One of my favorite people on this planet has a signature saying: “relationship is better than meat.” I can’t spend even one hour with him without hearing him quote it.
I couldn’t agree more. Wherever I go, but especially when attending writing conferences, I try my best to build relationships. I met today’s pebble thrower, Stephanie Wilkins, at a writing conference a few years back. I recently read Stephanie’s blog about her mission trip to Haiti, and I just had to have her share. I hope her pebble throwing will inspire you like it did me…
Why do you think pebble throwing is important? As a Christian with the love of Christ in my heart, I want to give back because of His great love for me. So when the opportunity arises, and I feel His leading, I am drawn to serve in different capacities.
Tell us about how you throw pebbles for those battling chronic illness: In 2013, the Lord prompted me to begin No More Band-aids, which is a ministry of encouragement for those who suffer from or care for those with chronic or stress related illnesses.
So you recently when to Haiti… why? For many years, God led our family to serve as hosts for foreign missionaries, but this year we were called to help in a different way. My daughter and I signed up to serve in Haiti through Mission of Hope. The ripples that we have seen from our trip have been amazing. By far, the biggest ripples are the gifts I received from our time there:
- the joy of connecting new Haitian families with Mission of Hope assistance
- a new understanding (for me and my daughter) of the Haitian culture and their stresses
- an increased ability to help others understand themselves through my ministry of bible study and blogging
How did you get connected with Mission of Hope? Through the youth department at our church, First Baptist Atlanta. About 20 students and 10 adults attended the trip. The purpose of our trip was to share the love of Christ with the villagers as we gathered information and did health and wellness training. We also painted houses in the villages.
How did the trip change you? The “discomfort” at our camp that I thought was so hard (insects, heat, lack of hot water) in no way compared to the discomfort that the Haitian villagers live with on a daily basis. The Lord showed me this as I worked side by side with them in their communities.
In the book of Matthew we read that Jesus came in human form to experience life as we know it. He gave up the perfect atmosphere of heaven for us so that we could touch, feel, and see Him in a tangible way. His example shows me that to reach people, you must go to them and understand where they are coming from just like the woman at the well.
If I can’t understand where people are coming from, it’s hard to relate or to communicate truth to them in a way they can understand. So making a difference in the life of others requires sacrifice even if it’s only your time.
What was your biggest takeaway? I’m sure I gained more from the trip than the Haitians did from me. I have a greater appreciation of what full-time missionaries do and how much they sacrifice to bring truth to nations in need of Jesus Christ.
You don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary, but if you get the opportunity, I would encourage you to do so because it’s an amazing experience. The trip changed the way I love others by introducing me to more people around the world to love and showing me the need for courage and sacrifice to do so.
Any final thoughts? Giving of yourself to others for Jesus Christ never returns void. It might not be what you thought you would gain, but God in His infinite understanding knows exactly what he wants to teach us and all He asks is our willing participation.
What about you? Have you taken a mission trip? Please share a few take-aways in the comments below!