As is often ventured, I was riding along with some other missionaries on the way to the airport. This particular trip, there were four of us in the vehicle. To protect these missionaries, I will refer to them in codenames. Missionary A was driving, Missionary B was riding shotgun, and Missionary C was in the back seat behind the driver. This leaves me in the back seat on the right side of the vehicle.
Now, as the trip went on, we uncovered some important facts from Missionary C.
- Missionary C did not sleep at all the night before.
- Missionary C ate some ice-cream and chicken alfredo throughout the night.
- Missionary C refused to take Dramamine to help avoid motion sickness.
We were just outside of Santa Rosa; we were just getting to the nice stretch of road leading up to La Entrada; we were moments away from smooth sailing; but then something happened that vastly decreased the quality of the trip.
Missionary C was battling sleep, and woke up suddenly. He held a quizzical but uneasy look on his face. As I watched from my side of the car, it appeared that Missionary C leaned forward between the two front seats as if he were going to tell the others a secret. And to everyone’s surprise, without warning, Missionary C projectile vomited into the front of the vehicle, mainly all over the back of Missionary A who was driving. The entire vehicle was in shock for a good 10 seconds. Then Missionary B, also doused by the vomit spray, questioned, “C, are you okay?” Missionary C had not moved, and responded by upchucking a second and third time on the floor of the vehicle. We drove for a few moments not knowing what to do. After we all had a moment to take in what had happened, Missionary A pulled over and we all disembarked the truck. Missionary A promptly found his suitcase to change shirts, Missionary B was the hero that cleaned up most of the vomit, and Missionary C helped as well but was still recovering from the shock of throwing up. I provided the paper towels and alcohol spray that I randomly decided to pack that morning, but was lucky enough to only help remove the seat covers from the vehicle.
We piled back into the vehicle and sat on edge, as far away from the vomit stains as possible. We rode the remaining 3 and-a-half hours with the windows down because, as you can imagine, the smell was putrid. Fast forward into the city of San Pedro Sula, we dropped off Missionary A and Missionary C at the airport and then it was just Missionary B and I. We hunted in unfamiliar territory until we found a car wash and when we got there we explained to the approaching worker, “Look man, someone threw up in here and it smells BAD. Can you shampoo the carpet for us?” They said, yes, but that it would be a bit. This means, it would be an hour or so. We tried to keep ourselves occupied. We went to a store nearby and came back. But all in all, we waited in the San Pedro heat for about an hour and a half so that the car would be cleaned. As the worker (may God bless him) finished cleaning the interior, I noticed that they didn’t have carpet shampoo and only used spray cleaner. After the hour and-a-half wait, the truck now smelled like Febreze on top of vomit, which did not mix kindly. We went to a new Wal-Mart that has just been installed (Yes, there is a Wal-Mart here!) and bought some carpet shampoo. That helped more than anything else, but the smell still lingered just enough to creep into your nostrils the rest of the 5-hour trip back.
Now here is the point of this story I shared with you.
Our ministries motto is “Come Walk With Us”. Sometimes when you choose to “Walk With” someone then you also have to walk with them through the sin, mess, and darkness. Sometimes you walk with someone even when they metaphorically throw up all over the car. When those we walk with sin, sometimes it affects all of us. You walk with them even though the smell is putrid, but you keep going forward. Sometimes you even clean up the mess for them because they are unable. But because of the importance of the call, you clean and don’t let it stop you from pressing on toward the goal that is Jesus Christ. You may be the one who gets thrown up on, or you may be the one doing the throwing up, but what is most important is that you keep helping each other and bringing people with you. We are not called to live in this world alone. We are called to live through the wretchedness, fear, and beauty of the journey. We are also called to bring more people to the family to celebrate the Father with us! So no matter how crazy and sick life may be, may your motto also be “Come Walk With Us.”