The Chronicles of a Short-Term Missionary - Guatemala

My first short-term missions trip to Guatemala was in the year 2000. I met Pastor Roger Osorio in the States in 1996. We were both pastors, worship leaders, and song writers. It was a blessing to establish such a relationship. We corresponded for a few years and then we planned a trip to Guatemala to work with Pastor Roger in July of 2000.

My oldest and youngest sons, Russ and Jonathan, along with a good family friend Jason Crowe accompanied me on the trip. We were all musicians so we were planning to minister in music and I would preach the Word.

The day came for us to depart Atlanta for Guatemala City. Our plane to Houston was delayed in arriving in Atlanta because of bad weather between Atlanta and Houston. After about an hour and a half delay we finally boarded the plane for Houston! We were to arrive later that evening in Guatemala City after a short layover in Houston.

As our planed touched down in Houston I realized our connection to Guatemala City was taking off simultaneously! We were that late. We would miss our connection! After deplaning we went to the airline to see what could be done to get us on to Guatemala City where Pastor Roger would be waiting for us at the airport. All the flights to Guatemala City were booked up for the rest of the evening. We would have to wait until the next morning to fly out.

Our disappointment turned to joy when we learned the airline was going to put us in a hotel for the night. In addition, they would provide dinner and breakfast for us...on them! That took away most of the pain of our delay! To top that off, when we boarded the next morning we were booked first class! What a blessing! When you do missions work you just don't do first class, unless Jesus wants you there! Needless to say we rode this pony with gusto all the way to Guatemala City!

Our trip seemed to be turning into an emotional roller coaster ride. When we got to Guatemala City, guess what was NOT there. Our luggage! Nope. No where to be found. The kicker is that we were scheduled to leave Guatemala City that evening for a couple of nights in the small mountain village of Santa Cruz. We did...without our luggage. I am so grateful someone suggested to me years earlier, when preparing for my first trip to India, that I take along an extra set of underwear and socks in my carry-on!

We arrived with no bags...only our carry-ons. This meant no clothes (but what we had on), no tooth brush, tooth past, soap, shampoo, no deodorant, and all the other necessities of life! I was scheduled to preach at a fairly large church that night. I couldn't preach in shorts before this great crowd so I borrowed a pair of blue jeans from a local musician. Problem was...he was about 6' 2" in height! I'm about 5' 8 1/2" when stretched on the rack. I had to fold the jeans into big cuffs that covered the tops of my feet. I wore the same shirt I arrived wearing. I preached the next evening wearing the same clothes! Pastor Roger explained to everyone in Spanish our predicament and it was obvious they understood!

On our third day in the country we left Santa Cruz to spend the rest of our time at Pastor Roger's church in the city. Our first priority after arriving back in the city was to check with the airport about our baggage. As it turns out our bags actually arrived the night before we did and someone stuck them aside for us and forgot about it. They were there all the time! We all thought it was hilarious when we learned the news.

I had heard nightmares about folks losing their luggage when making flight connections. But this time it was us! It was a good lesson for us all. Flexibility is a must when serving God. We must be pliable and ready to adjust to any situation. From lost luggage to strange hotels to no hotels to just about anything...we must be prepared.

Serving Jesus is an adventure. At least that is the way He plans it. We can learn much from our natural experiences about serving God. And travel for Him is the most effective way to learn from Him. Life is never boring for a short-term missionary!

84882: End of the Spear End of the Spear
By Steve Saint / SaltRiver

Asked to return to Ecuador by the same tribe who killed his father and other missionaries 40 years earlier, Steve Saint and his family try to help a Stone Age people transition to the 21st century. Their efforts lead to the discovery of the tribal intrigue behind the murders---resulting in very difficult decisions! 368 pages, softcover from Tyndale.

The Chronicles of a Missionary (India Part 1)

My first trip to India was the one that radically changed my life as a follower of Christ. I was the Pastor of a church which regularly supported an Indian pastor. My purpose for my first trip to India was more visionary than anything else. I wanted to get a good look at where the church's finances were going, and how it was being used. This particular purpose quickly gave way to God's divine purpose for my change my life.

I prepared as best I could for the trip. However, nothing could have prepared me for what I would experience in India. The Indian culture is like none other on the planet. I had heard the term "culture shock", but had never experienced it until I went to India. The culture shock was amazing, but that is not what changed my life. What changed my life was the "hunger shock".

The people I visited were so hungry for the Word of God. They sat for hours as I preached through a translator. I was even told after my first couple of messages, "You must preach even longer. They are hanging on to your every word!" So as I did, these followers of Christ, hungry for the purity of God's Word began to pull from me very substance of the God they longed for. I yielded and became a simple vessel. I saw miracles, healings, and people overwhelmed with God's amazing presence. And equally as important to me, I saw God working through me like I'd never experienced before. It changed my life!

The humility of these folks, also contributed to my life being changed. The trip to India is grueling. It is long. There was a 10 and a half hour difference in time zones. I got off the fourth and final leg of my journey early on a Thursday morning. The journey wasn't over yet. It was another 4 hour drive to my final destination. In India a 4 hour journey becomes a 6 hour one! My body and mind were screaming to me (inside), "You have to crash! You need some rest!" We finally arrived at the little hotel where I was to stay. It was very humble, no a/c, and not as clean as one would like. As I entered into the very humble hotel room I glanced up. Just over the door were the words "Deluxe Room". That did it. The tears began to flow. They had given me their very best and I was humbled. Most of all I was blessed!

The shower in the bathroom was a pipe (cold water only) coming out of the wall. At this point, it didn't matter. I took a wonderful, cold shower and afterwards plunged my face into a pillow for a 3 hour nap. When they arrived to pick me up for our first meeting, I felt like I was floating off in space (somewhere)! I was exhausted!

We arrived at the meeting place (under a tent) and these hungry followers of Christ were praising God at the tops of their voices, with all of their hearts. This hunger in worship began to effect me as the Spirit of God began to rise up within me. When I stepped up to preach in India for the very first time my life changed drastically! (Much more to come.)

The Chronicles of a Missionary (India Part 2)
The Chronicles of a Missionary (India Part 3)
The Chronicles of a Missionary (India Part 4)
The Chronicles of a Missionary (India Part 5)