Goats, Grace, and Glory: A Reflection on My First International Mission Trip

Goats grace glory

Goats…small-ish, but powerful animals with bulging eyes. Not the ideal cuddly animal, but a beloved creation of God nonetheless. In Los Ciles, Honduras their purpose is simple but very much so needed. A staple of sustenance for many Catracho (Honduran) families. In Dallas, Texas, their purpose seems more convoluted. I say this as I sip my $5 artisan coffee and watch a group of smiling Americans participate in an atypical Sunday afternoon activity. Goat Yoga. Yep, that’s right. Goat Yoga.

From what I gather, the goats are put on people’s backs as they do certain yoga poses. For what purpose, I am not really sure, but a part of me longed for the simplicity of a goat’s purpose to wander the green hills of Pastor Laudolino’s backyard, to wander and commune with fellow goats (and chickens) alike, and to perk its ears when its called so that it can give what it has to the forever grateful Honduran family. Brothers and sisters, I long for a simple purpose like the goats of Honduras.

Brothers and sisters, I long for a simple purpose like the goats of Honduras.

(Note: If you’re still with me, I applaud you because I reckon this will not be a three paragraph summary of the Honduras Mission Trip. Sorry, Pastor Sam. 😛 )

Let’s backpedal for a second. My prayer for this mission trip was to be humbled and return back to the States grateful for all that I have. I knew that I struggled with pride in many areas of my life, most notably with ministry and work, so I very much so desired for God to grant me freedom from that struggle. A bold prayer, you may think, but I did not know that at the time. I thought it was a ‘right’ prayer to pray, not a powerful one. But friends, God answered this prayer faithfully and at the right time.

One of the great things about God is that He is good, and with His goodness there is grace upon grace. And I needed grace during those five long and stretching days in Honduras. Like the goats of Goat Yoga, my life’s purpose seemed to be dictated by other people’s demands. In my case, it was more so other people’s “perceived” demands. I had believed the lie that in order to truly have purpose, I needed to be a good servant leader, serve others with a sacrificial love…always disregarding my personal needs. I did not have a choice, it’s what I (mistakenly) thought I was supposed to do.

Like the goats of Goat Yoga, my life’s purpose seemed to be dictated by other people’s demands. I had believe the lie than in order to truly have purpose, I needed to be a good servant leader…always disregarding my personal needs.

That’s why serving in Honduras was so hard. I was there in this foreign country and my purpose was to just be there. To be present in activities that seemed to be frivolous. To be present in sitting with others and nothing else. To be present in conversing with others and nothing else. I just had to be all there, and I felt extremely awkward and inept. Didn’t I have great interpersonal skills? Why did I feel so off? My American purpose ceased to exist, and I felt like I was a pampered Yoga goat trying to understand the purpose of wandering the simple Honduran landscape with my fellow goats. I seemed to forget the purpose of being a part of a family. Of just being a part of the Body of Christ.

Before I left for Honduras, a wise sister in Christ told me, “Things always seem to become clearer during mission trips,” and I will say God’s grace in His great love for us became that much clearer to me. I can just be me, and He would still love me. I can serve Him by just simply recognizing the importance of being just a member of the Body of Christ, and He would still be glorified. No strings attached. I had truly believed the lie that I had been serving solely for His glory, but in reality, I was serving to fulfill my purpose to be needed and give glory to my many accolades.

But by God’s grace, he lovingly humbled me and opened my eyes to see that my purpose was shallow in comparison to His purpose for my life. To simply live my life for His glory. It is all for His glory.