Thursday, August 18, 2011
Getting outside ourselves and our routine and realizing there's a world much bigger than us out there. Just one of the many reasons why we're committed as a family to serve elsewhere as often as we can.
A year ago, a dear friend of ours asked us if we'd consider going down to Ensenada Mexico with their church in Idaho who partnered with the missions organization YUGO for a mission trip. The trip was financially taken care of for our family, and the only condition was that we pray about whether God was asking us to bring our church here in Spokane down in the future. Kind of a no brainer, right?!? Abby was thrilled to once again be able to travel to another country and get to experience with her boys (all three of them) a rich culture that is different than our own. James was thrilled to get to go to a new country and be able to be a participant in a trip rather than lead. Sam was excited to be playing soccer with the kids. JJ was excited to get to ride in an airplane again and work a hammer. We all were excited to serve a family who desperately needed a home and kids who desperately needed a smile. It was an incredible trip, but it was a life-changing experience for our family. We were so convicted that THIS is a large part of how God has called us, as the Lemans, to live our life . . . serving on mission . . . as a family. Needless to say, we knew God was calling us back to Mexico, and we decided we'd love to include our church in the opportunity. 13 others said yes!
So, on October 30, 2011, a group of 15 of us will be flying down to San Diego where we'll pick up our rental vans and make our way across the border for a week. We'll be building a house for a new family, and partnering with the same church that we went with last year from Idaho to put on a VBS. We know missions. We both grew up as missionary kids. This kinda sounds like a "canned" mission trip. But canned or not, it's effective. We're called to serve the poor. We're building a house for people who live in boxes on land they finally are able to own. We're called to preach the Gospel. The Gospel is preached to those we serve, with the help of translators. We're called to care for the orphans and widows. Most of the kids we do VBS with are left to themselves with maybe one adult to "supervise" for 18 hour days while their parents are in the fields working, earning less than $10/week. We are called to build up and encourage. We play pictionary in the dirt because it's funny and it's the most effective way we can communicate because sadly we never bothered to learn their language, and buy birthday cakes for someone who's never had one, and share testimony and worship in a church with other brothers and sisters who we'll spend eternity with. We're called to go and make disciples of all nations. We're not just going to another nation to make disciples of their people, we're bringing our people with us to another nation to make disciples of our own! This trip will be life-changing for many people, both in Mexico and here in Spokane. And we wonder, will it be life-changing for you?
So many people read things like this and think, "they just want money". Yep, it's true, We're gonna ask you for money, but, we're gonna challenge you too. Most people will read this and think, "must be nice. Wish I could go do something like that! Being a pastor (or his wife) has its perks!" First off, being pastor (or his wife) is really hard, and if you want to trade, well sorry . . . we're blessed with this burden! But we have not just Mr. Pastor and his family going. We'd go anyway even if he wasn't in this job. We have a nurse named Kim, an 8 year old named Sam, a high school student named Ken, a college student named Kourtney, two seminary students named Riley and James, two hairstylists named Kim and Corissa, a baby named Emilee, a techie named Scott, a manager named Jeff, two guys who test oil named Justin and Robert, a 5 year old named JJ, and a mom who homeschools named Abby. God can use ANYONE!
Second, if you even have an inkling of excitement reading this, what's stopping you from going on a mission trip of your own? Believe me, you'll always have a thousand excuses! There will never be the perfect time or have all the money just sitting there. It's always hard to ask for time off. It will always be inconvenient, and there will always be scary, bad, and violent people lurking in foreign countries. But for everyone one of them, there's thousands of really incredible people with stories to be heard and shared. And guess what, God gave you a story too. And there might be someone in Mexico, or Romania, or Haiti, or Africa, or inner-city Denver, or somewhere that needs to hear your story. So get out there where it's uncomfortable and scary and really freakin' amazing! Because I promise you, you'll come back a different person!
So, we have to raise a bunch of money for this thing. Our whole team does. It's just over $1000 for each person to go. So our family needs to raise just over $4000. The team has 15 people going (but one is free b/c she's an infant)! So that's a lot of money. We're doing the fundraiser stuff- we did the garage sale, the car wash, the bake sale, and we're doing a dessert night, haircuts, and a Mexican Fiesta. And we're selling prime real estate for Mexico. We're selling square feet of the house we'll be building for $10 a square foot. If you would like to help us get down there, let us know! We'll send you info of where to send a check. When you decide to go yourself, let us know so we can send you a check!
Above is a picture of our team. We took it last night at our team meeting. We're just normal people who are in all different walks of life who decided God said it was time to go (or go again) to Mexico so we can see what He's doing there and see how we can join in. Hopefully you'll partner with us, because that would be a little step towards going yourself! Pray for us! Pray for our team! We have old and new Christians, and some that are trying to figure out what that even means! If you want some real Mexican vanilla, let us know and we'll bring some back for you! We'll update this as we get closer and tell you about the family we're going to build for! We can't wait to meet them! Until then, know you're loved!