We hooted and hollered cheers. Long buses pulled into the circle drive to deliver the young missionaries who were here for training camp. We were the welcome crew.
My skin tingled with excitement, and my eyes burned with unshed tears. These young people were giving a year of their life for eternal purposes while others their age partied through their twenties living for earthly pleasures. I was so proud of them, inspired by them – and I hadn’t even met them yet.
I knew that these young people were alive with purpose. I also knew this would be a hard ten days of understanding their true identity – who they really were. As Americans, we tend to identify ourselves by what we do instead of who we were. If we are highly accomplished, we have a strong self-identity. If we struggle, though, our self-esteem can plummet. These young people would come face to face with their true identity – sons and daughters of Almighty God – created for his glory – worthy enough of His love that He sent Jesus to die for them. That loved! That adored! Our identity was woven into the fabric of our cells. “You are mine!” God declares. And when we surrender to this tidal wave of love, we declare, “I am His, and He is mine!”
They would also understand team building in all new ways. By the end of this week, their squad would be family.
Nate caught my eye as the bus struggled to make the curve of the driveway. We laughed. “Should we tell her?” I asked.
He winked and smiled.
I leaned over to our squad mobilizer. “Megan, do you remember last year at training camp – a camper came through here and hit a truck?”
“That was you!” she exclaimed.
“I wanted you to get to know us a bit before I told you,” I confessed.
“Who would have guessed?” I said. “And here we are.”
In October 2015, we had dropped our daughter off at training camp for World Race. We were full of anxiety even in the midst of our excitement for her. Would she be safe? Would she ever come home? C. S. Lewis’s words rang in my mind. “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
Yes, last year, as we had pulled into this very circle drive, there had been a welcoming crew for Taylor, just like we were welcoming the arrivers today. When our camper hit the truck, the cheers stopped. The crowd was silent, and Taylor slunk down in her seat. This was her introduction to her squad for eleven months. Her parents were the Beverly Hill Billies of the World Race. Megan had rescued her from the truck and swooped her away. Taylor didn’t look back. It will always be one of our favorite, funny World Race stories.
And here we were, a year later. This time, WE were joining World Race – as coaches. God’s plans are greater than we think or imagine. It was miraculous, really, that we had gone from skeptical, embarrassing World Race parents of a racer - to fully on board coaches of a squad - in just one year.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36.