I recently went to the eye doctor for my annual checkup, and although I wear glasses, I didn’t have any problems seeing. However, once the doctor started checking my vision, we both realized that this was not the case! I had just become familiar with “not seeing clearly.”
I think this is rather normal – we see or do the same things each day and regardless of what they are, they become familiar to us and therefore they have little effect on us. It becomes normal, and we rarely take steps to make any changes unless something happens to change how we see our life.
I began to think about two of the people that joined us on a recent mission trip to Guatemala. I wondered if life was different for them now that they have returned to the comforts of their homes, families and lifestyles. So I reached out and asked them to share any life changes or perspective changes they have experienced since returning home.
Here are the responses in their own un-edited words –
“My time in Guatemala with members of the Hope Ignited team was an absolutely life-changing experience. All of the time, I heard people say that in order to digest the spectrum of the world, one must travel outside one’s comfort zone. That statement couldn’t be more true. The Guatemalan people and their spirit-filled way of life showed me just how content and happy life can be without the excess.
Upon returning home, my wife and I prayed together about my experience and about my takeaways from the trip. My takeaways were “Less is more”, “It can wait” and “Time is important”. It was only a matter of days before we put one of my takeaways, “Less is more”, into effect. We downgraded one of our cars to a more less-expensive car and were able to cut back on a few bills. With the savings, we will be able to give more to the causes that God is leading us to, including Hope Ignited.
The biggest thing that I came away with from my experience in Guatemala is that the positive transformation of one’s spirit can be made possible by a simple and minor event that reforms the way we think and act. Such a feat seems improbable without a major event, yet to me, my experience proved otherwise.”
~ Frank Gray, FactorBrand
“In a way, I’d have to say “where do I start”? We take for granted every day that we are graced with a bed, clothes, a roof over our head, a floor, and food in a refrigerator. We are a nation of inward focus and over abundance.
My take away is a guilt for this and a heightened awareness that we should all do more with less and share our abundance with those in need. There is no one that I have spoken with that once I tell the story of my experience are not moved to join the cause.
I was amazed by my organization’s eagerness to become engaged as a whole and support me to make the projects, goals and aspirations of Hope Ignited happen.
I am a person of action, the fire has been ignited, now I simply need to know how to light it best for those who need it most, hope that is.”
~ Joyce Fownes, Perkins +Will Architects
I love to hear stories like this and I hear them frequently from people that step outside their comfort zone and serve those in the world that struggle. Both Frank and Joyce had never served on a mission trip before and this was actually Frank’s first trip outside the U.S. They both were amazing servants to the people in Guatemala; I’m certain God will use them in powerful ways in the days and years to come.
As we begin a new year with new hopes and aspirations, I guess it’s only fitting to now have clear vision. Mission trips will certainly do that!.