by Gloria Perez
Four and a half years ago as we were walking out of LifeGroup, Chris and Theresa Imbach excitingly talked to my husband, Art, and I about the Roatan mission trip. They looked at us and said, "You guys should come!" For several years at our other church, we had talked about going on mission, but it never happened. Now that we were settling into Chets, it seemed right and we replied "Okay." I wish I could say that there was intense prayer and spiritual reflection, but it was a simple moment of an invitation extended and accepted.
As the days passed leading up to the trip, I could feel myself starting to step outside of my comfort zone. I was going somewhere I didn't know, to do something I didn't know how to do, with a group of strangers. For an introvert, to-do list lover, and planner, I was starting to feel uncomfortable. This trip was not under my organizational control. I kept telling myself that we all loved Jesus and we wanted to love others and kept my eyes on the fact that God was in control.
We arrived in Roatan on Saturday and began unpacking supplies and setting up our living quarters. English language school didn’t start until Monday, so we spent Sunday doing physical labor at the school in the Honduran heat. Climbing up ladders, moving block, and painting isn't difficult work but doing it directly under the scorching island sun brings a whole different challenge to the simple tasks.
The comfort zone that was slowly moving out of my grasp had now rapidly shot into the horizon, nowhere to be seen. When we broke for lunch and went back to where we were staying, I privately turned to my husband and through tears said, "I don't know why God brought me here. I can't do this. I will never do this again."
I felt awkward and unskilled; like I had nothing to offer. My insecurities mounted as I walked into the school on Monday to help inside the non-air conditioned one room classroom. I wanted so desperately a task to hold on to and call my own. I wanted to feel like I contributed something to what God was doing at the school. It didn't come right away, but I told myself to remain open and try to be as helpful as possible. By the end of the day my task came in the form of a broom. The team members doing labor and construction outside were tracking a lot of dirt into the classroom as they walked in and out to fetch the tools stored inside. I picked up the broom and told myself that I would be the best sweeper I knew how to be.
For the week ahead, if I wasn't helping the lead teacher with whatever task she directed, you could find me with the broom in my hand. My husband and I joke because of all the tools he used and the labor jobs he did all week, he thankfully never hurt himself, but I left Roatan with a blister on my hand from the broom handle. Art and I have gone back four years in a row and we are humbled that God would choose us to serve the community of La Colonia in Roatan.
The broom is still there in the classroom. Every time I see the broom in the hands of other new team members who are finding their way, I reflect on where I was four years ago. I want to step in and ask if I can sweep, but I stop myself knowing how God worked through that broom to mold my heart to His service.
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23