I Hate Roughing It

I hate camping. Why sleep on the hard ground in the dirty, smelly, and buggy wild when I pay money each month for a climate-controlled home?

I’m not a big fan of travel, either. I am a homebody. When I was growing up, and my punishment was to stay in my room, I was thrilled.

I also don’t like change. I like comfort and security and sameness. For 7 years, I ate the same thing for lunch every day. Some call it being in a rut; I call it reassuring, safe, and easy.

You know what else I never thought was for me? Mission trips. After all, a mission trip is basically a combination of camping (roughing it), travel (often overseas), and change (new place, new people, new food).

I loved the concept of mission trips. I was all for supporting friends who went on short-term and long-term trips. They just weren’t “my thing.” My role was to send, support, pray; their role was to go, serve, and preach.

There were times in college when I did the “going,” like when I served at a few week-long camps for high school students. But that was it, and once I got married, I figured those experiences were behind me. Roughing it became 3 hours of window shopping with my wife (marginally better than camping).

But God was at work in my heart. In 2003, I joined a medical and construction team in Nicaragua. The conditions weren’t as rough as they could have been. The fact that I had a disco ball in my room (in a brothel-turned-hotel) made the conditions more than bearable.

Then, in 2007, I went on a 9-day teaching trip to Kenya with four other men from our church. The travel was near perfect. Despite 6 flights and 38 hours of air time, we had zero delays, and all the free beer and wine I wanted on the planes (like 2 servings, but still).

With these two trips, and my wife’s church-led trip to Eleuthera (Bahamas), I was surprised that the changes (new places, people, and food) were the best parts.

God made me realize that He is God of the entire world, not just my small and comfortable one.

David Platt writes in Radical,

“How many of us are embracing the comforts of suburban America while we turn a deaf ear to inner cities in need of the gospel? How many of us are so settled in the United States that we have never once given serious thought to the possibility that God may call us to live in another country? How often are we willing to give a check to someone else as long as we don’t have to go to the tough places in the world ourselves?”

That was me. I thought I was doing good by giving to others to serve and preach. But now I see that I would be missing out on so much if I would have just stayed home in my own comfort and security.

I’m thankful that God turned my heart from being a sender to a goer.

Did you ever think that mission trips weren’t for you? Have you ever gone on one?

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**image courtesy of ericortner via rgbstock.com

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