Chronicles of a Dominican Republic Mission Trip – Checking the Baggage or Leaving It Behind

Another dream.  Not another nightmare, just a dream. 

Another dream with a message.

In the dream it was time to leave.  Time to go home.  Time to leave the children’s hospital/orphanage where our team of 12 served for 7 days. 

I was the last one to pack.  I rummaged through my bags to see if I had everything.  My luggage seemed so empty.  Like I’d left too much behind. 

I ran around the building, frantically searching for anything that I’d forgotten to pack. 

I remember thinking I don’t need to take anything else.  I have everything I need and more waiting for me at home.  I want to leave everything behind. 

What did I want to bring home?  What did I want to check at the airport, put on a plane, and fit into my “normal” life? 

What did I want to leave behind?  Was I trying to bring things home that should be left right here?  What more can I give to them? 

I ran into a room where babies were sleeping.  All cozy and warm in their blankets.  Cared for by the loving nurses who worked there.  But I was making too much noise in my search.  One by one the babies were waking, jumping out of their beds, running to me, wanting to play.   I couldn’t stop even for a moment, my time was up and it was time to leave.  I apologized to the nurses and ran to join my team as they loaded into the vehicles that would take us to the airport.

Then I woke.

I woke with a heavy feeling on my heart.  Like maybe I’d left some things in Dominican that I should have brought home, and maybe I’d brought some things home that I should have left in Dominican.

It’s hard to know whether to check the baggage or leave it behind.

The baggage of awareness, exposure, helplessness, and the feeling that I am one in a world so big.

Like it or not, I checked alot of baggage on the return flight to Canada.  And I don’t regret it in the least. 

I only hope I didn’t leave anything behind in Dominican.  Things like my hope for peace, my love for others, my faith that God is in control.  Those things I need to bring home with me so I can live them out on this end of the trip.

Now comes the task of unpacking the baggage that I checked and brought home with me.  Unpacking, sorting, fitting it into my home, my family, my life. 

The journey has only just begun.

Lord, guide my steps as I journey with You, as I unpack and sort all You showed me in Dominican.  Thank You for the baggage – some days it will feel heavy and other days light.  I’m so glad I checked it instead of leaving it behind.

The next few posts will be an overview about our Dominican mission trip.  I hope to write it out like a diary and share some photos with you as well.  Maybe you can catch a glimpse of what it was like during our seven days in Dominican!

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