A couple of days ago Sean Groves wrote about Compassion Blogging trips and why some people opt out on the opportunity to go on these trips. He mentioned the fear of flying as being the number one reason why some people decide not to go on Compassion trips with the fear of terrorists second, then the fear of seeing poverty and then something about the fear of monkeys and so on. Anyway, I thought about this and realized that all these fears almost kept me from going to Haiti 14 years ago (minus the fear of monkeys).
My husband, Stephen, went to work for Compassion International 15 years ago. His first trip with Compassion was to Ecuador and it was life-changing for him. This change was a little annoying for me because he would continually bring attention to any spending he deemed over the top and excessive. At one point he even joked about moving to the garage because he thought our house was too big for our family of 3. He never did move into the garage but he talked me into going on a Compassion trip to Haiti. In all honesty, I wasn’t too excited about Haiti. However, through his insistence, I made arrangements with my in-laws to care for my one year old baby, Julia, and I braced myself for the journey.
I tried very hard to get out of the trip several times because I was absolutely terrified to fly and did not want to leave Julia. I was convinced I would die on this trip. The night before the trip I actually wrote Julia a goodbye letter fearing for the worst. Stephen had to fly out a day before me and words can’t describe how tempted I was to miss my flight, but I got enough courage up to get on the plane.
The poverty in Haiti was worse than I ever expected. The trip still goes down as the most challenging Compassion trip I have ever been on. It was physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging and I definitely was uncomfortable for a good portion of the trip. Some of the accommodations were rough and I ate my first goat stew while in Haiti. What I remember the most about the trip was the joy of the children in the Compassion projects and their beautiful singing and dancing. I realized that I was missing something spiritually that the Haitian children had. They were desperate and passionate about Christ. My life was changed by this trip.
When people say that something changed their life, I always wonder what and how. For us, the way we made decisions changed. Also, we had a strong desire to serve the poor in our community. This led us down our path to finding New Life Church and leaving a yuppie church. The way we parent our children has been influenced by our trips. We aim to help our children be good, which doesn’t always make them happy. The way we spend money has been affected, and even our vacations have been influenced.
Personally, one major area that has changed for me is overcoming fear. I no longer am afraid to fly and travel. I was once so afraid to fly that I had to get a prescription from my doctor to sedate myself so that I would not have panic attacks on flights. That first trip to Haiti helped me develop confidence in traveling to places with poverty. After that trip I could not wait to go on another trip with Compassion. I now have been on several Compassion trips and will be going to Kenya with Stephen and my kids in four weeks to celebrate my husbands 15th year of working for Compassion. After that I will be going on the Compassion blog trip to India to support the moms that will be blogging. It cracks me up because 10 years ago I remember telling Stephen that I never wanted to go to Africa or India (they seemed too scary and far). I love the experience of travel, I love the Compassion kids and I love what it does for me spiritually. I still struggle with some fear but it no longer controls me!
My life is different because I stepped out of my comfort zone and went on that first trip to Haiti. I know that there are risks to traveling but, I also know my God is big and He wants me to trust Him. That is part of the surrender we make when we give our hearts to Him. God may not ask all of us to travel, but He doesn’t want our fear to stop us from trusting Him. God may not ask all of us to go work at a street church either, but more than often, He will ask us to get uncomfortable for Him. Whether we chose to do it is up to us.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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