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February 17, 2023

Uncomfortable Situations Can Lead To Unexpected Opportunities

I recently took some of our leaders on a hunting trip to Mexico. I was excited to share the experience with them and our new intern. We arrived at the airport in Mexico and headed to our destination.


We quickly realized the trip was going to be different than we anticipated. We stopped at a store on the verge of nowhere, our car was rough, and the whole experience felt sketchy. It took us nearly three hours to reach the “house” where we were supposed to stay for the week. I say “house” because this building was nothing like the homes we build or live in!


We realized there were no lights, power, central heat and air, working water other than the toilet, and there were sleeping bags where nice beds should have been. In addition, we were told that only one person spoke English and, most importantly, there was no WiFi. I explained to our guide that we would need WiFi quickly so we could let our wives know we had arrived safely.


Honestly, I was incredibly frustrated because this was not what I had arranged or paid for. The pictures and listing of the house were obviously misleading. I had just met my new intern three days before, and God had called me to pour into him, but the current situation was far from what I had expected. Despite all this, I decided to make the best of the problem and not gripe or complain.


That night, as I was sleeping, God spoke to me and reminded me of Paul's words to "learn to be content in every situation, whether you have plenty or whether you have none." (Phil 4:11-13) I woke up with a new perspective and attitude.


Even during difficult circumstances, God can do great work. Throughout the rest of the trip, I tried to align my perspective with God’s and focus on making the best of the situation rather than letting the lack of amenities and comforts ruin my experience.


I didn’t know it then, but our wives were in a panic by the following day. We’re usually consistent with checking in. Because they hadn’t heard from us, they were trying various ways to communicate with us. When our guide finally connected to WiFi, we realized the US and Mexican governments were involved and had given our hosts a deadline to respond – or they would send in the military!


Because I knew we were fine, I thought they might be overreacting. But then, the Lord showed me that they were not overreacting – our wives love us, and we love them. They know it is out of character for us not to communicate and let them know we were safe. We’re not perfect, but we are consistent and true to our word. We don’t “forget” to call. This was a break in the pattern and felt alarming to our families.


This was surprising to our guide as well. He had never experienced such a reaction. But it allowed me to share with him about how we treat our spouses. We love them, honor them, and follow through on our word. It was actually a great example to him, although I didn’t see it at the time.


On the way back to the airport, our guide shared some of his story. He said, “I know you all are followers of Jesus Christ.” See, we had never said those words outright, but he was able to watch our responses and relationships during our time with him.


What was initially a frustrating experience became an opportunity to share and witness to these men in a rugged, underdeveloped part of Mexico. I have no doubt we were right where God wanted us.


I have been in contact with our guide since we’ve been home, and he’s shared his new commitment to know and follow Jesus and how he can share Jesus’ love with those around him. He’s even had the opportunity to be generous and help others in a way he might not have before.


Jesus will put us in some crazy places if we let Him, maybe not as comfortable or as nice as we like – but where He wants us. This faith journey is not boring! I want to always be in the center of what He’s doing. Even when we’re uncomfortable or feeling some discontent, we can shine His light to those around us.


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