by Steven Lopez

I can’t even express how blessed I am to be on this trip. So many beautiful things have already happened and its only day 1. Woke up at the crack of dawn to see the faces of the RVC reps Marianne and Steve as they brought us to the airport. The bro mobile (including Bridget) went in Steve’s car while the ladies took off in Marianne’s hot ride. Bonding was already being performed as we were listening to the sweet songs on BBMak and Carly Rae Jepson. I am so grateful that Steve and Marianne agreed to bring us to the airport so early. They are such saints.

On the way, during a minor mishap, we thought we heard Bridget say “Oh, Glory, be” instead of “Lordie me.” We all got a nice chuckle out of that. Then, we made our way onboard the plane, which was such a smooth ride. No problems to report. After we touch down in St. Louis, we made a five hour trek in an awesome Mini-Van called Mollama (Molly the Llama) to Joplin. Some of the highlights included Bridget getting zapped by an outlet not once, but twice, seeing multiple religious billboards on the highway (some of which said JESUS in big letters), passing a llama farm, going by Six Flags St. Louis, passing through towns with names like Eureka, Vegas, Cuba, and lastly just listening to awesome music during the car ride.

As we arrived in Joplin, we were immediately struck by the images of football field length debris and rubble that the tornado had caused. Pictures are to follow,but the scenery really makes you appreciate what you have. When we found the Volunteer home, we were greeted by two missionaries; Madi, who is a 22 year old ray of sunshine, and Mark, who is a father of ten who recently found his calling to mission work. Both shared some stories and basically introduced us into the culture of mission.

One thing that they both mentioned that I want to stress to you all is this trip to Missouri is the first time Family missions have done a stateside mission trip. So, we are all treading new waters and engaging in God work’s on an unfamiliar level.  I’m excited to get started and evangelize this great town. We are all called to be missionaries, but those of us who are here in Joplin felt the obligation to take God’s call a step further and spread the word that Jesus died for. In closing I’d like to end with a quote that I found:

"The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible"

— Ralph Winter, missiologist