In the summer of 1999, I traveled with a team from my church on a 3-week mission trip to Mongolia. It was an exhilarating and exhausting experience. We journeyed by plane, train, bus, and foot to see many places and watch God touch lives with His love and the gospel. By the end, I was a jumbled mix of emotions ~ joy and excitement, but also sadness and relief to be heading home.
Upon arriving home, I must confess wanting to hug every modern convenience in sight. So grateful for a comfortable bed, toilets that flush, showers that run hot water any time of the day or night, food with identifiable meat products, drinks with ice that wouldn’t make me sick, and most of all, time to myself again. Grateful to be able to do what I needed and wanted; free to focus on my own life again.
But as the days and weeks passed, there was something I missed that came as a surprise. When we were overseas as a team, one aspect I found exhausting was also incredibly fulfilling: being on mission together. Our individual preferences, schedules and opinions were secondary to the team’s overarching purpose. We had to work through our differences. It created a sense of unity that is hard to find in “normal life” at home.
In John 20:21, Jesus commissions the disciples and says, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” He’s speaking to them as a group, as “sent ones” together on God’s mission in the world. When I think of the things I’m most grateful for, what comes to mind? Often it’s family and friends, health and stability, comforts and conveniences. But what about the amazing privilege of being part of Jesus’ mission?
This November, I’m reminded to be grateful that, no matter what differences I may have with my brothers and sisters in Christ, we ARE united in purpose. I’m thankful to serve with an organization like Love INC that offers a taste of unity every single day. We get to be on mission together at home too, transforming lives and communities In the Name of Christ.
- Jennifer Hanson, Executive Director