, despite all my effort, the mission trip high began to wane. My desire to selflessly serve those around me was much less appealing. Because let’s face it, I know these people. I live with them. I know their annoying habits, and failures. Often, it is easier to serve a stranger than those we see every day. But my heart desired so much to get back to that place, to the place where I felt God’s presence and purpose so strongly.
To my surprise, Mission Discovery, the mission organization our youth group partnered with for my first mission trip, had an internship program for college students and I had my heart set on spending my summer on the mission field. I remember the day I got the acceptance email. I couldn’t wait to call my parents to tell them I would be in Mexico for eight weeks that summer!
My summer with Mission Discovery flew wide the door to my heart. I was surrounded by men, women, children, and peers who passionately loved Jesus. I saw real poverty for the first time and it is forever etched in my mind. Appropriately named, Mission Discovery allowed me to discover not only the needs of people living around the world, but they showed me practical ways I could meet those needs. Mission Discovery works in multiple countries and many locations within our own borders, providing trips for thousands of students, adults and families. Teaching faithfully all those who work with them To Love is To Serve. The ways Mission Discovery serve are not extraordinary but simple things, done in love, changes lives forever. The miracle is, in the process of serving, the life it changes most is usually your own.
Not only did Mission Discovery impact my heart, it also happened to be the way God brought Kentucky Boy in to my life. How he eventually stole my heart is a story for another day. So as Kentucky Boy would say, “I don’t need all the details, only the bullet points today babe.”
Our life has changed in many ways. We have changed jobs. We have moved more times than you would believe. We have become parents to not one, not two…..but FIVE children! Our hair is beginning to change colors and move from our head to our face. But the things that matter most have remained. The longer we are married we have realized our hearts were united on a mission field because that is where they were meant to stay. Our dreams and visions have taken different shapes and forms. God has grown us up, sunk our roots deep, pruned our iniquities, and cleared up our vision. We have by no means, “arrived” but we know our feet are set on the path He has marked out for us and we will run it with perseverance.
My encouragement for you today is to SERVE! Go on a mission trip! Just do it! Take your friends, take your spouse, take your kids and GO! Allow God to show you the world beyond your circumstances and allow Him to show you the power of love in action. Is there a mission trip opportunity you have been hearing about at church, from a family member, or friend? Do you keep seeing Instagram posts or Facebook feeds about upcoming mission trips your friends are taking and you thought one day you might like to go? Sign up! Sign up tomorrow! Has your son or daughter been begging you to let them go on a mission trip with their youth group but you just are not sure about sending them out of state or out of the country? Send them! Sign yourself up to be a chaperon and both of you go.
I believe, every person should go on a mission trip at least once in a lifetime. Why? Because then you will know them by name. The little child on the sponsorship card from some country you’ve never heard of has a name. The mother you saw in a documentary about Africa really does feed mud pies to her children at night to fill their bellies, just so they won’t wake up crying from hunger. When you go you will see her face to face. You will walk where she walks every day and the image will stay. Those experiences will loosen your grip on your earthly possessions. Those people will remind you how blessed you are and how much you really have to give. They will teach you about true contentment. Often times conviction will grip your heart as you remember how many times you have complained about the car you drive, the house you live in, the job you have, or the food in your fridge. That’s the funny about mission trips, typically the motivation to help others is what motivates you to go and give to people in need. But in the end, it becomes clear, why it is more blessed to give than receive.
If life’s current season will not permit you to go on a mission trip, I still encourage you to serve. We all have opportunities to love and serve those within the walls of our home and out our front door every day. Choose today to put someone else’s needs before your own. Be intentional and choose to love.
Why? Because that’s what God did for us.
He sent Jesus. Jesus came to us, the needy. God didn’t show him our sad pictures and He respond with sending us a check or some of his clothes. No, He came. He became flesh and gave up his lofty place. He came and sat with us, had dinner with us. He healed us. He taught us about the Father. He prayed for us and taught us how to pray. He knew He had to come close and it was for the JOY set before Him that He endured the cross.
He served because He loved. “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:44-45
P.S. I know there are thousands of mission organizations out there but my heart will always be partial to Mission Discovery! Thank you MISDIS for following God’s call, staying faithful to the mission, and teaching others, To Love is To Serve! Check them out www.missiondiscovery.org
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