One thing the Lord did for me on this trip was to reshape my view of ministry. It's a recurring theme that He started showing me before the trip and on which He continues to elaborate since. Basically, He's been showing me that relationships are perhaps the most important part of ministry. It's not the “what,” nor the “where,” nor the “how many.” It's the “who,” even if those “who” are just a few. Jesus loves the few. He comes and ministers to just a few. He returned to and spent time with and taught and ministered to the same few over and over again. Even though His life, and especially His ministry, were so brief. My previous focus in missions has been the “what” and the “where” and the “how many.” There were bonds formed on previous trips as a team, some of them that lasted a long time, and I was thankful for that; but the main goal — at least to me — was to help as many people as I could as quickly as I could and make sure I feel somewhat uncomfortable while doing so, so that I could relate to them in that sense; but don't really bother to get to know them otherwise because this is a one-time thing and you'll never see them again — you're just there to help. It was work and duty and obligation at the expense of relationship. It was religion.
On this latest trip we stayed with a family who has dedicated their whole lives to transforming a little town, person by person, life by life, family by family. Just by being there, loving, and serving them. For a moment I thought, wow, these people could use the gifts they've been given to travel all over the world, or preach to huge crowds, or this that and the other thing. And it isn't a bad thing to “dream big,” but God's biggest dream for us is that we would love really really well. And sometimes that looks like visiting the few over and over again, and getting to know them, whether it's the first and/or last time you'll ever see them, or whether you'll see them every day for years to come.
Holly Brooks, March 2019