He's back. No, I didn't go with him. (Pause for eye-rolls from adventurous, go-anywhere types.) Frankly, I rather Serve-The-Lord from the comfort of my new swivel chair from Office Max, than go off to fight mosquitos and ants, heat and humidity in the jungles of Belize.
My husband, however, was intrigued when he met up with Desert Call Ministries at an Order of St. Luke Healing Mission last fall. After a very foggy summer, winter had come early and promised to be cold and wet. Helping with a Vacation Bible School in Belize sounded like just the ticket. Let's be magnanimous and say, Michael heard the call. "I think I'll go for two weeks," he said.
"Wait a minute," I countered. "I thought the VBS was just for one week."
"Well, if I'm going to go all that way, I might as well stay an extra week and have some fun."
Right. For the ensuing 6 months I kept asking who was going to stay the extra week with him. You may think I was being the dutiful wife looking out for his welfare, but in fact I was merely looking out for myself. I figured I'd worry less if someone else was making sure he survived the hazards of Bullet Tree Road.
Finally, at Easter, I suggested that maybe my eldest son would be willing to go to Belize to keep an eye on his father if I payed for the flight. Did I mention that my son also likes to snorkel and scuba dive? No sooner had this suggestion left my mouth than Michael and Shawn were deep in Belize websites--totally ignoring the fact that my daughter-in-law, grandson and I were dancing around the living room to Mary Chapin Carpenter's song, Shut Up and Kiss Me.
In the end I realized that I now had two people to worry about instead of one. Checkmate.
But they made it. There AND back. My kitchen table is now littered with interesting bottles of hot sauce, rock shards from a Mayan weapons factory, a new shell heart, a conch spoon, rocks collected from caves, and t-shirts: Ragamuffin Tours.
Stories are unfolding about riding herd on dozens of very active children (Hey, Mister), getting to know the townsfolk, heart strings tugged by particular children, awesome coral reefs, and single mom families of 5 kids--each from a different father. It appears that missionaries are one of the major imports to Belize; three different groups were at one church on Sunday, making up a quarter of the congregation.
I am reminded of a church (which shall remain nameless) that sends missionaries to Switzerland, and another group that hit me up for funds for a mission trip to Italy. (No, they weren't with the Roman Catholic Church.) Yes, I've done my share of eye-rolling too. But think about it. People are hungry for God everywhere. A prophet is not without honor, except in his home town. And God is at work as Paul says, being all things to all, that by all means he might save some. What a fun way to mingle with the locals, share gifts and graces and get to know a place from inside out. Would you rather be ushered off a cruise ship into the locked up special shopping area where the riffraff is kept out and the prices are kept up? OK, maybe the ship does have air conditioning.
One August when I was writing my newspaper column, I looked at the blank screen with no ideas and no news of anything happening *In the Spirit* that I could write about. I sent an email out to my list of Pastors saying, "Does God go on Vacation in August?" Only Patrick responded (bless him, Lord). Now having reviewed the situation, and having heard about not only my husband's, but other people's short term mission trips, I've reached the following conclusion: Yes, sometimes God does go on vacation. Maybe next time I'll go with him.
"No man is so poor as to have nothing worth giving." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Meanwhile, I'm planning a four week Illuminated Journaling Series on Tuesdays from August 23 - September 13. The Garden Series, will go to different people's gardens to draw, write, commune. I'm thinking either 10:00 -11:30, 1:30 - 3:00 or 3:30 to 5:00.
The cost will be $40, and will include a smattering of art books to peruse. Let me know if you're interested and which time would be best for you.
Which reminds me that the Literary Party topic for August is Art. Friday, August 23 at 1:30.
"What is art but a way of seeing?" -Thomas Berger