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A Bucket List Mission Trip Turns Into Full-Time Missions

A Bucket List Mission Trip Turns Into Full-Time Missions

Sara Marie Moore | Nov 20, 2014

 

Josh and Amy Edmonds had no idea what God had in store for them when they embarked on a bucket list mission trip to Belize in 2007.

  “My wife and I initially came on the first mission trip in 2007 as a bucket list item: Go on an international missions trip before we start to have children,” said Josh. The couple joined their home church from Raleigh, N.C. on its third trip to Belize with Praying Pelican Missions.   While there, a category five hurricane hit Belize. Their team was moved to a safe location and then redirected into hurricane disaster relief after the storm passed. They never made it to the church where they were originally scheduled to minister. While they enjoyed the trip, they decided that they hadn’t quite achieved the experience they wanted.   “We had an arrogant American missions idea in 2008: We didn’t get to do what we wanted to do in 2007, so let’s go again in 2008,” said Josh.   After that trip in 2008, Josh started getting hooked. “The people in Belize, the culture, the friendliness, the openness, drew me to come back,” he said. He returned in 2009. This time Amy was at home, pregnant.   While back in Belize, God impressed on Josh the importance of long-term relationships in short-term missions. “As one returns to a missions location or as one enters into a relationship and trust is built, the opportunity for ministry expands,” he said.   But For Josh, God wasn’t just calling him to come back every year: “It was on that trip that I felt the Lord call us to Belize, into missions and ministry,” he said.   Josh came home and shared his impression with Amy. She laughed and showed Josh her internet search history. God had been moving on her heart as well - she had been searching the internet for real estate in Belize while he was gone.   Josh had never considered being a full-time missionary before going on a short-term missions trip. Amy had been drawn towards it in the past. “It was something that the Lord had placed in Amy when she was younger, but her goal in life was to not marry anybody poor, so she knew she didn’t want to marry a pastor or a teacher,” said Josh. He had fit the bill as a pharmaceutical researcher.   But by 2009 both Josh and Amy knew God had something new for them. They continued going on short-term trips for a couple of years before moving to Belize in September of 2012.   It’s been an awesome ride and learning experience. “I’ve learned more about the country of Belize than anything I thought I knew when I came on a mission trip. I have a deep understanding of the country of Belize,” said Josh. They have learned “how to cook like a Belizean and live like a local.”   IMG_5319               For the Edmonds, moving to Belize means becoming like family with the local people.     Josh’s ministry role is threefold. He spends 60 percent of his time building relationships with PPM’s local ministry partners in Belize. He sits down with pastors, youth leaders, orphanage directors and school principals who will host mission teams from the USA. He hears their vision, prays with them and takes note of their needs.   He sees PPM as an aid to the local church, much like a wave on a rudder. “It’s a blessing to hear how we can come alongside these titans of ministry and serve them,” he said.   Another 30 percent of Josh’s time is spent planning logistics for and leading PPM mission trips. With his remaining time he engages in direct ministry in the local church. He teaches the youth in his local church and will occasionally preach on Sundays.   “In designing a trip it’s my desire that the team leaves a mission trip or a church with something that falls into one of three categories,” said Josh. He hopes one of these can be answered yes:  
  • Ministerial training: has the church been trained or equipped in a ministry that they desire to be trained and equipped in?
  • Vocational training: has the church been equipped in some way that they can continue on: sewing, small business training, etc?
  • Physical need: how have we met a physical need in a sustainable way?
  “One of my deepest desires was to create low financial investment construction projects,” said Josh. He encourages teams to raise $500 to do projects which will make a lasting difference. Recent examples include a team who built a chicken coop for 75 chickens. The chicken coop will enable this ministry partner to lower its food costs and to generate funds for ministry.   Another team built 12 bunk beds for children who did not have beds. One child, Lawrence, had cerebral palsy and was sleeping on the floor. “He told us we could not leave until he climbed up on the top bunk and we took his picture,” said Josh.   DSCN0631                       Lawrence is all smiles on a bunk bed a mission team built for him. He has cerebral palsy and had been sleeping on the floor.    The Edmonds enjoy the encouragement and refreshment mission teams bring them on the field when they visit. His home church from Raleigh, N.C. continues to visit each year. Josh leads 10 or more mission teams from the US a year and is able to get things his family misses from home. “Its nice to able to have people that come in and watch your kids grow up and love on the kids and love on our family, and just have fellowship and commonality,” he said.   Living in Belize has been beneficial for the Edmonds’ children. They now have three children: Madeline, 4, JoJo, 3 and Elijah, 16 months. Josh and Amy desired for their children to see beauty in people beyond the color of their skin and their racial background. This desire has been fulfilled through being missionaries.   “They so appreciate and really desire to learn about other people and other people’s culture, and what they eat, and how they play, and the language they speak,” said Josh. “Both our kids now speak Creole and Spanish. It’s been a blessing to watch them get a broader perspective of the world.”   IMG_6129               JoJo enjoys going to preschool alongside his Belizean friends.    The Edmonds would not say everything is easy. But they know God has called them to stand beside His church in Belize. “I would say that being a missionary is the most rewarding and most challenging thing that we have done as a family,” said Josh. “But we know just based on how the Lord showed up in very specific and tangible ways that we are where the Lord wants us to be. In times of discouragement we rely on that.”   IMG_6094               Madeline plays with her friends in Belize, embarking on the adventure of a lifetime with her parents.   For more information on how to become a PPM missionary, visit www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/employment.    

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