Friday, November 5, 2010

Preparing for Radio Silent

In less than 24 hours, we will be well on our way to Belize. Or at least Dallas, but you get the idea. That first step of getting on the plane, will be big. I'm too excited to really find a word better than "excited". It's sort of surreal. So much planning, anticipating, praying, preparing. Finally coming to fruition.

It's going to be interesting to be "unplugged". I know this is part of the experience and challenge, to leave the electronics at home. But after the hurricane, we're not even positive if the option is available to plug in as power is intermittent at best. No phones, no computers, no radio, no hair dryer. We are truly unplugged.

I am definitely of the generation of people whose smart phone is a lifeline. It's how I connect to people. I can call, email, text, facebook.... I'm never more than a few taps away from pretty much anyone with whom I'd like to interact. It's also entertainment, organization, planning. It tells me when my bills are due, when I have appointments and meetings, what the weather is doing (everywhere). I'm even in touch with God on my smart phone (come on, you all know the Holy Bible app on the iphone is awesome!).

But guess what, billions of people around the world get by without a phone. Or really anything but the true essentials. Food, water, shelter, and each other. Some have even less. This feels like a huge culture shock and being drop-kicked out of my comfort bubble, but when I really think about it, it is silly to even give a second thought. I can surely survive a week without it. I will connect with the people around me, and with God. It will be such an adventure!!

That said, I also will not be blogging, obviously. The plan is for a group blog, but again that depends on the electricity situation. If you're interested in what I/we am/are up to...there are several places to look.

First, the group blog. and follow the links for "Belize 2010 team".

This is where I will be. It may not look quite like this after the hurricane.

This is the mission website with more photos and information

I bought a beautiful journal to take with me. I'm not huge on journaling in general, as I prefer the implied audience of blogging. It opens up my creative mind for writing. But now that I've been doing it consistently, and have people reading it, I feel inspired to journal in lieu of blogging to document my trip, experiences, emotions, and everything in between. I will certainly share some of it when I get back.

Many of my loved ones are worried for me (even more are excited). They are nervous or afraid of the travel to another country. Of people who hate Americans. Of hurricanes. All I can say is that I have faith to core of my soul that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I am not afraid. If it's meant to be the end of my story, then I trust God in that. However, I also have faith that God isn't done with me. This is the beginning. I'm not finished here. I take comfort in trusting it to Him to protect me and bring me back home. And with everything going on in my life in these past weeks, I have joy in the fact that I have something to come home to.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 28:11

Monday, November 1, 2010


Be flexible. We'll plan but be ready to be flexible. Flexibility is key.
This has been the resounding message from Day 1 of planning for the Belize trip. What? So I should go to yoga more often? No, silly...they're saying Type A-ers shall have an extremely difficult time letting go of control and adapting to the inevitable changes in "plans" for a mission trip.

I tend to be more on the side of "go with the flow" when it comes to, well everything. I know this is part of my personality that people around me love, as it drives them crazy. But, I figured it will be advantageous will the whole "be flexible" thing.

So....we haven't even left yet and things have changed. And changed some more. And changed yet more. And guess what....probably not done with the changing. I'm not freaking out yet, but some of the changes make me a little sad. I've learned to trust God in these moments, but it's still a bummer. Unfortunately we had another team drop out for personal reasons, and our fearless leader was replaced with just under a week before departure. I don't know the details, and if I did, they're not mine to share. All I know is that they are not going, and I wish they were.

For me, I think it is God continuing to challenge me to lean on Him alone. I could see that I was starting to lean on this person for comfort and strength going into the trip, as he was our leader and a friend (well he is still a friend, but not one who is going on the trip). I'm certain this change was not brought only simply because of my journey and struggles, but I do see how it will directly impact me in this trip. I have always considered myself an independent person, but I see now the pattern of codependence in emotional matters. Yes, I can change a tire, smash a cockroach, and hang a painting. I can build a bookshelf, move a couch, and unclog a drain. Yes, yes, we're so impressed. But whether things are going well or really bad, I lean heavily on the people around me for support. I know I don't have all the answers, and I can't do it alone....however, my inner circle doesn't have all the answers either, and sometimes I am just too much for them to hold up (I am six feet tall, after all...). I feel God pulling me towards him for this support, love, and clarity I seek. And with the call the be uber flexible this coming week, I think I will need to reach to Him more than ever.

In my sadness and bummed-ness, I am thankful for the lessons learned. I hope, no I know, that the other people involved will come through at some point with better perspectives of why things turned out the way they did, and that they and we will be stronger and closer to God because of it.