Missions have significantly impacted our lives and have multiplied compassion in the hearts of our boys like no other experience.
Our mission experience began with weeks of training before we even boarded a plane. Our mission teams learned about the culture, the do’s and don’ts, and expectations. Medical, Vision, and Dental teams were trained in their areas, but most importantly each one of us prayed fervently and practiced sharing the gospel.
Our boys were 12 years old when we took our first family trip to Uganda. As the mission’s Pastor, Rafe was leading the team which left me with the primary responsibility to keep our very active and curious boys safe and out of mischief. In Uganda, children younger than 12 took on responsibilities of caring for their siblings, feeding their family, retrieving water from miles away, working with machetes in the fields, and many other “adult” responsibilities.
We left the “comforts” of home and traveled across the globe. It was a culture shock – most spoke a different language, many lived in small huts with no electricity, the people in the villages we visited were extremely poor, they had no access to transportation, clean water, or medical supplies. The water supply for many was very limited, miles away, and shared with local livestock.
Of course I trusted God, but was a nervous wreck when I saw our boys with a machete trying to cut a pineapple. After all our boys may need some of those apendiges later in life. They watched the village ladies prepare a meal to feed 50 people – without going to the grocery store. They served in different areas, but their most significant service was engaging and playing with the children. They brought a soccer ball to kick around and like all boys they climbed trees, and played with sticks. It didn’t matter that they spoke a different language or looked different, there were no barriers or hesitation, they just played with each other and found creative ways to have fun.
Fast forward 8 years later. Our guys have gone on mission to Uganda 3 times, Guatemala 5-7 times, and Asia one time. They have worked hard, served in vision clinics, medical clinics, dental clinics, construction, helped plant multiple churches in different village, and raised funds to invest in the trips. At the age of 12 they began sharing the gospel, have done so hundreds of times, and have led people of all ages to Christ. They have witnessed to Muslims in Uganda, showed Christlike love to an isolated leper village in Asia, and shared their testimony in Guatemala.
God has worked through our boys to do great things through their obedience to “GO” on mission. But none of us could “out give” God. Through missions, God has, grown hearts of compassion, appreciation and respect for people of all races and cultures, a desire and responsibility to give and serve, an appreciation for the blessings we have in our culture, and most importantly – to pray, trust, rely on Him for all things.
Our entire family has been impacted through missions, but our boys began the mission journey at such a young age and we trust their experience will continue to impact many future generations. I guess the most significant lesson learned – you cannot out give God!
About the Author: Laurie Wright serves as the Executive Assistant to our Senior and Executive Pastors. She is also the wife to Rafe Wright, the Senior Associate Pastor over Adult Ministries & Missional Life. They are parents to Micah and Jacob, who they adopted from Russia.