Our Mission Trip Planning
Last Minute this Time Around!

Our Mission Trip Planning doesn't usually happen very far in advance of our trips. It is fairly common for us to finalize plans by buying tickets within three months before we leave on the trip. But this time we've definitely set a new record.

Up until the middle of March, we had no plans to return to Puerto Rico until fall. When we left in December without being able to hook up the permanent power for the new building due to the electric company's duplicity, we told the pastor we wouldn't be back until the power connections had actually been made at the meter.

We had talked with him a few times during February, when we are usually there, but no progress had been made with the electrical connections. So we had concluded that we wouldn't be going back to the island until fall.

However, half way through March we got another call from Pastor Garcia. He was calling to ask Dennis to come back to install the fire alarm system for the building. Dennis had been telling them they would need to get this done for over two years, but it just didn't seem to sink in...

So he was happy to hear the pastor had finally contacted a Christian engineer who had agreed to lay out a system for the new building.

Nonetheless, we really didn't want to go back to Puerto Rico at this time of year.

Our Mission Trip Planning
We'd Never Choose Late Spring

Our mission trip planning makes our trips to Puerto Rico in the late fall, or winter for very good reasons. They are:

  • We have quite a bit of land with our house on lake Sullivan. Additionally we own another lot on a smaller pond nearby. So from mid spring until mid fall Dennis mows three lawns a week, on average; our home's lawn, the other lot we own, and the church lawn.

  • I also do a good deal of gardening and landscaping work around our house. We don't usually plant corn, but we do plant beans, tomatoes, peas, potatoes, onions, and a few other vegetables.

    In southern Indiana, you can plant around the end of April, but you may need to cover the young plants to avoid frost damage if you have a late cold snap. Planting has to be done during planting season, or you definitely risk your harvest.

  • My husband's favorite form of relaxation is fishing. The best two months of the year to fish are April, and May. So he doesn't willingly plan to go anywhere during those months.

  • Finally, plane tickets are the lowest during the fall and winter months.

    Once spring break comes, prices go up, and stay up, through the summer months. So short term mission travel is much more expensive this time of year.

    Humanly speaking, our mission trip planning would never include a trip now.

Our Mission Trip Planning
This Trip is God's Plan, Not Ours

Mission work is serving in the Lord's army. As anyone who has been in the armed services can tell you, when orders come down they aren't always what you want, where you would choose to go, or when you would choose to go there. This short term mission trip has definitely been that way for us.

Initially, we didn't want to go, and weren't sure the Lord wanted us to go, because we really didn't have the needed finances for the trip. So we asked our home church to pray with us about the possibility.

After the service that day, one of the ladies at church told me the Lord had laid on her heart to help us with the trip. She initially pledged a large sum toward it, but within two weeks, the initial amount had quadrupled.

When she actually made the contribution last Sunday, we decided the Lord must want us to go, so we started to buy the tickets.

However, when we called the Pastor to be sure he could pick us up at the airport, he put us on hold again because he hadn't been able to make contact with the engineer for over two weeks.

So, after almost another week of delay, we actually ended up buying the tickets for the trip on Thursday, April 14th, exactly two weeks and a day before we plan to fly to Puerto Rico on April 29th.

Although our sister at church made a large contribution, it is less than half of what we usually spend on these trips, and the tickets cost about three times as much as they had been costing us for short term mission travel during the fall and winter.

So we can't say that all the finances are in hand for the trip, but we do believe that since the Lord immediately began to provide in such an unexpected way, He does want us to be willing to go. We trust He will continue to provide our needs as He always has.

Our Mission Trip Planning
Practicalities

To further complicate things, I got sick about a week ago with a cold. At first I thought it was allergies, instead of a cold, so by the time I realized it was a cold, I had already infected Dennis.

He came down with it about five days ago now, and he has been feeling very bad for three or four days now.

As of this writing, we have a week and a half to get ready to go.

We won't be able to see our friends, the Attos, this trip due to schedule conflicts, and where we could get the cheapest plane tickets. (We've been flying out of Fort Lauderdale, but this time the tickets were cheaper flying from Orlando.)

Instead we'll be briefly visiting with cousins of Dennis. They will take us to Orlando to catch our flight to Puerto Rico on the 29th, and then keep our van at their house until we get back on the 26th of May.

Before we leave we need to:

  • Finish garden and lawn preparations.
  • Find people who will mow, take our Sunday School classes, and fulfill other regular obligations in Indiana
  • Get the mail stopped and be sure we can get bills paid
  • Get hair cuts
  • Make sure we get necessary provisions for the month in Puerto Rico
  • Check supplements and medicines to be sure we'll have enough
  • Order any we'll run short of during the trip
  • Get clothes and other supplies packed for the trip
  • Weigh luggage to be sure it isn't overweight for airline restrictions
  • Decide which materials need to be taken to work on websites while in Puerto Rico

These are the things that come to mind right off the top of my head, but I doubt seriously this list is exhaustive. However, it does give some idea of the many things involved in planning a short term mission trip.

Our Mission Trip Planning
The Eternal God is Our Refuge

Although every thing about this trip is not the way our mission trip planning would go, IF we were in charge, we do believe it is what God has for us at this time.

We know that doesn't mean there won't be difficulties, but we also know it does mean we can rely on God's grace to meet those challenges and difficulties.

We greatly appreciate your prayers as we make this trip. Please pray not only for us, but for our home church. We are a small church, averaging around twenty in attendance on a Sunday morning, and when we're gone it puts a lot more pressure on others who fill in for us.

So we're thankful we have the same wonderful assurance the missionary Paul received from the Lord...

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness", and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Pray for Dennis, that he will be able to get the fire alarm system done, in the time we are able to be there.

We checked buying one way tickets so we could come home when he finished, but they were as expensive as the round trip tickets, so that just didn't make sense financially.

However, I know he is concerned about being able to get done. He will be working alone this trip, unless he thinks I can help him.

Our mission trip planning is never perfect, but we have God's assurance that His ways are perfect.

We are thankful for that assurance, as we face this last minute trip during May to Puerto Rico.

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