The time has finally arrived. We take Ally to RDU at 4:30 tomorrow morning to see her off for a mission trip to Costa Rica. The trip is arranged through her school, GRACE Christian School in Raleigh. Parents are not allowed to go because part of the idea is to help the students learn to rely more on God than on mom and dad. It’s a good goal, but a little unnerving for protective parents!
The team is 26 people strong. They will be working near San Jose, Costa Rica. Much of the ministry will center around orphans. They will be serving Casa Viva, an organization designed to help orphans in the area. It’s a great ministry, and we are very excited the team from GRACE will be able to join with them to minister to these children.
If you look closely at the picture to the right, you’ll see Ally right in the middle of the group. The team is comprised of 23 teenagers, from ninth grade through twelfth grade. There are three adults on the team, Mandy Gill, the principal of the Upper Campus (junior high and high school) and Isaiah Whelpley, one the school’s Bible teachers. Isaiah’s wife Kat is the other adult member of the team. We have a great respect for Mandy, Isaiah, and Kat and are extremley grateful for their leadership with the kids and this team. They have each already had substantial positive impact on Ally.
We are excited with the growth we’ve seen in her during her time at GRACE. She is, as always, an excellent student. But more importantly, GRACE also challenges her to more fully align her heart with the love of Christ. It is for this reason she feels compelled to share that love with others, especially underprivileged children. I really admire her heart in this regard. As parents, our greatest hope is that she be filled with the Holy Spirit and that she love and serve God with all her heart. This is the basic prayer I have prayed over her almost every day of her life. It is exciting – and a little scary – to see God answering that prayer!
The team will be gone for 10 days. During that time, we will have little contact with them. This, of course, will also be hard on anxious families, but it is a good opportunity for us to remember that our children are always in the hands of their loving Heavenly father, whether they be by our side or in a different country.
Short-term mission trips are great for many reasons. They take you out of your comfort zone and help you learn to rely on God. You are also able to step into a different world and bring a new perspective to those you touch, as well as learn from their perspective. In terms of lives changed, short-term missions often accomplish more than local ministries can on their own. It’s great that God uses our differences as a bridge when we are placed in other cultures; people can be drawn to Him through their curiosity about what they see in us. We often hear stories about doors that have been closed to the gospel for decades opening when short-term missionaries come to an area. Even though a trip like this is only for a short period in time, the goal is to have an eternal impact. It’s amazing how God works and even more amazing when we get to participate in His work.
Please keep Ally and the team in your prayers. I don’t want to list the full names of all the students, but I will list their first names. In addition the adults listed above, the students going on the trip are:
- Ally (guess you can figure that one out)
- Hannah B
- Hannah M
- Hannah O
Selfishly, we pray for safety and health. But, most importantly, we ask you to join us in prayer for God’s will to be displayed through the team and this trip.