It’s no secret our world can be a dangerous place. We want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. I can’t guarantee anyone’s safety but I found something we can do.
There’s a place we can go to find safety. I learned this from an experience many years ago and again recently.
It was 1994, the year after my mom passed away and I was a mess emotionally. Having worked through a lot of baggage to repair our relationship my mom and I had gotten very close. Losing her took my sense of security away.
A part of me felt lost and unsafe. Grief does that to you.
For many years I’d carried a desire in my heart to go on a mission trip. Every time an opportunity arose I’d pray about it but never felt permitted to go. I’d almost given up that dream when the opportunity arose in 1994 for a work mission trip. It was to a country I wasn’t familiar with and didn’t know where it was. Guatemala.
Although I didn’t know it, Guatemala was in the midst of a civil war.
I sheepishly prayed expecting a no but instead, I got a yes. I was so excited. My husband fully supported my dream, agreeing to hold down the fort with our two young teenagers for 10 days right before Christmas.
Not long after signing up people started asking me if I was scared to go. I had no idea why I would be. They informed me Guatemala was in the middle of a civil war and the people were hostile because they were afraid of foreigners.
Fear started talking to me but a prevailing peace remained inside pointing to the yes. I didn’t know anything but to trust the yes I was given.
I was nervous about many things on the trip but my safety was not one of them.
I saw trucks full of army men with big guns and other things that were not safe. Our host told us how to act in certain danger areas. We listened and followed his directions. He took us to see parts of his country. Some were beautiful. Some broke your heart.
Here are a few photos.
Our team accomplished a lot for the girls home. Our trip was without any incident and I returned home safely.
Even in the midst of all the countries dangers, I’d been kept safe.
But I also felt safe — because of where my trust was.
I found a safety to remember. A place where I put my trust.
Trusting that Safety
I recently returned from on another international trip. It wasn’t a mission trip. This trip was for my husband and me to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
While planning our trip we prayed — as usual. But we had trouble deciding where to go. Every place we looked into I didn’t feel right about. Not a direct no, but I felt no sense of safety. We kept praying and looking. One day I felt peace about a certain place so we booked our trip to a new resort in the Dominican Republic. We did the same with the excursions. We were excited.
Just like before my trip to Guatemala, I started hearing dangers of the country I was going to. For example, there was a couple who’d gone to the same beach we were going to that came home with a disease. The story was all over the news and social media. I learned of crime and other health dangers. Fear started talking to me.
We took precautions — registered with STEP and made sure our family knew where we were going to be. But it wasn’t enough.
I ran to my place of safety.
The place where my faith connected to the one I trust as my protector. The one who said I could go to Guatemala said I could go to the Dominican Republic.
I clung to yes I was given.
All the other locations we looked into — didn’t feel safe. It wasn’t about where I was going but who was going with me. Putting my trust in Him was my place of safety.
This trust carried me through the emotionally stressful times when my surroundings felt unsafe.
- When we arrived, we couldn’t find the transportation we’d arranged and were surrounded by a huge language barrier.
- Once we located them we were told they didn’t have our reservation.
- When we finally made it to our destination they didn’t have our room.
- With many empty promises and so sorry’s they shuffled us around until after midnight.
- We didn’t have the option of bottled beverages — would what we drank make us sick?
- The black mold that formed in our shower, that took two days for them to clean — was it toxic?
- We got notified of possible credit card fraud and were locked out of our account — how do we deal with this in a foreign country?
Many other issues arose where the lack of trust in those around us was profound — but the trust I had placed beforehand is where I reached for safety.
Here are a few pictures.
There were times I wondered why we had so many issues if this was where we’d been directed to go. I have some guesses but I may never know.
One might be a few wonderful people we encountered we’d never have met otherwise. They enlarged my world. One example is a particular young lady I had the opportunity to communicate love to in a deeply touching way.
All the trouble was worth it for that one encounter. But there were more.
And I did make it home safely. But I learned safe doesn’t mean easy and trust is always required.
We can erroneously believe we are safe in places where there is no appearance of danger. In truth, there is danger all around us. I believe safety is found only in the place of trust I talked about.
Some put their trust in their own judgment. I don’t trust myself enough all by myself. I know need help. There are things I don’t know.
Every day I intentionally put my trust in God for safety. One way I do this, is listening to this song every morning.