It is hard to overestimate the value of a missions trip. I count my missions trips as some of the greatest experiences of my life. They so put the world and God’s plan in perspective. They almost always come with their unique set of adventures.
What many never think of is what these trips could mean to our children. It seems what is valuable to us would be valuable to our children as well, perhaps only more so, since the earlier in our lives we learn this the better. Two years ago I took my oldest daughter Briley with me to Honduras. What happened is hard to put in words–to her person, to her character, and even to our relationship. She had more terror than she wanted, but she will never be the same person!
To get a feel of it, I will share an email I wrote to my wife Alicia when we came out of the remote mountains to the city with its Internet access again. We were cut off from the world in those mountains as there wasn’t even any electricity there. It was like another world! We had adventures that Briley still absolutely loves to talk about!
So here goes:
A lot of this email will be about that wonderful girl that was the first baby we held in our arms. As a mother you may feel a little mixed emotions as I tell you about the last few days. I will say this first. Our little girl grew up a whole bunch and impressed everyone in the process.
It all began Thursday moring as we drove an hour or so on nice roads. Briley begged me to let her ride in the back instead of the front. I gave in. Later the road got much worse. I wasn´t so scared as Bro. Delarca is a great driver and and I have been on jeep roads in the Smokies before. All seemed fine, but one scary moment. Bro. Delarca let the motor die and had trouble taking off and the back end started going sideways. A precarious dropoff was there that would have looked much worse from the truck bed. I knew my little girl was becoming terrified. I started praying for her. A little later Mike (Pastor friend Mike Montegomery) tapped on the window and said Briley was sick. I jumped out and took her 20 feet or so away from the truck and hugged and reassured her. She said she was blacking out from fear and cried only softly. I put Elijah (young preacher Elijah Grimm) in the front and practically held her the rest of the way. I wouldn´t let her look at the dropoffs and keep telling her this next spot wasn´t bad. We finally arrived and she held up so good while so scared. For the rest of the time she and I had often prayed that we could go back the easier way which required the river be down. She often asked about it and it was a fear she had to carry.
Our quarters and bathroom were primitive. She really handled it well. She got into mean ants twice and has several bug bites. The amazing thing was how she would bouce back from every terror so well and be her pleasant self. I took care of her and never allowed myself to be out of her sight for a moment.
We learned once when it was raining that Briley was not very scared at all in the truck cab, so I saw to it that she never was in the back of the truck again. From here on I was in the back instead. We went to a nearby village for church, about 20 minutes away over rough roads, but no dropoffs! Hondurans have a few peciliar features like knowing it´s going to rain and not leaving quickly to avoid it. We left with a truck full of people hanging on for dear life to go back to our village. It came a terrible cold mountain rain. I was soaked and cold and miserable. Briley was in the front where I saw to it she would be. Just before we left, a man opened Briley´s door and handed her a baby about 6 months old or so. I was panicked! How could Briley hold that baby with the truck jostleing around so. When we arrived, I learned that Briley had paid no attention to the mud or rain or driving but held that baby so well she put her to sleep! I was strutting like a rooster. That was my girl!
The preacher lived about a mile away from the church where we stayed and one hill with deep ruts had to be gone over each time. Usually it wasn´t bad but the first evening it rained as we went and this was the first day before Briley started riding in the front. Actually this was the straw that broke the camel’s back that required that Briley ride in the front from then on. I was standing holding the rail when a rock about 2 feet wide rolled in the gully and caused us to stop. It was hard to get over it and so Bro. Delarca had to gun the motor! I was thrown down hard and my thigh hit the tirewell. It hurt terribly and I was afraid I had bone damage. I couldn´t let Briley know as that scared her to death for me. I had trouble with it for 2 days and then it got better.
There´s more things for me but it got better for Briley. My mat went flat, we went and cut wood for the preachers, and I had to ride high on top of the wood on the truck. Briley was fine then.
She and I prayed together every morning and evening and anytime she was scared. Mike has told me repeatedly that he was so impressed with Briley. She rode much with Bro. Delarca (an outstanding veteran missionary)and he said he would remember her the rest of his life.
Briley talks much about the river. She doesn’t exaggerate. We first thrilled that God had answered the prayer to spare Briley going back the scary way. Don´t think we had a perfect road though as it is relative. We had lumber, about 10 bags of beans, and 10 other people in the back. It wasn´t a comfortable ride! At the river we saw it was crossable but Bro. Delarca got too far down and got the truck hung up on a rock. I jumped off to push with the men but we couldn´t budge it. We realized we couldn´t move and would have to get to shore. I got around to Briley who had water up to her waist but was not in danger of drowning as we were stationary. (I later learned she thought she might). Another man already had her door open as they are faster in the water than me. I grabbed her and walked her to shore.
Fortunately the current was much worse at the rear of the truck than where she had to walk. I explained that we were safe and in no danger now. She was recovered after about 10 minutes but every time we men were called back in to push the truck she was afraid I would die. I am touched about her concern for me. We were there for hours and had to be hauled home in another truck. She found a little side creek fully in my view. I told her that I knew what she was doing and she said she was finding something good in something bad. The ride home was much worse for me than her. I secured her a seat in the front and we all rode in the back under a piece of plastic like a can of sardines. It was a smaller truck and was a 2 and 1-2 hour drive. One of the Honuran ladies vomited several times, so it could have been worse. We had services on the river as we waited for help to come. Mike and I both preached. BTW, the Lord especially helped me preach at that time. We finally got back in Yoro.
The rest of the trip was much calmer, but we had such enjoyable services with several congregations.
Missions trips are life changing, for you and your children, so why you start planning one now.