I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of a number of international service trips sponsored by my university. A typical international service trip will include students from a number of disciplines (e.g., medical, dental, public health, nutrition, mental health), who set up mobile clinics in one or more locations and care for the health needs of the communities. The last trip I went on was to the beautiful country of Belize.
Our days in Belize typically began before 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. But the long days in the mobile clinic passed quickly, despite the scorching temperatures and the humidity. Speaking to the people from the community and playing with the children who came to visit us daily at the clinic was worth the discomfort.
When our week of hard work was nearing its end, our trip leader let us know that we would be taking a day trip to go tubing in a near-by river. We all agreed that tubing sounded AMAZING! Spending a day floating down a lazy river was exactly what we needed. The next morning, we loaded onto a bus and heading for what we believed would be a relaxing day.
Change of Plans
Our dreams and plans were crushed when we reached our destination and saw two men dressed in what appeared to be hiking gear. These men, who turned out to be our guides, nonchalantly informed us that, due to a reservation mix up, we would not be tubing today. We would instead be spelunking. The few moments that passed after the announcement were tense. Eventually, the men informed us that spelunking was not a personal insult, but an activity (specifically, cave exploration).
I managed to pull one of the guides, Luis, to the side.
“Listen, Luis,” I said. “I’m not sure if I can to do this.”
“That’s fine,” he replied. “But it looks like you’ve got two options: one, you can stay here and wait on the bus for five hours while everyone else goes on an adventure; or, two, you can (inappropriate phrase redacted) and give it a chance. Think about it. I’ll be over by the helmets.”
As Luis walked away I sized him up. As mad as his comment had made me I couldn’t deny that if I acted on impulse and released the kraken (a term I use to describe my fists), he could totally take me. Also, he was absolutely right.
I went up to Luis and grabbed the helmet from his outstretched hand.
“Ready for an adventure?” He asked.
“No.” I retorted. Knowing God was about to teach me a lesson about trust.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4, NIV).
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