This afternoon Donny was dropped off at the terminal in the airport meeting fifty seniors and chaperones to take a two week trip to Kolkata India. There they will serve at Mother Teresa’s home in the mornings and then take another kind of adventure in the afternoons. They will go to the poorest of the poor neighborhoods and run a bible camp there for the kids teaching them some basic english, sing songs and tell bible stories. If you saw the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, well then you have a clear idea of where Donny will be spending his afternoons in India.
He packed his lice shampoo, nit comb, mosquito repellent, malaria pills, twenty pounds of food, bible, comfortable shoes, and work clothes into one bag, then slung his guitar over the other shoulder, plugged his ipod into his ears and stepped forward into an adventure that very well may send me home a man and not a boy. This trip has been meticulously planned and highly organized by our Mission staff at church, but none of the arrangements were more important than the endless prayer meetings they had together to ask God to prepare the way for the work He would like them to do, and to give them open hearts to serve in ways they have never imagined.
I know my son perhaps better than anyone. I saw the colliding emotion in him as he said good-bye to me. All at once he is ready, confident, prepared but also scared, nervous and unsure he can rise to the call of the work ahead. The unknown must feel enormous. I believe he will do just fine, but it will redefine his worldview. He will be assisting the lowest caste in the society of India at their sickest and perhaps in their last living hours. This will require courage of heart. He knows for sure God is the supplier of strength such as this. He also knows he’ll need to put fear in his pocket and keep it there, out of the way.
Before embarking on this adventure he has mentioned often he feels lead to pursue a career in medicine so he can be a missionary doctor. I can’t wait to see how God gives that idea shape and color, or even perhaps, it could be exchanged for something entirely new. His heart is well connected to God and he has a mature ability to sense God prodding him towards the direction he ought to go. I am so privileged to watch his future unfurl. It’s hard to believe this boy I fed in a high chair and supplied legos to has matured into a man who could give two weeks of his summer freedom to assist the dying.
I will not be in contact with Donny while he is on this trip. But as a blessing to all of us our Pastor Omar Garcia, who is leading this trip (and also lead my trip to Uganda) is a blogger! He will keep us informed, educated, inspired and amazed at what God can do with a group of kids between high school and college. I hope you will read Omar’s blog these next couple of weeks, and I hope you will pray for this group as they go and learn what it really is to serve. His blog is at the side bar of mine: Go Beyond. Or you can click here: www.gobeyondblog.wordpress.com
Let’s just say the atmosphere at dinner tonight was a flimsy foreshadow of what it will be like when he’s really away at college. Awkward. Incomplete. Sad. We too had conflicted emotion, we were sad but happy that he’s off to do some good. We’re all going to have to exercise our faith muscles.