“If You Go….”

January 9, 2017

This past Sunday, Galilee member Scott Emery stood and gave a brief testimony about his experience in mission at Galilee. Many who heard him said that Scott’s words struck a chord and that their own lives have been impacted by mission in the exact way that Scott described.

Galilee is planning a number of mission activities this summer for youth and adults. Why not look over the offerings here? And as you do, consider Scott’s testimony again. This is what he had to say:

IF YOU GO

“Franciscan Richard Rohr, said “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” 

Six years ago, things were rolling along just like I had planned. Life was good. At work, I was the first one in in the morning and last to leave each day. I was on my way up. Then one day, the company that I thought I would retire from said, “Thanks for your service, we’re cutting back and do not need you anymore.”

It was a hard blow that took time to recover from, but that blow gave me a second chance.

Jen Shah, Scott Emory and some familiar Galilee faces head off to a mission trip.

Once I got over the initial shock, I reassessed my priorities and where to focus my time and attention. I decided to go on a few mission trips with my teenage daughters.

Those trips were fun, challenging, rewarding, and memorable. If you have the slightest thought you might like to go on a mission trip, do it.

If you go on a mission trip, you may find yourself in a new and exciting place or one that is scary and strange. You may find yourself living in close quarters with people you barely know; people who make you laugh and irritate you at the same time. 

If you go, you may make progress repairing a storm-damaged home, but feel a bit like Sisyphus as you move the same building materials back and forth to make room for the work. You may be handed an unfamiliar tool, asked to become an instant expert, and be surprised by how skilled you are by the end of the trip.

Scott’s expertise extends to oversight and supervision.

If you go, you may work hard all day and just want to go to bed, but instead go out with the team and see a beautiful sunset or an amazing skyline. Or, on your night out, you may be excited to see your favorite dessert, cannolis, on the menu, but then learn that the cannoli lady had not come in that day.

You may find that some of your teammates are up early to fix breakfast for the team. Or that other teammates stayed late at job site, so that the team could do something fun on another day.

If you go you may learn, as you work in the crawl space beneath an old house, that a teammate has literally stuck her foot in the door of a closing hardware store to get the supplies you need to finish the job and that that day will be the last one you spend under the house. 

If you go on a mission trip, you may meet someone who does not care that you are rebuilding his home with basic, low cost materials because he just wants to get his family back to the community where they built their lives. You may help a woman who is so thankful for your work on her home that she brings you a meal that could feed an army.

The work doesn’t look life changing, but it can be.

Nobody can say exactly what will happen on a mission trip, until it happens. But, if you choose to go, you will experience the Holy Spirit, you will gain understanding of what it means to do this “to the least of these,” and you will build relationships.

You will see one another in ways that normal life or Sunday morning never reveal. You will have long conversations about things big and small. You will help one another and be helped. The tie that binds will come into plain site.

The Only Thing That Matters

George Vaillant, the director of the 75-year Harvard study on the secrets to a fulfilling life,  said that the study’s most important finding is that the only thing that matters in life is relationships.

This is the heart of missions. The making of new relationships and the building up of old ones. This is how we put our faith into action and strive to make it on earth as it is in heaven.

I decided to go on mission trips because I was called to serve. I was rewarded by gaining relationships with many of you. For this I am grateful.

But, for me, the significance of my decision came into focus last year, when my 18 year old daughter said, “My friends are amazed at the conversations I have with you. They never talk with their dad’s about the things we do.”

It was a clarifying moment, I was no longer on the fast track, I was no longer headed to the top at work, but I had never been richer. I had lived myself into a new way of thinking, a thinking where relationships took priority. And, going on missions with my daughters played no small part in getting me there.

Pastor Jason has been telling us that he wants us to get more out of Galilee. So, here is a chance for you get something from Galilee—a really big something. Put your faith into action. Go on a mission trip. Go alone. Go with your children. Go with your spouse. Just go. If you have even the slightest bit of interest, I urge you to talk with Jen Shah after the service to find out about going to Costa Rica this summer. You will be rewarded.”