Strawberry Candy

It was gone.

Nowhere to be found. Panic swelled within and quickly overflowed like magma from the local volcano.

The reason I love international missions is that it is incredibly honest and raw. It’s hard to be phony; completely impossible to maintain a false facade or keep a turd polished. What bubbles up is as pure as the driven snow.


The strawberry candy I had laid out on the teacher’s desk was gone and after a quick scan of the room, I was frantic. Most distressing was the fact that it was central to my lesson about Mary, the mother of Jesus. The whole morning hung in the balance.

“Must have been one of the kids,” I quickly assumed. I recall an earlier encounter with my Co teacher who warned me about keeping the door closed for fear of theft.

Youth are such easy targets, especially for an old fool like me.

“Tony!” I pleaded, as quietly as possible. “Someone’s stole the candy.” “Let me check. I’ll see who is eating candy.”

The week of lessons had gone so incredibly well. We experienced growth in both youth and adults each day. Everyone was enthusiastic, genuinely thankful, and loving. There was no reason for me to jump to this conclusion.

None. Nada. Zip. Zero.

Toy’s eyes scanned the crowd like he was back on the mound in Baltimore pitching for the Orioles.

My Spanish speaking Co teacher came over and began to speak with him, even as opening exercises were concluding. Tony called me closer, and smiled.

“The teacher just told me she hid the candy in the class room. She didn’t want it to be stolen.”

There it was. My sin, my biases, my stain hanging out for all the world to see. I had left the door open.

If I can’t polish it, I better fix it.

That’s what short term mission trips do for me. How about you?

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