Edith’s greatest fear about going on her first international mission trip was that she would say or do something that would offend those she came to meet and serve. When the Lord placed it on her heart to go to South Africa earlier this year she wondered if she was too old, if the long flight would be too difficult and whether she would even be able do the work. At 83 years of age, Edith Lyle, an active member of Foothills Southern Baptist Church in Yuma, felt the Lord nudging her to go with Pursue Life Adult Ministry on a partnership mission trip with First Southern Baptist Church Scottsdale. She decided, when the Lord nudges you, you should go.
Edith’s husband Larry went home to Heaven just seven months ago. She and Larry traveled the states after retiring as teachers of public education. After Larry passed away, Edith began wondering if she would have a purpose in this new season of life. Still fearful, Edith stepped out in faith and asked if there was still space for her to go with the team to Pretoria, South Africa. To her surprise, there was more than enough room and all of the details fell into place. She took that as confirmation that it was right for her to go.
During her mission trip, Edith was surprised by driving on the other side of the road and seeing barbed wire around the homes in South Africa. She explained that people were very friendly and they would just stop and talk to her. She remembered the people would sing from their hearts, which made a great impression on her. She continues to keep in touch with some of the people she created relationships with through email. When we asked Edith about any struggles she faced on the trip, she said if there were any, the mission team made everything very easy.
The mission teams were kind, helpful and looked out for her in every situation. Edith explained that God taught her He is not finished using her, and He indeed has a purpose for her life. She has always had a love for people and now she knows her love reaches 10,000 miles beyond Yuma, Arizona to Pretoria, South Africa where she has new friends. She learned that a short-term mission trip is just right for her because she had the stamina to complete the trip but she plans to exercise between now and her next mission adventure. Edith just made reservations to join us on our Pursue Life Travel with a Purpose Caribbean Mission Cruise in 2019.
One of the team members commented that it was truly beautiful to see how the people of South Africa honor and admire the elderly. It was not unusual for the rest of the mission team to see a couple of young men or a group of people asking Edith to take pictures with her. The people called her Grandmum, which is a title of respect. The team will always remember Edith’s sweet smile as they gave her the attention she deserved. Interactions like these encouraged the rest of the mission team to give the elders in their lives the honor and kindness they deserve.
If God has called you to explore the idea of a mission trip, we would encourage you to say yes to the opportunity. You will not regret it. To learn more about Travel with a Purpose, contact Mona McDonald at (602) 346-2300.