Can You Trust in Packing Lists?

be honest. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into. 

friend Doug and I
fly out for Port au Prince on Sunday for one of AIM’s weeklong relief trips to Haiti.
It’s the first time either of us has been on a missions trip or visited a
third-world country. Personally, I’d never really given much thought to going
on a trip like this-that was something other people did, right? But when the
earthquake hit and the news media showed the world the devastation and
destruction that followed, it hit home for both of us. We knew we had to do…
something. So we signed on with AIM, bought plane tickets, and started getting
been getting ready for two months now. I should let you know that I am, by
nature and by obsession, a traveler. Though I’ve never been on a missions trip,
I have done my share of globetrotting. Anytime I get ready for a trip, I have a
little routine I follow religiously that consists of buying a guidebook,
creating mental packing checklists, hauling my backpack and shoulder bag out of
storage, and hitting the stores for whatever else I want to bring. I’m a
creature of habit and I find security in my little rituals. It feels good to
know what I’ll need, what I’m bringing, and what I’ll be doing. 
getting ready for Haiti, I fell into the same familiar pattern. I grabbed a
Lonely Planet, picked up a couple wicking shirts for the heat, and sat down to
figure what else I should bring. Boots? Check. Camera? Check. I’ve got a whole
list jotted down in my notebook and I’ve been crossing off things one by one as
our departure date approaches, the same as always. 
the closer I get, the more it sinks in that I’m not jetting off on just any old
trip. This is something entirely different, far removed from my typical
tourism. We’re headed smack into a situation where my job is to help
people-people who need help more than I can even begin to imagine. We’re also
flying into a country that is on the verge of a spiritual reawakening. Instead
of being crushed, Haitians have hope and are singing and dancing in the streetsMiracles
are happening
 and we’re seeing people come together like never before. Doug and I are
about to take off into an amazing journey that will start with one week and end
only God knows where. 
do you pack for that? 
more I’ve been thinking and praying about the trip, the more I’ve realized that
everything we’re taking in our own bags (shoes, clothes, bug spray, tents,
gear, whatever) doesn’t matter. The gear that I’ve gathered and I’m trusting in
to keep me cool, dry, and prepared for whatever Haiti throws at me isn’t worth
a thing. 
took a look at the places where Jesus tells his disciples to come and follow
him (Matt. 4:18-22 for example). These guys all heard his call,
literally dropped everything, and took off after him without bringing a single
possession. They didn’t stop and pack a bag; they just went and trusted that
they’d be taken care of. Later on (Luke 9:1-6), Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to go “tell
everyone about the Kingdom of God” with specific instructions to not take “a
walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”
That’s a pretty short packing list. 
getting ready for Haiti, I’m starting to figure out that the only thing I can
take with me that really matters is Jesus. I need to trust Him to care for me,
to meet my needs, so that I can then meet the needs of others. My trust
shouldn’t be in packing lists and the gear I’m bringing to protect and prepare
me-that stuff all comes secondary to remembering I believe in a God that cares
for me. 
why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow;
they do not toil nor spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his
glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the
field, which is alive today and tomorrow thrown into the furnace, will He not
much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:28-30
still got my lists, and I’m still bringing my stuff, but I’m changing my focus
and doing my best to not worry about a change of clothes.

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