Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Following the Call

This My Christmas List contest entry comes from Janice, a mother who always wanted her children to follow God's calling. Then, God came knocking at her own door, and her family's life--not to mention the people of Honduras--was forever changed.

As a mother, I have always tried to teach my children to obey God’s calling. Based on this, I was extremely proud when my daughter began going on mission trips to Honduras every summer. However, the tables began to turn when she would ask me to go with her. For a long time, I argued that it was a medical trip and I was not in the medical field; therefore, it must not be my calling. However, one year the team needed a cook. I had cooked for Army soldiers and large church groups for over 20 years. I could go be the team cook, and this changed everything. That year, I submitted to God’s calling and decided to go on the trip. As a result, my husband and son also decided to go with us. It was a whole family adventure and we were forever changed. 

While on the trip, the team served in a remote village by hosting medical and dental clinics, having tent church services and just loving on people in need. Every day, I cooked with no electricity or running water for over 120 people. After serving the first meal to our team members, I was told to fix plates for our guards. These men volunteered to stay up all night every night to watch over us and our supplies in exchange for only a flashlight and meals! At first, we gave them what we had left after each meal, the leftovers. Plates were loaded with simple meals like hamburger and fries, but you cannot imagine their gratitude.  

Later, I went around the corner to throw out some water and saw a guard feeding his entire family of five from the single plate of food he had been given. As the tears rolled down my face, I thought about the love a parent has for their children. I have shared food from my plate with my children many times, but always because they wanted it-- never because they needed it and definitely not because that was all we had. From that point forward, I began fixing the guards huge plates of food first, every meal, not the leftovers. My heart was broken, and I couldn't eat my own food that trip because all I could see were the hungry families everywhere I looked.

Several years later on another trip, I noticed a little boy was at the gate every day eating the food we were serving, but I couldn't figure out how he was getting the food. My daughter is fluent in Spanish, so I had her ask him. He replied, “This is my daddy’s plate. He gives it to me every time.” Needless to say, that guard got two plates every meal. What a sacrifice that daddy made by giving his plate that he worked for to his son, all the while, not knowing if he himself would eat that day.

These fathers gave everything they had, their own food to their children. Yet our Father in Heaven has given us so much more by sacrificing His Son. Honduras has changed mine and my family’s perspective about anything, but more importantly it has changed our hearts. Even in the comforts of the United States, we now give more than we used to, and we cherish our blessings so much more. My son asked me one day, “Mom, why don’t we take family vacations like we used to?  I think we should go to Hawaii.” I explained to him that we couldn't afford both trips, and we would have to give up Honduras. Without hesitation, he said, “Never mind; it’s not worth it.”

We do make sacrifices to go on this trip each year and to give to missions throughout the year, but the blessings we get back far exceed what we give up. This is our offering of ourselves to God, but it is nothing compared to the sacrifice Christ made for us. During the holidays (and all year), we need to remember that baby Jesus in the manger is God the Father’s gift to us, the ultimate sacrifice given in His great love for us, his children.

It is God’s love for us that compels us to love others. As we strive to do this, I am impressed every year at the way God draws others to serve alongside us through BMDMI and the work they are doing in Honduras. My immediate family continues to go to Honduras every year, but now members of our extended family and our church family are also blessed by serving in this way. Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International (BMDMI) is carrying out the great commission and providing a path for normal people, in all different professions to be the hands and feet of Christ. In fact, Amy Parker’s mother is one of the nurses on our trip each summer.

These stories don't even begin to express the depths of how my life and so many other lives have been impacted by this ministry. Serving the people of Honduras has become my passion. It is my heart and my mission field. My Christmas wish is to have more money to help meet basic needs of people in Honduras, like feeding the hungry and providing medicine to the sick, as a means of pointing them towards Christ.   

P.S. Amy Parker’s mother is one of our nurses on this trip. Thank you, Betty, for giving for this trip.

Thank you, Janice (and MOM!), for being the hands and feet of Jesus, not only to the families of Honduras, but to your own family as well.

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