Throughout my personal reflections of our trip to Ecuador and reading through the team member’s thoughts, there has been a question of “how does this trip affect the rest of my life?” Many people have asked since we have come home if we are getting settled in and back into the swing of things, and each time that question is proposed I am quick to remind myself that because of Ecuador, there has to be areas where my life is not settled and into the swing of things.
One of the battles with short-term mission trips is returning to our own regular lives. Before leaving, it is easy to see a trip like this as an abnormal week where team members leave their comfort zones and put their normal priorities on the back burner in order to choose others for a time. I, and each team member I spoke with, realized when the reality of leaving set in that we all struggled with how to accept getting back into the swing of things. Questions flooded my mind on the bus rides and airplane flights. What life changes will we make? How will Ecuador affect our relationships with others? Where can we be mission-minded at home? How was I so selfish and concerned with things that had no eternal value? Because of the people we met and the experiences we shared, Ecuador had to make a difference. We would be discounting and forgetting the work God did in us if we went back to the way we lived before.
God often uses challenging trips and experiences to change us because our defenses are down and we highly desire God to make a change in us during that time. In every trip I have been on, God is always faithful to show up and do a work in us that lasts. As I reflect on desiring lasting change because of Ecuador, I realize that if God is faithful in answering our prayers to have him move in our lives during mission trips, why is that not our prayer everyday? Why do we not expect to see God work in life-changing ways even in our so-called “normal” life? The God who did amazing work in us and through us in Ecuador is the same God who wants and can do amazing work in us and through us in Wausau. That is how I believe God shows us lasting change: by revealing He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that in all things he works to bring glory to His name. It is our calling to be faithful and obedient to do that end whether we are home or thousands of miles away.