Missions Trips Chapter 1: Learning to Let Go

2018 Quebec Mission Team

Learning to Let Go

The hardest thing we’ve had to do
is learning to let go of you.
Our baby girl, on loan from God,
is leaving soon for distant land,
where Daddy cannot hold her hand;
now on your own with Jesus plod.
The hardest thing we’ve had to do
is learning to let go of you,
but God is great, and God is good;
we would not stop you if we could.
Our baby girl, on loan from God,
now on your own with Jesus plod.
The hardest thing we’ve had to do
is learning to let go of you.

For the next six weeks, in lieu of my typical quotes from the books I’ve been reading, I would like to share with you some poems, stories, and photos from the mission trips various members of our family have had the opportunity to take over the past twelve months.

Dad and daughter at the airport

Summer Missions Trips: Chapter 1

We just came up on the anniversary of our daughter’s first mission trip, when she went to Quebec, Canada, with a group of teens and sponsors from our church here in Pensacola, Florida. Next week I’ll share the letter Mary wrote upon her return from Quebec, but today I simply wish to put out some thoughts from the hearts of two parents who are watching our baby girl (the youngest of three children) grow up and leave home for the first time—besides summer camp, that is.

In the weeks and months preceding this day, Mary had attended meetings at the home of our youth pastor and his wife, as she bonded with the other team members, learned a bit of French, and became familiar with the responsibilities that would be hers on the trip.

Allow me to back up even further. In the early fall of 2017, Mary was a rising homeschool senior, and she and I put our heads together to plan her senior trip. I had been to Mexico 25 years before, and had always wanted to return to visit the missionaries with whom I had stayed way back then. We had kept in touch off and on over the years, so I reached out to them, and before long arrangements were made for Mary and me to come for 8 days the following summer (2018).

The very week that we made those plans, Mary came out of her Wednesday youth meeting and announced to her dad and me that there was going to be a teen mission trip to Canada the following summer, and she wanted to go. Our response was, “Go ahead and apply. We don’t have the money, but the Lord can provide for two trips as easily as one.”

Mary was selected for the Canada trip, partially because she was a senior and partially because the youth pastor and his wife saw potential in her (i.e. a need to draw her out of her shell). So we praised the Lord for the open door and began to send out letters to our family and friends to ask for financial support for the trip. Mary also worked odd jobs, and I gave her the profits from my craft fairs. We were not the least bit surprised by God’s faithfulness to provide all our needs, and then some. Our passports arrived with plenty of time to spare, other deadlines were met, and Mary had all the money she needed for the Canada trip, with more than enough for the Mexico trip as well, so that we were able to give a generous gift to the missionaries with whom we stayed.

There was a slight upset to plans shortly after we left the teens at the airport. The airlines had overbooked the flight and could not get everyone on the plane. Some of them—seven, if I remember correctly—had to stay in town overnight and wait for another flight while the others went on ahead. They did not go back to their homes, but stayed with their chaperones. The group that had taken the earlier flight waited for them in Maine, and they drove together into Canada when they had all arrived safely in Maine. (My daughter fell in love with Maine, by the way.) 🙂

The benefits of this trip were innumerable, but I’ll count a few of them: (1) Mary became a little more independent and outgoing, gaining some new friends; (2) my husband and I lessened our hold on her, giving her back to the Lord; and (3) we all grew in our faith in God’s ability to provide and care for our every need.

Praying for God’s blessing on the trip

“Learning to Let Go” Sonnetina Rispetto
Copyright © 2019 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved

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