Life After Orphanage Emmanuel

Day 7 – Saturday – Leaving Orphanage Emmanuel and beyond

Today we returned home. The projects were complete. Things were accomplished that could have only been done because the Lord did it. The tasks were God-sized and so were the results. I will remember this.

We were up early to make sure we were packed and loaded and that our rooms were cleaned. There is another team arriving today. We wanted to leave the place neater and cleaner than we found it as a blessing to them.

We had extra time, so some of our team headed out and made the rounds to see the kids they met – to say goodbye. I said goodbye yesterday. I didn’t really want to do it again today. I was afraid I might promise Jose something rashly that I’m not convinced of logically yet. So I didn’t go.

Later, I regretted that decision. I should have gone and hugged that boy one more time.

I came to Orphanage Emmanuel thinking I was going to experience this with my husband. I wanted him to be glad I came. I wanted him to be appreciative that I came; that I worked it out to come. Maybe he was or is. I don’t even know. Earlier in the week I was a little upset that he wasn’t paying me enough attention. Juvenile I know, but true. I know those feelings were a result of the reason behind why I came. I had my own perspective and it was not God’s. That is what happens when our motivations are centered in “self.”

I heard the other wives voice how they come with their husbands and it is like they are on different trips. This, I now understand, is the reality of joining God at work differently. Truth is, I hardly saw my husband. We ate meals together and that was about it.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter. I am glad I came. At some point during the week, God aligned my perspective to His. That made all the difference. I was no longer looking through my own heart, but through the Lord’s.

Someone asked me if I had fun. I am not sure that is the adjective I would use to describe this trip. I definitely enjoyed the week and I enjoyed spending time with people I do not often get to spend time with. I enjoyed the boys and I enjoyed the farm. But, for me, that is not really the right question. For me, the right question is “Am I different than I was before?”

People go on mission trips for all kinds of reasons. Obviously. Regardless of our motivation, I think there is an underlying belief that the purpose of a mission trip is to serve. I think that sells it short. The Lord’s purpose in a mission trip is certainly to use His body to serve His people – to share His love into a dark world. I believe His purpose is also to cause His body to change through the experience. We should come back different because God’s Word teaches that we cannot truly encounter Him and not be changed.

My week at Orphanage Emmanuel was not life transforming. It has been for some, I know that. Souls have been saved here. That is life transforming. People have moved here to live and serve. That is life transforming. That is not me. I will probably return. I may even go on other mission trips. But I know that I am still not “called” to the foreign mission field any more than I was a week ago.

For me, this was a faith-transforming week. It was a week I experienced with God and have been shown lessons in how to really live holy. Lessons in what living at the intersection of faith and life looks like. This is what I take home with me.

This is what I hope spills out of my life when I get home and am in the grocery store and am paying bills and am doing all the myriad things that we do. Eyes and heart open to see how to actively live like a tree planted in the living water, bearing good fruit. Eyes and heart open to see where God is working and respond to His invitation to join Him – whatever that looks like.

We are not supposed to leave those lessons in Honduras.

Blessings from Woodstock,

Denise