appeared in the First Prebyterian Church's monthly newsletter in
January of 2003.
It all started with
a hypothetical rant about 12 months ago.
Frustrated with corporate America, keeping up with the
Joneses, and searching for more meaning in life, I said, “We
should just quit our jobs and become missionaries or something.”
After I uttered these words, a pregnant silence hung in the
air. Then, through the
stillness came a small voice. It
was my wife, who said, “You know… we really could do that.”
implementation expert, was able to outline the steps required
to pull off such a feat. The more we talked, the more practical it started to sound.
Worried that my well-thought-out life (job, 2 cars, house,
kids, PTA meetings, summer barbeques, etc) was now being scrapped
for a new plan, I panicked and I said something like, “Yeah… but
people who do that are either retired or called by God or something.
I don’t know if that’s us.”
We tossed the idea aside… or at least we thought we had.
Sometimes God is a
healer. Sometimes God is a counselor.
And… we have come to find sometimes God is like the kid in
grade school who always poked you in the side REALLY HARD between
your ribs to get your attention.
After our conversation that day, it seemed that everywhere we
turned, God was trying to tell us we shouldn’t let the idea die.
We would have a Sunday morning breakfast discussion about how
doing mission work would bring up too many uncertainties and fears
and then we would go to Sunday School and hear the gospel of
Matthew: “Who of you
by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
In a random conversation with a friend, I asked about an old
college buddy only to find out he just went to Ecuador to do work
with the Peace Corps. We
open up a daily devotional for the first time and it says to let go
of the stability of our daily routine and seek God on the fringes of
The signs kept
coming weekly or even daily. We
couldn’t dismiss them as coincidence.
We even started telling people about our idea and inquiring
about potential programs. Still
the signs weren’t blatant enough to get us to commit to a
particular mission. We
wanted a slap-in-the-face, ice-cold shower, hit-on-the-head by a
falling grand piano kind of sign.
Heck! Even an
infomercial would have been great!
I can see it now…
delay! Call now to buy
your ‘George Foreman’s Grillin’ Machine’ for only $39.95!
Just mention Jesus’ name to our operator, and we’ll
include a free mission trip to the developing country of your
Well, we all know
the Good Lord doesn’t do infomercials (though I THINK He had a
hand in a couple of episodes of Andy Griffith).
What you may not know is He DOES make phone calls!
afternoon in December, we sat at the kitchen table working our way
through some leftover meatloaf and, once again, discussing the idea
of mission work. At
this point, we were frustrated, saying, “I wish a mission
opportunity would just jump out at us!”
That’s when we got the call – literally!
Gabby answered the phone, “Hello?”
This is Katy!” (Gabby
thinks to herself, “who the heck is Katy and why is she
interrupting my tasty lunch?)
Katy Bedunnnah went
on to explain she was with Mission Presbytery’s Maya Quiche
Presbytery Partnership. She had seen our e-mail asking about long-term mission
opportunities. She was
calling to let us know there were two last-minute cancellations,
opening two spots for the February 13-24 trip to Guatemala.
The trip is an extension of the partnership to support Maya
Quiche’s Evangelical Committee, whose charter is to plant new
churches in rural communities, create better literacy and
theological education, provide advocacy for community health, and
support agricultural community development projects.
She had us at “Hello.”
Here are some statistics.
Guatemalans are without electricity;
86% never have the opportunity to attend school past the 6th
87% live below the poverty line;
90% show symptoms of malnourishment;
100% have stories to tell and lessons to teach.
itinerary has us installing two computer labs, visiting past work
projects, and distributing 1200 pair of reading glasses in 23
villages (many have not read the Bible in years due to poor
eyesight, and others cannot see well enough to sew, and therefore,
cannot earn a living), we have heard from past trip participants
that the true power of the trip is simply experiencing God in the
daily lives of the Mayan people.
So with the
spiritual and financial support of First Presbyterian Church, we
will be accompanying thirteen others from Mission Presbytery on the
journey. We cannot wait to discover what God has waiting for us.
Will this short 11-day trip lead to something much more for
us? We hope so.
We’ll certainly be looking for the signs.
Until that time, we look forward to seeing Christ
face-to-face in the eyes of strangers.
We cannot wait to return and share the experience with you.
Please keep this mission team in your prayers.
Scott and Gabby Dannemiller
for more information on Mission Presbytery’s partnership with
CESSMAQ, visit http://www.main.org/cessmaq/