by Elizabeth Woods
Today was our second full day in Joplin on our mission trip and we’re starting to feel a little more comfortable with everything around us! For example, Cody was evangelizing to the neighborhood cats today, inviting them to come sing praise and worship songs with us and pray around the fire…a cat will be baptized before we’re gone, I’m sure of it! We also went all out in our ‘vralls and ‘danas (overalls and bandanas), which makes EVERYTHING 20 times better!
Anyway, we started off our day today as we have each day so far: with morning prayer and singing! It’s really such a great way to get centered and focused for the day. We also had a lovely pancake breakfast this morning (what a delicacy!) and then we packed up our things and went on our merry way! Instead of splitting up today, we all headed down to the little league baseball field to try to finish as much work as possible before it got too late, in case there was a thunderstorm. Thankfully, we were blessed with another glorious day and it didn’t rain at all! We were doing all kinds of work there today, including mixing cement to lay blocks for the referee supply building and bathrooms, jackhammering some cement out of the ground (Steve, Tina, and Sam went to town on that!), and digging up rocks from the outer edges of the outfield. With so many people working there, we decided that some people could head back to the house to work on moving the pile of debris from next to the house into the dumpster. I headed back to the house for that and stayed there for the rest of the day (aside from lunch, when we returned to the field), shoveling buckets full of debris into the dumpster. Overall, it was a really successful work day for us all!
We returned and said a Chaplet of the Divine Mercy together and prepared for the evening’s activities. We split up into two groups and went to all the surrounding houses to invite the neighbors to join us this evening out back for some s’mores, praise and worship, and prayer. We met some great people along the way, but one that really struck me was a Puerto Rican woman who began to tell us a bit about her story. She had a brain tumor and just recently got out of the hospital, and when we offered to pray with her, she wholeheartedly agreed and welcomed us into her home. It was really amazing to see how open she was to praying with us and how she stuck to her Catholic faith, even through tough times. We laid hands on her and prayed with her and all I can say is it was a truly beautiful moment.
The other thing about today (and quite frankly, the whole mission trip thus far) that really strikes me is how much these missionaries we’re working with wholeheartedly put their trust in God. Mark was telling us a little bit more about his story this evening and how he and his family just prayed to God and put all their trust in Him to lead them to do what He wanted them to, which turned out to be full-time mission work with FMC. As a college student, this kind of total abandon to God’s will is truly inspiring. In all honesty, I don’t really have any idea what I’m going to do with my future, but I like to think that I have it all planned out. In reality, God knows what’s in store for me and that’s what really matters. I have to learn to “let go and let God” as the saying goes, because that’s precisely what these missionaries have done and God provides for them through it all.
If I learn nothing else from this mission trip, I can at least say that I have seen God’s work in action and now know that I need to leave it all up to Him. I’m so inspired by our mission team and I’m truly proud to call them my friends. I so look forward to whatever else this mission trip has to offer!
“You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side.” Psalm 23: 3-4