Larry, the kids, and I sat down to discuss and dream about where we may one day want to take an amazing vacation. In the back of my mind, I knew that Mexico and the Dominican Republic would be out for me personally. I wouldn’t be able to vacation in luxury- knowing of the poverty I’ve seen in those places. After experiencing the true state of people’s circumstances and the enormous need in places like these, it had a way of changing my perspective and worldview.

    I grew up in a nice neighborhood with a father who enjoyed his toys and luxurious purchases. He worked hard, long hours, saying it was for us…but I just wanted him home, engaged, and loving us generously. Little did he know, that when I had the opportunity to leave my life for a few weeks and travel on mission trips as a teenager, that I would experience things that I would carry with me all of my life.

     On my trip to Mexico, we separated into groups that went door to door throughout a village. One family in particular, was so welcoming to us that they invited us in to their upscale home made of concrete. I remember walking in to this home, a TV was blaring in a back room, one or two folding chairs were in the living room. The light that poured in from the open door revealed joyful, welcoming, loving, faces that were so proud to have us there. What happened next still grips me to this very day. I was asked to sit in one of the few chairs in the room while the mother stood. I then began swatting at the plague of mosquitoes that were swarming around me, and under my protest, she asked one of her children to fan the mosquitoes away from me… I remember that it was I that came to serve them, but it’s their love that has continued to minister to me to this very day.

     An experience like that has a way of changing you, cutting you to the heart of everything you think you know is important and valuable- even 22 years later. I thank God for the lesson He taught me that day about loving people with whatever you have been given. He also taught me, “‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40  In  this case, I was the one loved as the least of these..

Music Video: Sara Groves- “I Saw What I Saw”

**This is dedicated to my ‘mission trip’ buddies- Mary and Barb, cousins Adam, Erin, and Morgan- from
C.C.M.who have taken s student team from ISU to Haiti in 2010, friends John and Taryn from Impact who have taken student teams to Dominican Republic, and to the SCC team that went to Africa in 2010.

*Let’s continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus!!*