meadowrueflowerFOR nearly four years, we’ve known it was coming–the day our oldest son, Judah, would pack his bag, snatch his passport, and board a plane bound for Nicaragua. Each February, his school sends a dozen or so high school juniors and seniors to help run Campo Alegria, a fifty-acre retreat on Lake Nicaragua, where poor children come to hear they are loved by Jesus and to escape the nearby Managua city dump, where many scavenge food to survive.

Most of the cost is built into the school’s tuition. Friends at our little country church in Midcoast Maine and others up the river in Richmond and down the peninsula in Georgetown generously gave the remainder. It’s humbling to receive such a gift. It’s also a big responsibility–something I wanted to impress on Judah before he leaves tonight.

“Have fun,” I said, knowing that three-letter-world tops my son’s list. “But remember why you are there and who is sending you.”

As I said it, the Holy Spirit whispered the same words to me.

Because isn’t this the truth? Whether we are going on a missions trip or cleaning the house or going out to dinner or driving to work, the important things are the same.

1. Have fun — Life isn’t meant to be one dreary chore after another. Make room for joy. Expect it. Or as my husband, Dana, said to me on the way out the door to work this morning, “Choose the blessing.”

2. Remember why you are there — It isn’t all about you, what you want or need or hope to achieve. The secret of a blessed life, Jesus said, was to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).

3. Remember who is sending you — When I fell in love with Christ in first grade, I soon learned God had a plan for my life and gifts he wanted me to share. He has a plan and gifts for you to0. Remember this, and the valleys won’t seem so lonely, the mountains so high to climb.

Judah and his classmates head to Boston’s Logan Airport at midnight. This will be his first time leaving the country, but I pray it will be just the beginning of his discovering how God wants to use his life to bless others. If these ideas are new, why not let it be the beginning of yours too?

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands,” Isaiah 52:12.