(The following is a submission I posted to my writer friend, Jennifer Wier’s Homeward Bound Series. I’m grateful she shared this story with her readers, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.)
The landscape changed as soon as we crossed the border. Paved roads turned into dirt ones, and before long feral dogs outnumbered people on the streets. The surrounding hills were crammed with plywood and cinder block homes, and nearly everything about this foreign city seemed inhospitable and harsh. But as we pulled into the orphanage compound, things began to change. The exterior of the building was no-nonsense, with its iron bars and barbed wire fencing, but inside was a little oasis of comfort and hope to thirty-five of the city’s neediest children.
My visit there began with a text message just four days earlier from my 19-year-old son, Cole. “Hey, Mom! Do you wanna go with me to Mexico to serve at the orphanage?”
Since he moved away to college, our one-on-one time together had become precious and rare, and I was eager to spend time with him. Before thinking too much about the implications, I quickly replied, “Yes! I can go!”
But shortly after I hit “Send” the dopamine began to wear off, and I worried I had made a hasty mistake. I wondered if I would be any help to the staff, with almost nada Español, and if I was ready to forgo the comforts of home, even if was only for a few days.
It had been many years since my last mission trip, but I knew that being uncomfortable was part of the deal. I wanted to go to love the children and bless the staff with some time off, but as much as I wanted to go, I dreaded it too.
It wasn’t until I really started to consider this trip that I realized how dependent I’d become on my comfort. Being home with my family, surrounded by my soft environment, as pleasant as that all is, had lulled me into missional laziness. I knew this trip would stretch me out of my comfort zone, and for that reason, I knew I needed to go. So, I stuffed my bags along with my hesitations and set out.