We didn’t raise support for this trip, and we didn’t send out prayer letters. We didn’t even tell many people we were going (although my Facebook friends are probably getting sick of hearing about it by now.) We bank-rolled it ourselves (and will be doing so for the next couple months as we re-clear out our credit cards!) and we did so for a reason. This wasn’t really a missions trip.
Granted, we got to do some pretty cool things: we shared the Gospel (and a Bible) with a young Cambodian law student on the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, we delivered a load of vitamins to kids in need in Svay Pak, and I even got to speak briefly to a congregation in Cambodia. But the reality was, and we knew it going in, that we weren’t going to be in any one place long enough to have any sort of impact. 2 days was really the longest we stayed anywhere before we were back at an airport.
But that doesn’t mean we went without a mission. We had God-given reasons for this trip, and He blessed our obedience by filling it with experiences and lessons that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. But still, it seems worth explaining why we considered this a God thing, and not just a vacation — cause trust me, it wasn’t a vacation:
Our first and primary purpose was to encourage and affirm the passion for missions in Asia that God has placed in the heart of our travel buddy. She’s been longing and preparing for Hong Kong since 4th grade, and we believe God wanted to bless her and teach her about how He sees Asia, and were privledged that He used us as part of her journey. Tatum is going to school for medicine, so we visited a half-dozen hospitals and health clinics, and her excitement about the possibilities they presented was contagious.
Our second goal was to witness and understand some of the ministries going on there that are being worked on by people close to us. Our church here in Canada has put a significant investment of people and time into Svay Pak, and the excitement about the work God is doing there is just something we had to see. All the more because my own mom has been working hard on developing and guiding parallel and complimentary ministry efforts on the ground in Cambodia, even while my dad is discipling and equipping in Malaysia.
Our final goal, one that we intend to revisit regularily until the day God sends us out somewhere, was to refresh and renew our passion for missions, and for missionaries — God’s special and hand-picked ambassador’s to the world.
We struggled with what to call this trip, since “missions trip” seemed an inappropriate assumption of the definition, until Tatum told us what she was calling it: a “vision trip.” The term is perfect and fitting. We got to see and experience God’s vision unfolding in Asia, we got to help a young person catch glimpses of the vision God is revealing in her life, and we got to catch glimpses of how He might one day release us to global missions.
Despite being broke and tired and behind the eight ball, not to mention the heart ache over my grandpa’s final days, Asia 2010 was a worthwhile and blessed adventure. If you haven’t experienced GOing yet… get off your butt and get out there.
The whole wide world is His.
PS: A huge thank you to those who made this trip possible by taking care of our kids. They say it takes a village to raise a child — you guys are our village: Mom and Dad Watters, Kristin, Jamie-lee, Brian and Bernadeen.