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Chicken Little Goes on a Mission Trip

I wrote this Reflections in Honduras, where Kristina and I were visiting with Peter and Katie Stockton. Peter, a physician, brought his wife and four daughters to this remote northern coast to serve the poor. This area had no hospital for the thousands of people until Hospital Loma de Luz was founded by Jefferson and Rosanne McKenney in 2003. The hospital is staffed by doctors and nurses from the United States and Canada who love Jesus. I spoke to their church and men’s group. Kristina worked in the hospital with Peter.

At 5:30 a.m., before starting his day at the hospital, Peter likes to go snorkeling in the Caribbean, so I decided to accompany him. As we sat in the sand putting on our fins, he gave me this warning: “I like to enter the water slowly in case there are stingrays near the beach. If we see moon jellyfish, be careful, because they can have tentacles that extend ten feet and really hurt. We will be swimming against the current until we get to the reef, which is out about 1,000 feet. Once we get to the reef, be careful if you step on it because there are porcupine fish that look like rocks, and they have poisonous spines.”

He mentioned other things about schools of jellyfish, various poisonous fish, and not shooting ourselves with his spear gun, but by then my mind was going numb. I didn’t want to risk my life; I was just hoping to have a nice swim.

On the mission base, I walked over a gorge on a swinging footbridge. I found out later that two people had died when the original bridge collapsed. I walked down the dirt road to the local village and greeted some machete-bearing guys, who were not friendly. I heard about the mission leader who was murdered when bandits chased down his vehicle. I didn’t tell Kristina about the big scorpion that was climbing the wall in our Honduras bedroom. She knows there are many ways to suffer on missions, and yet she was eager to go and serve the Lord.

We also spent a few days in Belize with David and Brittany Stockton and their three girls. We met the leaders they have led to Christ over the last year. We went fishing with a young pastor and his family whom David led to Christ eight years ago during their first mission to a village called Gales Point. Once the captain of our little boat was able to start up his outboard engine, we went through a big lagoon, down a winding river, and out into the Caribbean Sea. When it was time to head back, I hoped the little engine would start up again once he pulled on his old rope. There were no other boats around, and it was too far to swim to shore. I didn’t want to die of dehydration, adrift in the open sea.

I didn’t want to crash on the long dirt roads, or flip our truck over like the pastor I met who severely injured his children when he hit a pothole in Honduras. I kept my eyes on the ground when I hiked because they have seven varieties of poisonous snakes. Angry guard dogs charged at me, and I heard growls while hiking in the rainforest. There are many ways to die in Central America; none of them seemed like good options to me.

It is inspiring to be with people who are willing to make themselves vulnerable in order to preach the gospel and serve the poor. They have overcome the fear of death, because they trust Jesus who conquered death. Jesus has enriched their lives with joy and fruitfulness. He will also reward them with eternal life. God has blessings for everyone willing to leave the comforts of home to serve the Lord, even us chickens, who often fear what we should not fear. Let’s trust in God and in Christ’s resurrection, so we glorify Him.