Friday, June 05, 2015

Shoeless In Saigon

In thirty-three days, I leave for Can Tho, Vietnam by way of Chicago and Hong Kong. There is always something to come up- today I got an e-mail from Sherry Ann telling me my flight details had been altered so you have to be flexible. Jesus talked about mission trips. This entry, from July 6, 2011, is about some of His instructions.

This morning, I went to Wal-Mart and bought supplies for my trip to Vietnam which commences in less than three days. The cost was about $170. Now, all I have to do is fit my purchases and the other stuff I need to take into a backpack and two suitcases. It's going to be tight. There's alot of stuff and I'm the world's worst packer. I bought a scale last summer before I went to China to make sure I did not exceed the fifty pound weight limit per bag and I had to get a D battery this morning to get the scale back up and running. My supplies are piled on the floor in my living room. As I approach my fifteenth mission trip, I realize I'm much better at the getting ready part than I was on my initial journey to Honduras in the summer of 1998. I've learned the value of ZIPLOC bags and packing some spare clothes in the back pack just in case my luggage gets lost or stolen, both of which have happened to me. I'm two thirds completed with my checklist of things to do. Leaving the country for almost four weeks presents some problems but I've become more adept at handling them over the years. Be assured, it took plenty of hits and misses to get to this point in my life.

My devotional reading right now is The Voice Of Luke which is a semi-commentary of the third gospel by Bruce McLaren. I find the subtitle interesting: Not Even Sandals. McLaren takes the book's name from Luke 22, verse 35 where Jesus is conversing with his men:
 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
   “Nothing,” they answered.
The Savior was referencing an earlier mission effort when He sent them on their way with orders to go empty handed. Now, I wish I had the guts to do that but I can convince myself why I need cereal bars and numerous t-shirts and my camera and laptop. I wouldn't be in the throes of the packing dilemma if I had that kind of faith. I'm especially intrigued by the NO SANDALS edict. At present, I plan to try to leave Bush Intercontinental Airport with five sets of footwear. There is logic to my thinking: I'll be going up river and Nikes/New Balance dry slowly and they might wear flip flops like they do in China and Aqua Shoes are great on the water and I need a pair of dress shoes because I promised Kim Ngo I would take a picture wearing the tie her family brought me from Vietnam. So, Jesus' rule doesn't apply to me. Still, Peter-Andrew-James-John-et al admitted they lacked nothing on their trip. BUT, they weren't allowed two suitcases and a carry-on like I am. Unbelievable- just think how much good they could have done IF they had practiced our well thought out mission methodologies. They could have changed the world.

Applicable quote of the day:

"Shoes are the first adult machines we are given to master." 
Nicholson Baker

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Shanda said...

You are sooo funny! Five pair of shoes. I spent three weeks in Africa last summer with two! Of course, I pretty much grew up barefoot. (I also lived in Honduras) I pray you have a great trip. And thank you for the mention of the book on Luke. I am actually teaching a Sunday School class on Luke now so will look into it.

David U said...

Thanks for the encouragement Steve!
God bless you in ALL your travels, shoes or no shoes.
David Underwood

Jacob said...

I am so excited that your trip is close. You will be serving God, and shining his light for others, and are serving as Jesus did... The school really is proud of the work you do. Have a good trip, and enjoy the rest of your summer...

David Barnett said...

You should write a book about the value of short term mission trips! I am going to Guatemala on June 24 for five days. We are going the same place we went last year except working with one minister instead of many. This is more of a discovery trip for us to hopefully build on for the years to come.