I have had the great privilege to go on several short-term mission trips. I love preaching the Gospel to those who have not heard and starting churches where they had not existed. However, I am a horrible missionary. I do not like eating food I do not recognize and sleeping in places that do not feel safe or clean. I especially do not like surprises.
Jesus was teaching when he realized there was a problem. A father cried out to him whose child had seizures and was mute. Jesus asked him if he had faith and the father cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21)
This is always my cry on mission trips. “Lord, help my unbelief”. The first trip Tara and I took to Durango Mexico we drove in a caravan of people from our association. The trip was led by our Director of Missions. We drove our brand-new minivan. After the two-day drive, we found ourselves in front of a tiny church where we were divided up to go to our sleeping arrangements for the week in church member’s homes. It was chaos and I was exhausted. There were only a couple interpreters present and there was a lot of confusion. I was told to hand the keys to my new car to our host because he did not speak English and they thought it would be easier for him to drive than give directions. I knew without a doubt that we would never be seen or heard from again.
After a wild drive down some poorly constructed roads and many speed bumps that did not seem to cause our host to slow down, we pulled into a neighborhood. The idea of staying in a stranger’s home in a foreign land was what I would define as pure insanity. What if we did not have running water or electricity? What if the house was full of bugs? As we went down the street all I could see were large walls and steel gates. All I could think of was that it obviously was not a safe place to live if they needed all that broken glass stuck in the top of their walls.
We stopped in front of one of these gates and our host honked his horn. He pulled around in front of the gate as it opened, and I saw behind the big scary wall a huge, beautiful home. As we unloaded our bags from the car, we were brought into a home with beautiful tile floors and very nice amenities. They showed us to our room which was the master suite that they had moved out of for the week to give us a more private place to stay. They pulled food out of their pantry and we began to point at what we would like for supper. The home was nicer than what we lived in and their hospitality was greater than a five-star hotel.
Stepping out in faith does not always mean that we do not have doubts. Stepping out in faith means that despite our fears and doubts we go anyway, trusting God to help us through it. When things seem hard and your faith seems weak, pray like this father who cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!”