By Stephanie Fisk
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” -Philippians 4:11-13
The Apostle Paul experienced life. Life didnt happen to him. Paul learned to praise God in the midst of hardship. He didnt sit in a classroom where he was preached at, but he actively engaged his being and spirit in the school of life. In the classroom, theory prevails. In the school of life, experience is the teacher. And in the scheme of living, the World Race (an 11-month mission trip) can be a “doozy”… depending on your attitude and perspective.
On Saturday June 28, our mission team re-united in the Miami airport. That night we camped out in the airport card playing, talking, sleeping and getting that last cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. By 5:30 Sunday morning, we began checking into our flight to Mexico City. From Mexico City, three of us flew to Cancun before the others, but we all met up around 6:00 Sunday evening. Everyone landed safe and sound in Mexico with their bags (some bags were late, but well take that over never.)
Not only did I have a surprise for the squad, but the squad had a surprise for me. While I was about to announce You now get to race to Palenque!, the team leaders approached me: Umm, we are not able to get any team money out of the ATM. Only one debit card out of six works.
After trying all the cards again in different ATMs, we soon realized “Plan B” might have to kick into gear: How are we going to get to Palenque (roughly a 12-hour bus ride) without much money?
Lesson in problem solving.
We quickly agreed that it might be better if the racing to Palenque was dropped at this time. Resources were pooled, tasks divided and prayers said.
Lesson in unity.
Long story short, there were 19 seats left on the buses that were heading towards Palenque that night. Turns out, that was the exact amount of money we had collected so far. So, 19 of us headed out while the other 12 were going to catch the earliest bus the following morning.
Lesson in flexibility.
We were making progress. Then, half an hour from Palenque, on Monday morning, the bus that was carrying 19 of us broke down due to a loss of air pressure.
Lesson in patience.
Even if we were to catch another ride into town, our luggage would still be locked under the bus (the doors ran on air pressure). After two and a half hours, three of us got a lift into town so we could let our contacts know that we were on our way.
Lesson in trust.
By that afternoon, all 19 of us were safely “home,” and the other 12 were in route. By 6:00 Tuesday morning, we were all safe and sound at the Shekinah Ministry Training School in Palenque.
Problem solving. Unity. Flexibility. Patience. Trust.
All key players in how we approach the challenges life throws our way. I pray that as a squad we continue to see obstacles as opportunities to grow in our faith and in unity. And just like Paul, that we would have the proper perspective and try to see problems as lessons and blessings – that we would continue to seek God’s face and praise his name in the midst of hardships.
I was planning on teaching this lesson during our first week of training in Palenque, but the Lord had a different idea. He wanted us to experience and truly learn what it takes to persevere… not to just take notes. Training actually started two days early!
We are all doing well and ready to get started with ministry. Teams will be working with churches both in Palenque and out in the villages.
If you liked this article, check out: Getting My Hands Dirty, Part I
Stephanie Fisk is a traveler of the world, embarking on a personal pilgrimage called the World Race, an 11-month trip around the world and an affiliate ministry of Wrecked.