We hosted a missions team from Southeastern University in Brussels a couple of weeks ago. They were doing normal missions trip things, like renovations, prayer walks, and service stuff. Now, you may not know this about me, but I have actually never gone on a missions trip before (I think it’s a testament to how God can use anyone) and it was humbling to be part of the leaders of the group when I haven’t done anything like that before. I understand how important mission trips are now. I saw the team changing over the course of a week through simply serving others. It’s an amazing thing to see and be a part of and I’m very thankful God has gotten me here despite my lack of experience!
The day after they left, Lindsey and I headed out for Romania for a week to lead a team there! Fun story about the trip: Lindsey has two passports, an American one and British one. Well, being the travel expert I am (that statement is sarcastic) I grabbed Lindsey’s American passport instead of mine! When I give “my” passport to the guy, he checks me in, but I notice it’s the wrong one! Luckily he didn’t. So I call our ride and tell her what happened. Lindsey and I split up – she goes on through while I wait for Christine to pick me up.
After a mad dash to get the correct passport, I get back to the airport 5 minutes after it was scheduled to finish boarding, but I still have to go through security and customs. Naturally, there is only one line of security is open and there are two families with infants in front of me. All the while, Lindsey is texting me, “Where are you?” “A big group showed up!” “Are you through yet?” “Hurry!” When I finally make it through security, I have to go through customs where the lady is asking more questions than normal and talking to her coworker asking him questions as well. Suddenly over the loudspeakers they announce, “Monsieur Zach Payne, The gate is closing, please come immediately to the gate.” The lady shrugs, stamps, I run, and I am the very last person on the plane, but I made it! It was quite an adventure! Needless to say, we will be triple checking our passports now.
In Romania, we served a small village of about 1000 people and a single paved road. The children don’t get many opportunities to just be kids. It was an awesome experience to put on a week-long kid’s day camp. We served preschoolers, elementary, and teens. Every day more and more kids came and it was amazing to see children just being children. There was one girl in particular that didn’t really smile. When I asked her to smile for pictures, she would shrink away. Our translator said to me, “For some people, it is very hard to smile.” But by Friday, the little girl was smiling while chasing bubbles and on the bouncy house. It was a great thing to see.