The Trip: The Team
It might be difficult to believe . . . but missionaries are humans. I know, I know, people with seemingly sound minds voluntarily traveling to a Socialist nation where they’re not necessarily wanted are human? Huh? Well, it’s true.
This means that clashes are bound to happen, right? Sure.
The problem of various clashes among missionaries is not unique to this one field of work. Where two or three are gathered, missionaries included, there is potential for conflict. My truth is that missionaries are not super-spiritual beings working in sterilized environments free of normal human problems. Missionaries are humans like everyone, with problems like every other person. And as it is for all other people, disagreements with co-workers can be extremely frustrating, so it is for missionaries. Including God in a situation changes everything, however. All bets are off, so to speak.
Now that that is out of the way . . . Let me introduce the team that went to Maracaibo, Venezuela.
There was basically every reason for this team and the other local missionaries we worked with to butt heads, grapple, quarrel, disagree with each other. But we didn’t, really. I mean the team itself (all 11 of us) didn’t meet up in its entirety often (in actuality, we all met up to talk logistics of the trip once). It’s also important to note that we all range in ages, nationalities, denominations, churches. So how, just how did it work?
I would say, and (if they allow me) to speak for each person on the team, we all just really wanted it to happen. I know, I know — lame. But we had been waiting for this trip for so long, been through personal obstacles impeding on the actual happening of the mission, organizational and logistical issues that kept us from knowing where we going to stay once landing in the city . . . that once we knew the tentative date of the trip and we all, in one way or another, had our plane tickets booked, there was simply no looking back. I mean, having the tickets booked meant something, right?
Local missionaries and church groups often asked us: “So where are you all from?” “Where is your church?” More often than not, as I answered with, “Oh, we’re all from different churches, from different places . . .”, I would usually get a ruffled brow in response. By the end of the trip — as God inspired us to become more and more united — when a person would follow-up with a question like, “Oh, well, how does that work?”, my immediate response naturally became, “It’s a God thing.” Es algo de Dios.
If you’re reading this, team — let me just say it was an honor to work with you all. Thank you for being such highly motivated self-starters. I learned a lot.
And, well, yeah, it was a God thing. I mean, how else would lively Puerto Ricans, more subtle Americans (ie. Me), and many others be able to get along and not kill each other? Oh yeah, God was definitely involved. Surely this must be the work of God. Only He can reach into the ashes, into a mound of disarray, and retrieve the unexpected and the beautiful.
To be continued . . .