Since my last post back in 2016, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to Haiti, Dominican Republic & Mexico on mission trips along with keeping busy with finishing my nursing degree at a local community college. I've decided to share some of the experiences and lessons I've learned from these mission trips.
We walked along the jungle trail with a pep in our step. My friend was taking us to visit his uncle and aunt who grew oregano on the hillside. Along the way, there were cool streams to ford and large rocks and tree roots that crisscrossed the path. Small purple flowers bloomed along the path which brightened our journey. We began to smell a pleasant wafting of oregano even before we could see the uncle’s gardens.
When we arrived at the top of the hill, their humble home looked more like what we would call a shack than a house. There were chickens getting ready to roost for the evening sitting on the porch walls. We greeted Auntie and then climbed the next hill in search of Uncle who was out in his field. Once we found him, there was an embrace and then the normal chit-chat for an uncle and nephew who hadn’t seen each other in more than a year.
The dear couple was so warm and down-to-earth--my kind-of people. They invited us into their home for a few minutes to chat about life--all in Spanish of course. Before we left they picked a few of the fresh mini pineapples that they were growing on their hillside to share with us. The taste was so rich and sweet--some of the best tasting pineapples I’ve ever had. We enjoyed snacking on a few before heading back down the trail--this time in the dusk of sunset.
As we trekked back down the trail in the growing darkness, I couldn’t help but think about that dear couple. Even though they were living in a poor house on the mountainside in the Dominican Republic, they were so happy to give of the little they had.
They were so isolated from what we call the basic amenities of the world. They didn't have any cell service or cell phones for that matter. No wifi. No grocery stores a few miles away. No large house or new car in the driveway.
Yet they were content with what they had and even gave of their God-given produce to share with us.
Life at home in America is way too complicated so often. It shouldn't be as stressful as it is sometimes. Really. That sweet, simple life was so appealing to me.
We think we always need to get, get, get for ourselves--the newest iPhone or Mac computer, the coolest looking North Face jacket, the most expensive brand of shoes--when instead we could be learning how to be self-sustainable and be able to give of our own abundant blessings to brighten the lives of those around us. We probably don’t actually think about it like this, but materialism is so ingrained in our culture today that we can get sucked in without realizing it.
I want my life to glorify God in everything and be a blessing and not a burden wherever I go whether here at home or in a land far away.
My prayer is to be able to share my Savior’s sweetness just like the tiny pineapples gave of their juicy goodness and to live simply in the midst of a complicated world.
Be a blessing, not a burden.
After all, it’s always “more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35