It’s been a week today, as I sit down to write, that we crossed the boarder back into the United States after as weekend in Ensenada, Mexico. When we left, I almost couldn’t wait to get back just so I could write all about how awesome it was. And, yes awesome it was, but I think the first thing that stood out to me were the messages that I either heard from family and friends, or have used myself when others I knew were going on out the country mission trips. And, really, they are more like excuses.
So, I’ll get to the beauty of the trip later, but for now I feel compelled to share about the number one issue I had before leaving: People telling me how dangerous it is was “down there.”
Now that’s not to say I didn’t have some apprehensions about going. Added then to the general fears of crossing the border was the fact that the rains were proving to be quite ornery. Mix heavy rains, with unfamiliar territory, many clay dirt roads to travel and the attempt to build houses in it all, and let’s just say the fear factor was significantly increased. I truly didn’t realize how terrified I was until I heaved a sigh of relief crossing back into the U.S.
My family also gave me quite a hard time about taking my girls with us, and I completely understand why. I truly believe they also understand why I had to. See, God has not given us a spirit of fear, we are not to cower, hide, and live a safe life.
And while I was tempted to quote Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” to everyone so they would feel better, the truth is we tend to skip right over other passages on fear like these:
Psalm 118:6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Tweet This
Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
1 Peter 3:13-14 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” Tweet This
Before leaving I didn’t have a response, well a least a well clear one, but I do now.
We are not promised tomorrow.
In case you missed it, and I know I need to hear it again…
We are not promised tomorrow.
Yet, we tend to forget this.
I can stay here in the comfort of my life and be taken in a car wreck on the way to my kids swim practice, or I can take a leap of faith, risk something, a lot of something, in fulfilling the great commission, the purpose to which I am called, and die in the process.
Mark 8:35-36 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?…
Either way I die and am united with One who loved me first.
Then there were others who pushed passed death and said death would be easier than knowing your kids had been taken and or even sold into slavery (aka my mother and grandmother) and you’d have to live with that.
Yes, I would. But I know a God who is bigger than it all, a God who has promised to always be with me and my kids too. And this same God has said
Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.…
While the gift of salvation is free gift to those who accept it, the reality is that choosing to follow Christ does have a cost.
Does any of this mean I have less fear. Absolutely not!
Yes, yes, Mexico can be dangerous. There is no taking away that gut wrenching feeling of driving across the border to be welcomed by soldiers openly bearing rather large guns around their necks. And yes, on this trip both my husband with others in our group and a friend with another group were stopped by police for vehicle violations like parking on the wrong side of the road or running a “alto” sign that they didn’t see. However, with the help of translators, both were fine. To my understanding no one gave up money, and I know that no one went to jail for it.
I have some friends from seminary who are full time missionaries in Mexico and have been for years, so I asked Traci this question: If you could say one thing to those who are afraid of going to Mexico, what would it be?
Her response was this, “That most of the reports on the news are not accurate. Juarez, below Texas, that is a different story. I have lived here nearly 9 years and have never had an incident. Ensenada is a great city. Even TJ is not what people think. It’s like LA. There are places, areas you will not go. It’s the same thing with TJ and Ensenada. You just don’t go to those areas.” (I have asked Traci to share her story with us soon and am looking forward to it.)
The last thing I feel compelled to say is that just like following Christ has a cost, so does living in fear Tweet This. Had I chosen to listen to all the voices around me telling me how dangerous it was and offering me places for my kids to stay so they didn’t have to go, I would have missed out on the “beauty found in surrender.” Not only would we have missed modeling for our children what faith looks like and the opportunity for us to all see God move in a tangible way, but we would have missed out on all the reasons we needed Mexico (a future post).
Yep, we need the people of Mexico a whole lot more than they need us. Don’t let fear stop you from finding out why for yourself.
Have you gone on a mission trip and heard this from others? Or, have you let fear keep you from going on one? Or, have you said these words to someone going on one?