I’ve received several emails from youth workers wondering about the potential dangers of taking their groups to places like Haiti and Mexico. One youth worker is even thinking about canceling their trip to Mexico this summer because of all the fighting they hear is taking place. Since I was in Haiti last month and will be returning next month, I can speak to that. I’ve never been to Mexico, but I know and trust the opinion of several missionaries who are quite familiar with the country. I’ll be going there to serve in July.
Here’s my response to one such youth leader who asked specifically about Mexico. The principles apply to Haiti, as well.
First, [based on what the missionaries there tell me] the violence in Mexico isn’t much more than you’d expect for that same demographic here in the US. There are bad things happening there, but just like you’d avoid certain situations in any US city, like avoiding certain streets and use good common sense, the chances are very low that something bad would happen to you. We just hear about all the bad stuff. The same things happen here in the US on a daily basis — we just don’t hear about it as much. Plus, you’ll have a missions trip leader with [your organization] who will know the ropes and keep you safe. And I’m sure they would tell you not to come if they felt it was too dangerous after serving on the ground there beforehand.
Second, I personally think it’s about time Christian Americans stop worrying about their comfort and level of risk and start living for Christ no matter what. I know you’d say that to your teenagers about the discomforts of living as a Christian in their school. I think the same applies to every other area of life. Jesus’ missions trip killed him, and thank God it did.
Giving up control of our lives and turning it over to God 100% is what He asks for, not just when it feels safe or convient for us. My life belongs to God. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do stupid things and trust He’ll save me from all harm, but when He calls me to serve Him in missions, I know that’s in accordance with His will because He said so in Matthew 28 and many other places in scripture. Whatever happens while I serve Him is up to Him.
The greater things you risk for God, the greater things you’ll see Him do. The more outside your comfort zone you get, the more you’re forced to depend on God. The riskier it is, the more you have to trust Him. And I think that’s exactly where God wants us to be. We often don’t see the power of God displayed in our lives because we rarely give Him the opportunity to do so. We keep it all safe and under our personal control.
It’s time to remove the “but” from this sentence: “God, I trust you 100%, but…” That is an oxymoron. It contradicts itself! Taking big risks for God is definitely an adrenaline rush, and always so totally worth it.
That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but you asked. By the way, that’s pretty much exactly what I said to my youth group parents who asked about the safety in Mexico, too. Sometimes we have to challenge their faith also.
Shouldn’t our fear of the Lord be greater than our fear of the unknown? Personally, I think American Christians freak out too much and forget who their God is.
How would you respond?
Posted on March 30, 2010