An hour ago Curt said goodbye to us and hopped in the car to head to the airport. Alli, our six year old, was completely distraught and at one point wailed, "Can't you tell them you quit and you're going to stay home with your kids and your wife?" It was heart-wrenching, but I digress.
Curt, along with 13 other guys and 2 girls from Solid Rock, is heading to Haiti for a week to help with earthquake relief efforts. Solid Rock has a huge emphasis on reaching the poor and needy both in the greater Portland area and around the world. Our missions pastor Mike uncovered an opportunity to partner with Forward Edge, a non-profit organization on the ground in Haiti, to build semi-permanent housing for more than 22,000 people living in a tent village on a non-denominational church property in Grace Village.
Mike gathered a group of men together and he's leading the team to Haiti this week to bring crucial supplies, set up a base camp, and start building homes. Each man on this trip has committed to return to Haiti some time in the next year, leading his own team, to continue the work they will start. The primary focus is to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to serve the Haitians by building homes for them, but there will also be opportunities for women to work in the food kitchen and with the orphans. Since Curt is medically trained, he'll be scoping out the medical needs to potentially address when he brings his team back.
It's an amazing opportunity for Curt to build relationships with like-minded Godly men, to serve the Haitian people in practical ways, to step outside the realm of what is comfortable and predictable, to experience a third-world culture, and to go deep with God. I'm so thrilled for him and can't wait to hear all about his trip when he returns. Normally I would have no reservations about a trip like this but because we had the opportunity to walk the faith-building and sad road of losing David Hames to this very earthquake, I can't help but feel hesitant to kiss my man goodbye and let him drive away.
Last week at church our pastor started his message by reading out-loud this quote from Jesus in Luke 14:26, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple." Can you feel the awkward silence and muffled giggles when he read that verse and then just stopped and looked around? How do you explain away such an offensive statement? Over the course of the message (podcast it to get the full story- it's called Becoming a Disciple) he broke down what a disciple does: follow, go behind. If we reverse the order (us first, Jesus following), we're not being disciples. We worked our way back to this verse and realized that what Jesus is saying is that anything that comes before him, inhibits our ability to be a disciple. So if I put my husband and kids, my job, family, FILL-IN-THE-BLANK before Jesus, I'm not being a disciple.
There's not much that stands in the way of me and God but if I'm really honest, I keep a tight grasp on my family. My biggest fear is losing Curt or one of my kids and in an ironic twist in God's plan, I'm being forced to face that fear head-on this week. Sunday's difficult message challenged me to evaluate my life in terms of how closely I'm following Jesus. Tonight, when I kissed Curt goodbye and watched him drive away, I had to trust that God's got him covered. That God's plan, purpose, timeline, and protection are greater and better than anything I could ever dream up or imagine. That His grace is sufficient for me and that His power is made perfect in my weakness.
Curt found this verse today in his daily Bible reading and it will be my prayer for him and the entire team this week. Psalm 5:11b-12, "Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
Dear Jesus, will you spread your protection over this group? Will you give them safe travel to and from, give them rest, make them useful, and be near to them as they serve these dear people in Your name? They love You and rejoice in You. Please surround them with Your favor as a shield and bring them home safely, I ask in Your mighty name. Amen.