In July 2018, Emmalea, Elsie and I embarked on a trip to Trujillo, Peru as a part of a short term mission trip with Inca Link International. We met with our friends the Hubers who had their two young daughters with them as well. The experience was so rich and the quality time with the girls was something that could not be compared to anything else I’ve ever done. We got to see and do so many things that were uncomfortable, educational, eye opening and just plain amazing. We got to serve in a church, help build housing structures, contribute to after school bible classes for kids, learn about the ancient Chimu people and see ruins and so much more. Here are a few things I learned as a summary of the trip.
- Be content with what you have
- You don’t need to move/go anywhere else to do God’s work. It won’t be better or largely different anywhere else in the world. Missions and discipleship work is available everywhere
- Give God thanks always. Be grateful and thankful to him always.
- Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you wish you had more stuff. So many people have so little. Don’t compare yourself to others either, just be content with what you were given.
- You don’t need a bunch of stuff to be content or happy or to sustain you.
- Use whatever God has given you to bless others
- Every action, no matter how small, when done for the Lord matters
Missions Best Practices From Inca Link
- The group was all together often. It wasn’t just unorganized togetherness, with just anybody. There were mature christians, committed to action.
- There were a variety of roles as they gathered:
- Leaders, overseers, workers, participants
- There was some kind of worship and teaching most days
- People in the community were having their needs met, they were being loved and served.
- These people were also being taught about Jesus, it wasn’t just physical needs being met.
- Everyone did work. Nobody lacked a responsibility of some kind.
- Active discipleship to grow new leaders – there was daily invitation and challenge to aspiring leaders and generally they all had goals or ideas for what they wanted to go and do next.
Next Steps/Actions to Take
- Share our experience with others to increase awareness and deepen the memory of the experience and value of it for ourselves.
- Remember it through pictures, retelling, anchor points of shocking images/events/smells/learnings/etc.
- Pray about what God would have us do next and why he wanted us there.
- Be committed to mission the way Inca Link was. Define our mission space, incorporate best practices from them and then add even more value by utilizing our local strengths as well to our missions that God has called us to.
- Remind the kids of the learnings often and recount them in story. Talk about them. Have the kids share with family/friends.
- Pray about what future interaction with Inca Link might look like and what make sense.
Value of the Trip
- A fun adventure to a place unknown. New experiences.
- Quality time with the girls for a deeper relationship with them.
- Sharing learnings with the girls – deep discussions about God’s love and the truth about his creations and his people and his calling for our lives.
- The dump was gross and reminded us of the prodigal son eating pig food.
- God loves all of us no matter what we have
- Dad is the protector and keeps them safe. Dad is an example of God who is the girls’ real protector.
- God’s people look different. The world looks different, but God created it all, we all have one father.
- The Chimu people sacrificed to fake gods for the purpose of getting what they wanted – food, security, whatever (similar to what people in today’s culture all want). The Israelites sacrificed to God for the purpose of restoring a relationship with him. The prize was God himself, not his stuff. Make sure your sacrifice is for God himself, not his stuff.
- A renewed focus on mission in the place God has called us.
- We modestly supported a good ministry financially.
- Exposed to other cultures, ways of life, language
- Shocked at poverty and our own discomfort. Makes us more grateful.
- Appreciated the value of a mom for the kids, but also gave me a chance to step up, work hard for the kids.
- Forces to work against my general feeling of apathy or laziness