International travel is hard right now. COVID has made it much more challenging and mission organizations have seen a dramatic decline in teams visiting the mission field right now. We just had a team that braved the challenges of this crazy time and came to visit us anyway. It’s the first team we’ve had since 2019. It was also a special team in that it consisted of five family members to one of the missionaries, Emily.
This team dealt with disrupted fundraisers, last-minute passports, positive COVID tests, two team members having to turn back before arriving, lost luggage, flight changes, and government restrictions changing what they could do. In other words, it was an experience filled with opportunities to let things go and learn to trust God more. Like the old adage, “We make plans, and God laughs.” Our plans were constantly being disrupted and yet God knew it all before we did and it was a part of what He had for them and us.
The team was able to play with kids, put together some PETs, sand and varnish church benches, attend a PET distribution, clean and repaint the NLC kitchen, attend a church service where the church benches were being used, experience Chisokone market at its busiest, and get to know the NLC staff.
Teams are important to ministries. They get to see the work first-hand. The pictures and stories become flesh and blood. It’s no longer a vague or far-away thing that they hear about once in awhile from a newsletter, or a blog, or a social media post, or from hearing a missionary speak. They get to really experience a small taste of the reality that the ministry is seeking to serve real people with real needs. Team members become ambassadors for the ministry – helping spread the word and need to others, keeping us in prayer and on people’s minds. It’s one way of moving from a supporter to a partner. Supporters are great and needed! Partners are even better.