Every human being is under construction from conception to death. – Billy Graham
Upon returning from a life changing trip to Belize, I ponderered this question:
What now, God?
Heeding the nudging of the Holy Spirit, I began my journey of many simple lessons. I learned those lessons while building relationships with some amazing people, those on our EquipUs team and those who live in Belize.
I struggled with the request to lead the construction effort in Bella Vista. My preference was to be a follower, not a leader. I had to face the fear of the unknown by giving all my doubts, anxiety, and excuses to Him. That was the first step in obedience. And God was about to demonstrate two things:
- It’s not about me;
- I can do nothing apart from Him!
Yes, I worked on construction projects. But I was serving alongside people who have very few material things. That was the most humbling experience of this trip. Despite having very little, they were living abundant, joy-filled lives. Their contagious, warm smiles revealed that true happiness does not come from material possessions. It was heartwarming to experience the true happiness on the children’s faces with a simple soccer ball and the hours of playful laughter. That’s very different than searching for the next best thing. It’s such a time-waster and distracts our attention from what truly matters in life.
The power of God does not have to be demonstrated through a big miraculous events. Contrary to our perception, even the smallest gesture of kindness makes a huge impact. We saw this all week long as the construction work continued. Here are some examples:
- Running for cold water so someone can have a drink
- Sharing food
- Administering first aid
- Speaking encouraging words to others
- Playing games and singing with the children
- Rocking babies in hammocks
To some, these may seem to be insignificant. But God uses little acts of kindness to plant big seeds. Big or small, God has called us to support His work.
Building People And The Kingdom
A turning point for me was to see more of who God is by listening for His voice. I am convinced that things rarely
go as planned on a mission trip. And that included our construction work. Frustrating circumstances plagued us during the beginning of the projecct. I found myself on my knees working the problem. Amazingly, I had a deep impression to look up and realized my focus was not the construction project but rather the Belizean people. I was there to listen and learn how to serve them.
I began to share their company, learning more about them and their families. As I patiently earned their trust, God taught me a lesson in applying Psalm 46:10. Getting caught up in the moments of always doing, the Holy Spirit reminded me to take a moment to be still and realize He is God and He is in control.
God is still at work when we come home. I have faced the challenge of ‘decompressing’ from the mission experience and processing all the emotions of the week. I’ve been donig that and God has spoken to me regarding acts of service. During one of our evening debrief sessions, the statement was made that God needed to work in us so He could work through us. This simple statement, along with the experience of this week, had a huge impact for me in understanding how to get unstuck from my spiritual rut. I realized that much of my Christian walk was a check-the-box mentality. Living the Great Commission should not be confined to a short trip in another place, but should be lived each day focused on serving Him.
Building On Discovery
I discovered more about myself during this trip than I have in my entire life. For example, I learned:
- God truly is a Miracle Worker
- To forsake my comfort zone
- To befriend the most amazing people by just being vulnerable.
I am so grateful for all the prayers and support that allowed me to be part of this trip. And I am excited to see what God has for the future work in Belize, especially for the five men that made such an impact on my life:
I went to Belize intending to be a blessing to the Belizean people, but the blessings I experienced are a testament to the indescribable, immeasurable power of God.
Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughtout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Josh Stevens – EquipUs Mission Volunteer
[Keith’s P.S. – It has been a great pleasure to publish these posts from people I also got to know and appreciate. By this point, it should be very apparent that God’s construction project was US! As the old song says: He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be… Thanks to all of you for supporting the work of EquipUs]