Frederick Buechner once said that
"The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet"...
...So there's this place. According to Google Maps it is 1,520 miles from my front door. It takes 23 hours and 39 minutes to get there by car, and about 5 hours and some change by airplane.
From the sky it looks like a brown wasteland. From the ground it doesn't look much different. It's a dry, hot, prickly place, smack dab in the middle of a desert. And it's become one of my very favorite places on earth.
My first trip to Bearing Precious Seed, El Paso was in 2011. I knew what to expect. I had friends who had been going down for years, and I'd heard all their stories. Assemble scripture. Meet up with a Mexican church. Canvas the neighborhoods and pass out Gospel tracts. Hold evangelistic meetings.
All that is true, but it was so much more. God blew me away at every step. The sweet spirit of the Mexican church as they welcomed a group of Americans into their service. People stopping their cars to accept the Gospel tracts we were handing out. Watching dozens of people put their faith in Jesus. It was overwhelming.
Something else happened that I hadn't expected: I left a piece of my heart in that desert. There's just something about those big brown eyes, the open-ness of the Mexican people, and watching God work right before your eyes.
In the years since that first trip, I've been blessed to return to El Paso each summer for various periods of time. That feeling of being blown away by watching God work has never left. I go down to BPS expecting to see God work - actively watching for how He will answer prayers, meet needs, and draws people to Himself.
This past summer, scheduling only allowed me to visit the desert for a week. But oh what a week it was. Big meetings. Open hearts. Storms stopped. Lives changed.
Another reason why El Paso is one of my favorite places is getting to work alongside the incredible, faithful, humble staff that run the ministry. The example of their faithful lives dedicated to God is an inspiration.
Before we crossed the border one afternoon, Brother Hector challenged us to make today count for eternity. He said, "there is no greater mission than that which God has put before us today."
These smiles. These eyes. How blessed I am that God allows me to witness the way He is working in the lives of the people in Juarez. Next summer can't come soon enough.