As I write this article, there are groups in the church, finalizing travel plans and checking on last minute details. In the next several weeks, groups from the church will be loading up the vans, getting into cars, and even boarding airplanes to travel elsewhere, taking with them a part of this place. As those who will remain here, as they go, we pray for them, support them, and look forward to hearing from them when they return.
For every trip that we take, there are plans that we make. Not only do we plan our departure and arrival, we also carry with us expectations for the week at hand. In these weeks, we will have children go to PassportKids! Camp in Spartanburg, South Carolina; youth traveling to Passport Youth Camp in Greensboro, North Carolina; and a Mission Team going to Brazil again this year. Each of these groups has plans and takes with them expectations for the journey.
The theme for Passport this summer comes from James 2:18b, “I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action” (CEB). For all the expectations we might have for these journeys, it would be difficult to find a stronger sentence to capture our best expectations. This sentence captures not only the expectations for Passport, but also for the mission trip to Brazil.
Each group goes to build friendships, serve others, learn together, strengthen community, and embody the love of God, which can all be found in the expectation to demonstrate our faith by “putting it into practice in faithful action.” These words will be experienced in all of those ways, including laughing, studying, playing, listening, singing, praying, reading, and most of all, by going.
As we put our faith into action, along with our known expectations, there are the unknown ones as well. We go, expecting the work we will do and the conversations we will have, but there will also be what we do not expect. We anticipate being surprised, challenged, and nudged in ways that we cannot know until we go. It is part of the journey.
As these groups pack their bags and travel in the days to come, we pray for everything we expect as well as what we cannot expect. We support them, as they go to serve others and as they go to listen for God, and we wait to hear from them as they return. The youth and children will share with us about Passport on a Thursday evening in August. The mission team from Brazil will tell us about their trip on Thursday, August 13. We will also send them off on Thursday, July 9 by remembering some of the trips from the past. We share these experiences with them because we practice our faith together, putting it into faithful action, both away from this place as well as right here in the community around us.