Have you experienced the emotional roller coaster of saying goodbye when your child left for the first day of school, or summer camp, or college? Do you wonder if people of the Bible felt the same? What might Abraham have felt as he led his son to the sacrificial altar? Did Hannah have second thoughts when she left little Samuel at the temple with Eli? Did Eunice really rejoice to see Timothy leave home to apprentice under Missionary Paul? Or consider a more contemporary example… On a recent MOST Ministries mission trip to a politically unstable nation, one team member was a young woman who left family, home, and country for the first time. Here’s the story of the Piepenburg Family…
Bryan and Peg live in northern Wisconsin with their two children, Bailey and Kolby. Both Bryan and Peg are very active in their church, Christ Lutheran in Wausau, and have served in various roles and on numerous boards and committees. Peg is also an LWML member and had connected with MOST Ministries years ago at an LWML Convention. Hearing about MOST had prompted her to request information about upcoming mission trips -- but years passed before anyone from the family actually decided to go on a MOST mission team. Not long ago, Peg sent an email to a MOST team member about joining a mission team. In a phone conversation, they chatted about the many options and opportunities available through MOST Ministries. Perhaps Bailey, now in college and minoring in Spanish, would be interested in one of them? After the family attended a presentation to learn more about MOST Ministries, Bailey arranged to have a presentation about MOST at her own church, and excitedly signed-up for the Honduras eyeglass team!
Of course, Bryan and Peg, as loving parents, had concerns about Bailey going on the mission trip. Bryan had researched the country and learned that political demonstrations caused the U.S. government to issue travel warnings. Team Administrator, Tyler Seehafer, wrote to Bailey, assuring her that MOST was monitoring the situation. Bryan responded, “In things of this nature, I very much believe that God is in control. Bailey is taking this opportunity to serve God and I believe she’ll be taken care of. MOST is an experienced organization. She’ll be going with experienced people. God has entrusted her to us and we are confident that God will take care of her.”
Preparations quickly advanced. Family, friends, and congregation members were excited for her. They told her the experience would be life-changing. Bailey created and sold bracelets at church. Friends gave generous gifts. A Thrivent grant paid for fund-raising materials. People prayed that she and the team would go forth as God’s servants to share his love and the message of salvation. Training was accomplished through videos and media presentations. Bailey was ready.
“Saying goodbye, the evening before Bailey’s flight was difficult,” said Peg, “but it was exciting for us to watch her step out of her comfort zone. She’d be flying to another country, going through customs, and living out her faith in ways we could not imagine. Frankly, I was both terrified and excited at the same time!” Shortly there after, the team’s flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems. They would be arriving in Honduras a day later. When Bailey shared this with her family, it was she who provided comforting words that helped her mother put things in perspective: “Mom, why would I worry? I can’t control the plane!”
Peg added: “Shortly after receiving the call from Bailey, I was sitting on our deck overlooking the river and heard a loud screeching sound. A pair of hawks were encouraging their fledgling to leave the nest and fly. After much flapping, the baby bird and its parents climbed into the sky together and began gliding in the wind. It reminded me how God was watching over Bailey and there was no need to worry. I realized it was me who was really freaking out. I needed reassurance that God was in control, which brought to mind Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your Bailey presenting on the Honduras Team own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’”
Did this experience impact Bailey? How could it not? God works in everyone on a MOST Ministries mission trip! Each team member and each person served are blessed in so many ways. Bailey was amazed at the joy of the Honduran people who had so little, but were so thankful.
Finally, I asked Bryan and Peg: Would you consider joining a future MOST Team? Their answer was quick and emphatic: “Absolutely!”
Hope to see them and you on a MOST team in 2020!