By Ebbie Davis, Photo Editor
After boarding the plane I knew it was too late to turn back. Here I was on yet another short-term missions trip.
Having committed my life to missions, one would think I would be excited to go to Honduras over my fall break to serve the community. Instead, a surprising bitterness overcame me.
I love missions, don’t get me wrong, but the term “short” has always tampered with my heart.Short-term missions, in my mind, was something that resulted in helping, preaching and then leaving. Where was the discipleship?
“This trip will be different,” I tried to convince myself. “My time will be spent taking photos and creating a media project for my team.”
I thought, “I will just hide behind my camera,” which is unlike myself.
But after hitting the ground and seeing that first child, I knew this trip was going to be harder than expected.
“If I don’t get close to them, then they won’t get attached.”
My mind continued to tell me to stay focused on photos, while in the meantime my heart was captured by the first “Hola” and hug.
Sitting in my safe hotel room on the first night of our four-day excursion, I began to question God.
“Why? Why am I here?” I asked. “Am I here to love them and to leave them?”
I still didn’t understand why I was there. I couldn’t do this.
That moment is when God revealed his heart to mine. I was reading a passage in 1 John and God reminded me how he has called us to love as he loves. What an incredible concept, to love as Christ loved.
My mind began to wonder, when Jesus walked this earth, how did he love? His love was the purest, most selfless love imaginable, and here I was only halfway loving. I was using the gift of photography, which he has given me to get closer to these people, as an excuse to stay away.
When Jesus was on Earth, he discipled 12 men day-in and day-out, yet he traveled and preached to different villages and different people every day. I began to understand why he wanted me there: He wanted me to love.
Whether long-term missions or short-term, God calls us to love as he did. We have to have faith in local Christians to follow through with the discipleship in the areas we visit, but while we are there: we love.