The Trip: Wreckage

by cynthiarendon

Thank you for reading this short series about my second mission trip. This will be the last installment.

If you’ve been on a mission trip before then you probably know. If you haven’t, then let me tell you. There’s this feeling that you feel when you arrive home from a mission trip. You feel like your life will never be the same, really — like the trip wrecked your real life, in a way. You feel like your state of normalcy can never be at that level again. Well, that’s — for lack of a better word — normal, I would say. If anything, that’s supposed to happen.

I didn’t think I would feel this way again, however. To be honest, I went into the trip feeling disillusioned. Ah yes, disillusioned — not with the world necessarily, but with life. About a week before leaving for the trip I was offered a job. A decent one . . . with benefits . . . and related to both of my hard-earned degrees (I mean that’s the Holy Grail right there). After being offered the dream, with my potential employer knowing full well of my plans to be gone for two weeks, it was then swiftly taken away. Turns out they needed me sooner than they thought, and I simply couldn’t be there. For a few days, the mission trip was the bane of my existence, the reason why my 7-month job search had gone nowhere. I openly asked God, “Why?”

I’ve learned that a mission trip is the perfect opportunity for God to turn your world upside down (and possibly to shake it up and down too). You can be ruined in the best way possible. Let me explain . . .

When we stand in love, compassion, and solidarity with others in need, we learn that real life can’t be cultivated, dispersed, and, well, purchased in mass quantities at your local market. The real kind of life that we’re looking for is a dark, narrow, snow-filled road that few find (I sometimes liken it to the life Robert Frost writes of in his magnum opus). It’s the sort of thing that you need to forthrightly search for. And when you find it, it demands everything of you — even a potential career, it seems like. You sell all that you have for it. And as you lose everything that seems to be your life, you gain what is most important — your soul, your relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to be home (I really missed peanut butter and my puppy). But part of me longs to stay wrecked. I think that I need it. I don’t want everything to go back to normal. I want to stay a little odd (Cue jokes about dorky Cynthia. Ha ha ha . . .). The feelings that I feel when I think of the boys we left definitely help my wreckage. Because it seems that God works most powerfully when I’m out of my comfort zone, I don’t know how to continue with the weirdness without going on a journey that calls me to submission and sacrifice.

A mission trip, at its core (for me, at least), reminds you that your agenda isn’t always God’s agenda (and I wholeheartedly lived that statement). Yes, it sort of messes you up, but you feel like a different person in the end — one that you should cultivate more and more. I don’t know about you, but I need to remember that Jesus’ definition of “living abundantly” looks more like dying or being (here it comes . . .) wrecked than it resembles a perfect résumé or portfolio.

P.S. I understand that God has a plan for me, all in His timing. I ask you, friends, that you pray so that the plan is manifested (quickly) as a job offer for me. I really need it. Thank you and it’s been a pleasure writing about this special time in my life that will never be forgotten. God bless. 🙂