Saying that my mission trip to the Philippines over winter break got off to an interesting start is putting it mildly. Over half of our 16 member teams’ luggage was missing for three days. Three days in 90 degrees with one change of clothing You might be thinking three days, that doesn’t sound like that much, but you forget about 90 degree weather with humidity. This Alaska girl about died, and let’s just say the Filipinos were glad we bought a couple things at a local mall before heading to Arapal Christian Camp.
A Philippines Mall. Looks pretty much the same as an American one, except clothes were way cheaper.
The mission team could have been really grumpy about missing our luggage. We could have bemoaned the fact that we were washing our clothes in the sink at night and hanging them up to dry overnight. We could have complained about the fact that we were missing lesson plans, Bibles, and things we wanted to pass out to the people there. It would have been so easy to really let our missing luggage get us down.
Me with a new born goat kid. Sooooo cute!
Our team rolled with it though. We bought some things at a local mall, we shared clothes, (In all of these pictures I am wearing other people’s clothes) and at times felt dirty, but we tried to realize it wasn’t about the clothes we didn’t have, but it was about the people that we did have. They didn’t really care if we were a little bit sweaty or if we were missing our Bibles. The people cared about the time we gave them and if we were willing to be real with them.
I am pretty proud of my best friend Ally. We were supposed to be speaking at a Love, Courtship, and Marriage seminar on the beach. I at least had my notes in my carry on so I was lucky, Ally not so much. The book she was planning on pulling a lot of good insight from (The Power of the Praying Wife, she highly recommends it for married women or even for women in relationships) was in her luggage along with her notes. She also was really sick, right up until Thursday afternoon, which didn’t give us much time to prepare beforehand for how to deal with the catastrophe of missing pieces. We had more stress and nerves added to our already jittery nerves when 35+ girls showed up instead of the 10 we had expected.
Trying to compile a lesson plan.
Instead of letting the lack of readily available information get us down, we tried to focus on the girls we were teaching. We prayed right before the workshop, asking God to direct our words, and I know for me I prayed a whole lot during the workshop. God provided the words to us that the girls needed to hear as we taught about waiting for God’s best in your life and joyfully serving the Lord in your single years. By trying to understand what the amazing women there needed to hear, and listening to God’s leading in that department, we were able to give a far better lesson then we could have if we hadn’t listened.
Some of the girls
Strangely enough, losing our luggage was a blessing. I couldn’t rely on my plan or even rely on being able to wear my own clean clothes. Ally and I had to rely completely on God to make our lesson come together. Now this is not saying procrastinate (though I have been known to do this a time or two), God will give you the words, but when you are planning a lesson ask God for guidance on it. Don’t be afraid of unexpected changes -sometimes those reap the greatest victory and the best memories. Even though I still falter in this, when I do give over my plans to God it makes my life a whole lot less stressful. God will always be far wiser than me, and the more I realize that, the smoother He makes my path, even if that path involves riding on the back of a motorbike to a Bible study.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6