That's all it takes for a phone call; a bit of news; a choice; a life change! Just twenty-four short hours!
Last week, that's about what happened in our family village. On Tuesday evening, we got the call that a member of our church missions team was no longer able to make the upcoming trip. We needed a replacement - quickly!
Details? The trip was for ten days to work with our sister church in El Salvador. We needed someone with a passport; strength and inclination to work hard; a flexible spirit and the ability to decide right now.
As I headed out the door for another meeting, I passed by Nathan. "Hey, Nathan! Want to go to El Salvador?" My question dripped with sarcasm.
"You mean the trip starting Thursday morning?!" He chuckled.
"That's the one," I answered. "They leave in a little over twenty-four hours and we've just had someone drop out."
"What would it cost?" His curiosity got the better of him.
"Nothing. It's already been paid for. These trips are set up on such a tight budget that everyone knows their trip is transferable but not refundable." I reached for the door, then casually added, "If you think you'd be interested call me right away. We're working to compile a short list of people who might be able to make it happen."
That's how it started.
And in just over twenty-four hours, Meagan and Nathan were standing in the predawn darkness with all the other team members and their families as Pastor prayed over them.
However, that certainly isn't all the story.
Nathan had a serious desire to go and work with the team. Actually, he and Meagan have prayed about him going for a couple of years now. It just never seemed to be the right time - what with pregnancies and deliveries and such. Massively important moments for dads not to miss!
Meagan was well aware that this trip was a heart desire for her husband. And although she had one little boy hanging onto her leg and one little girl clinging to her shoulder as they discussed it, Meagan knew this wasn't something to pass over lightly.
The financial expense of the trip was covered. But that isn't all that's involved in travel. They had to look realistically at what it would cost them in time and schedule changes and missed events.
Meagan and Kristin teach music at their school, too. The first big performance will take place while Nathan is away. There was a fall festival. Nathan plays drums for church. A little boy looks for Daddy to play 'frih-bee' every afternoon.
They started making calls to his work, cancelling appointments, re-arranging commitments - all the while praying the pieces would fall in to place.
"Sure, that's totally possible!" Work.
"No problem! I'll be happy to do that in your place." Brothers.
"Yes, I'll cover for you and help Meagan with the children." Sisters.
"We can switch our schedule around and help with delivery, pick-up and play time." Grandparents
Meagan shed some tears as Nathan drove away Thursday morning. But he left with her complete backing. He also had the assurance that an entire village of "home missionaries" are carrying on with his little family in his absence.
The work Nathan and the team are doing in El Salvador is demanding both physically and emotionally. I know, I've been there. A totally different culture and schedule. Unusual foods, primitive living conditions, inability to communicate.
It can get overwhelming rather quickly if you don't keep the end result in mind. Our team is there to help equip our sister church in sharing God's love with children who need to know Someone cares!
Meagan and the rest of us are serving here at home to make it possible for them to be there. (In fact, I'll send Frank off to join them tomorrow.) Other missionaries of the village gave financially so the team could be there to equip the church in sharing God's love.
As we've watched reports about the horrors in Paris this week. It's given us greater resolve. I guess some might say we're radical. But our mission brings life!
When our team leaves El Salvador on Saturday, people will be sad to say good-bye. And the community will be left richer than when they first arrived. Our intention is to Give; not to Take. Our Heavenly Father loves and cares for each precious child the world overlooks!
And when you put Nathan's trip into that picture frame, it's easier to see why Meagan said, "Yes! You go. We'll be fine until you get home!"
Proud of Nathan! Proud of the village of home missionaries supporting him! Thankful that we have such Good News and so much Love to share with our world!