The count down to our return mission

-- by Nick Crellin --

It may seem odd, but several of us are thinking, pondering and praying "Where next, Lord ... where next?" Every single one of us is preparing to reenter Omaha ... changed. Our hearts, our thoughts, and our vision for the future have changed.

Not because we got tasked to paint a morgue. Not because we got tasked to put a tin roof on the warehouse. Not because we created J-bolts from straight bolts. Not because we sanded cement walls. By no means!

Let it never be said of us that we were simply a construction team. Construction was merely the "means" in which we entered the work site. There are plenty of Malians that are willing, capable and skilled to work on the site. No, we are not simply a construction team.

Many of us were not prepared for the life, thought or heart changes that have taken place. For four of us, this is our first missions trip. For four of us, this is our second or third trip. For one of us, this is the tenth (or so) trip. Yet, we have all been impacted!

It is never too early and it is never too late to go on a short term mission trip. The situations in our lives could have "demanded" we not go. We could have, every single one of us, decided that the timing was not right, we have too little to offer, or that our lives are too busy.

We know now, as it has been offered by others wiser than us, that "God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called." Each of us has been a vital part of the team. Each of us has provided blood, sweat and tears to a hospital, a city and a country on the other side of the ocean.

So ... What are we? What did we do? What was this trip's purpose? What was it all for? John Piper proclaims it best: "To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever!"

The heart beat that resonates from the long-term and short-term missionaries, the Malian hospital staff, the Koutiala Christian church and our team is a deep love for God and a deep love for people. The needs of people around the world are the same, but the challenges are different.

We cannot wait to share the many stories, the great love of the hospital staff and patients and what our future holds. We return home bearing a torch from Mali for our friends and family. May you find great joy and encouragement, as you welcome us home.