Gearing up for Patagonia

It is New Year’s Eve, but we are not counting down the hours until midnight. We are not waiting for the ball to drop. No, this year we are counting the hours until 8am when we leave for the airport and our mission trip to Patagonia. I turn to Emma, my thirteen year-old daughter who is joining me on this trip and ask if she is ready. “Yes! I can’t believe it!” she squeals.Emma to Patagonia

Tomorrow our team of students and Cru staff will converge in Miami, gathering together for the first time for an orientation and dinner in the airport before setting off for a two-week expedition in the Andes Mountains of Argentina. We intend to spend five days trekking near El Bolson and a day white water rafting. For the bulk of the expedition, though, we will be serving at a lodge in Bariloche. Throughout the trip we will have two objectives: to help our students develop in Christ-like character, faith, and love for the Lord, and to share the love and hope of the Gospel to the travelers we encounter from all over the world.

Our partnership with the lodge is new this year. Last year visitors from over 60 different countries stayed at the lodge, and interestingly 70% of these were vacationers from Israel who had just finished their years of military service. Our hope is to build relationships with these visitors, offer them hospitality, and invite them on outdoor day trips, engaging in spiritual conversations and demonstrating the love of Christ.

In reality, as I sit here typing this, I am filled with apprehension, eager expectation, nervous energy and, I hope, more than a touch of faith. Already God has met all our financial needs for every member of this trip, and He has brought us together for His purposes. He has had a plan for this time from the beginning of creation and He has cleared our schedules that we might be centered on and available to Him. I just don’t happen to know what that will look like.

This morning I was reflecting on Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Author Paul Tripp says, “We quickly forget that God rules over every situation, location, and relationship for his glory and our good. And when we forget, we want control over things we will never control.” As one of the trip leaders, I want to ensure success, fruitfulness, and great growth. However, none of that is up to me. I cannot force growth in the students or in those we meet, nor even in myself. I am utterly dependent on God. Please pray that I would choose daily to submit, surrender, and sacrifice my will to His, and that I would live for the glory of Christ and the joy of being His. It is crazy that on a mission trip I still wrestle with this fear of failing. Yet how can I fail in doing something that God himself will either do or not do?

So, do I have a New Year’s resolution? Hmmm… I think it is more like a two-week resolution that I hope will continue for a lifetime—that is, to remember that God rules and to let Him do it. Thanks for your prayers!

 

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