Our mission team crowded into the tiny sanctuary in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We were joined by missionaries and translators as well as the pastor and volunteers from our host church. We were celebrating what God had done during the medical clinic and evangelism outreach of the last few days.
I looked around the room and saw the beautiful diversity of the family of God gathered there – young, old, Honduran, North American, Spanish speakers, English speakers, rich, poor – all different, yet united in Christ. In earthly terms we may have had more in contrast than in common, but because we have all been washed by the blood of the Lamb, we formed a beautiful mosaic of grace.
Perhaps it is a foreshadowing, in some small way, of the scene the Apostle John describes in Revelation 7:9-10: “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, ‘Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb!’”
A short-term mission trip holds many blessings. Those who are served receive much-needed care for their physical needs. The wide grin of a young boy looking through his new glasses and seeing a clear world for the first time says it all without a word. In the dental area, a lovely woman offers a happy smile after a painful tooth extraction. The relief of a worried mother whose sick children have been seen by a caring physician reflects the gratitude she feels. And, of course, the greatest blessing received is the good news of Jesus and the discovery of the forgiveness and eternal life only He can give.
Those of us who go on short-term mission trips are blessed as well. We feel the joy of giving. We are touched by the patience and contentment of the Honduran people. We are stretched out of our comfort zones and learn new skills. We enjoy fellowship with fellow team members and make new friends. We see God arrange divine appointments and orchestrate details so that people are ready to hear the Gospel and receive Christ. We sense God speaking to our own hearts. As I return to Honduras year after year, I am continually humbled by the faith and perseverance of national believers who endure extreme hardships with joy and without bitterness.
On top of all this, I gain a bigger view of the body of Christ – a more accurate view actually. The church reaches far beyond my particular cozy congregation in North America. It crosses languages and cultures and continents. It is as big as the heart of our God, who “desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). What joy to be part of this mosaic of grace!
-Written by Janice Brauer, Counselor for TEAM's Member Care department
-Photos provided by Janice Brauer