It was a day filled with adventure as my husband and I were reunited with friends and volunteers from our mission assignment in Atlantic, North Carolina. We were greeted warmly with lots of handshakes, hugs, reminisces, laughter and yes, even a few tears. It was a sweet, sweet reunion for all of us!
The Baptist Men allowed my husband and I to set up a display table highlighting our down east ministry at the 2008 Baptist Men's Mission Conference in Winston Salem, North Carolina in March of this year. The scene was recaptured on a six foot display board located in the gym of Calvary Baptist Church.
The main heading read, 'To be on mission with God, you don't have to cross the sea, but see the cross.' I'm sure that many of our volunteers recognized that saying since it was proudly displayed on the wall of the bunkhouse on site in Atlantic during the Hurricane Isabel rebuild from 2004--2007. A second caption read, 'N.C. Baptist Men and Women--where hearts are touched and lives changed through the ministry of helping others.' Then, of course, the third section was about my book, Perils & Promises, Life on Mission.
Looking back on those days, I realize how fortunate the two of us were to be allowed the privilege of serving God and others on the mission field of life. Although the work was grueling and could be emotionally draining, I carried my tools out on the journey with me.
What tools you might ask, since most know that I was not too productive with the manly man tools that my husband embraced, such as a hammer, skill saw and nails. No, the necessary tools that I had were bound in leather--namely my Bible and journal. Just as my husband could not make it through one single day down east without his handyman tools, I could not have done my part without my trusty leather ones either.
More and more I've come to realize the importance of writing down important events in life and have decided that no mission group should leave home without a jounalist. Oh no, you don't have to be a professional writer to do this! You only need to have the desire to squirrel away a few quiet moments away from the hustle and bustle of mission work to gather your thoughts and express yourself on paper (preferably a journal).
Once you get back home, you will have more time to process the information you gathered on the trip. Great mission stories will emerge from this tactic if you will simply give it a try. I can tell you this from experience, since Perils & Promises, Life on Mission is an incredible book and by product of journaling. As my pastor writes in an endorsement, 'this book will inspire you, challenge you and touch your life in a profound way.' My humble response to his comment is simply, To God be the glory!