Should I stay or should I go?

“Flooding far from over”

“Thousands homeless”

“Major disaster”

These are just a few of the headlines surrounding my home state today. While I’m packing up some essentials for a three-week visit to South Asia and North Africa, people very near and dear to me are packing up what’s left of their homes and histories as they deal with days and days of flooding in South Louisiana.

I’m frantically throwing things in my suitcase, realizing how little use I have for them, and then throwing them back out. Passport, malaria meds, notebooks, pens, earplugs, voltage converter – the stack grows by the minute as I try to fit everything into the suitcase.  We have four stops in two different countries, and my team and I have a lot of work ahead of us.

Preparing for a trip like this, I’m always inundated with a mix of emotions, mostly positive. This time, however, I can’t help but feel heartbroken and even a little guilty as I leave behind so many South Louisiana neighbors who are hurting. Rescue efforts are underway, and the region braces for more rising water in the coming days. Already people are realizing that they’ve lost all of their possessions, their pictures, their physical markers of the memories they’ve made over their lifetime.

I have to trust that though I’m leaving behind some hurting people, I’m called to go to hurting people. During our time in South Asia and North Africa, we’ll meet with workers who are serving day in and day out among people who are desperate for Christ, and we’ll be learning from these workers how we can join in their efforts and come alongside them as brothers and sisters. And while I hate to leave this area in a time when there are so many needs, I’m reminded that we aren’t alone in our efforts to serve and help and love.

The reason we’re even going to South Asia and North Africa is the very reason I know it’s ok to leave South Louisiana right now – as the Body of Christ, we work together, in every part of the world, for His glory. We aren’t isolated in our service, but we join forces with brothers and sisters who are united under one banner and one goal – to carry out the Great Commission.

Pray for our team as we travel over the next two days to our first destination. Pray that our meetings are productive and Spirit-led. Pray for the workers we encounter and the people we meet along the way. And pray for those in South Louisiana who are devastated by this flooding.