In early January, I spent 10 days learning about the culture and ministry on the border of the United States and Mexico. I admit that I went on this trip with a bad attitude. I didn’t want to be away from my family for ten days, I didn’t want to just hear the political banter back and forth and I didn’t know most of the people on my trip. As always, God has a way of showing up and flipping everything upside down. Each day as we spent time in the gospel of Mark, God opened His Word to me personally and as I listened to the group. This soon became one of my favorite times during the trip, as men and women of God were speaking His truth to each other. There is power in dwelling in the word with others!
Two other thoughts that I brought back from this experience were to meet real needs instead of assumed needs, and to be content in all things. My lesson in contentment came on our third night there as we drove down a dark dirt road into a neighborhood with tin homes and no lights. We pulled up to a cinder block home and stepped out of the van into darkness. As we opened the door, the light from a few bulbs and the heat from a wood burning stove met us with warmth, but what was even warmer still were the smiles of the family inviting us into their humble home. This family of four exuded hospitality, contentment, and peace. Something that, if we are honest, is not experienced much in America. Most homes are filled with the stress of busy schedules and things to get done. This family welcomed 12 strangers into their home for a meal and fellowship.
There are so many stories I would love to share, let me know if you would like to hear more and I will try to set up a special presentation. My hope, returning from this trip, is to be more content, be more hospitable, and to know others well enough to be able to meet real needs instead of assumed needs. I welcome anyone interested in joining me on this mission, to sit down and talk.
~ Jeremy Van Genderen
Director of Youth and Young Adults