expect the unexpected
In the past two years, I have been on five mission trips. Before that, I had only been out of my own time zone one time. As a teenager, I said Lord here am I, send me. Send me and I will go. Sometimes we don’t realize the magnitude of our prayers and requests to a much later time in life. I could not have imagined at 16 what his sending me would look like. Back then I didn’t even really know what I was asking. I didn’t know very much about missionaries or mission trips. I just wanted more of God and less of me, whatever that looked like. As I got older, I thought less about being “sent”, but found I thought more and more of traveling. I have wanted to travel the world for as long as I can remember, and yet, at that time, I never thought it would be for the Kingdom. Just somewhere in my head I looked at travel as a vacation, exploring, or going off to find yourself. It is interesting how God starts to sow something in us, then we take it and run with it in our own way, often running ahead of God or taking it out of his hands completely. Overtime, hopefully, we realize that our hopes and dreams were placed in us by God and then when we give them back to him, he gets us back on course. When I was sixteen, I didn’t imagine that God would send me to the nations, and I certainly couldn’t have imagined that I would be in my forties, by the time I went. But I did have pieces of a God vision. And though, it was not a vacation, I certainly have come to know and understand myself in ways that I had not before.
As a young girl two places that were on my list to visit were Paris and Africa. I had grand ideas of walking the streets of Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower and sipping cappuccino in quant cafe’s. I imagined visiting Africa and going on safari and seeing lions, and tigers and bears… oh my. Okay , well lions, zebras, and giraffes. Anyway, I had grand ideas of what travel would look like and feel like. But more about that later. My traveling journey started in 2014. I was a youth leader at the time and our youth pastor was planning a summer mission trip to Haiti. Two of my own kids were going and people started asking me if I was going to go. I wasn’t keen on the thought of going to Haiti. In fact, I was downright scared at the thought of being in a place like that and so far out of my comfort zone. I was not putting two and two together, that my desire for travel may be a God given desire for the nations. But I did want to be obedient and finally prayed, asked the Lord should I go, and he said yes. 2014 was my “journey year” and I will blog about that in the near future, but for now, Haiti was the start of something big in my life. Haiti was amazing and life changing for me. (you can read more about that HERE) I was gone for a week and then I was back and changed forever. I was not back for very long when a good friend of mine ask me if I was going to go on the mission trip to England with our church in the fall. I said no, that had I just got back from a mission trip. I remember she smiled at me and I was wondering what she was thinking, then she said to me, maybe you should pray about it. So the next day, during my prayer time, I was like, okay God, should I go on the England mission trip? Sure enough the Lord’s response was, yes, I want you to go. I was shocked. I began to wonder what all of this meant. I really questioned what I heard, but when I asked my hubby about going, he too heard from the Lord that I should go. I was puzzled and perplexed, but walked in obedience and started to and plan and look for sponsors. The trip was to Betel in England. Once more I found the trip to be amazing and came back forever changed. After this trip, I began to understand that the Lord was up to something and that when I said “send me Lord” he took me seriously and was now answering my prayers. I began to realize that when I had asked him to send me, I had my own ideas of what that would look like. My dreams of Africa and Paris were not going to come packaged the way I thought. Oh boy, were they going to look different.
In the spring of 2015 I went on my third mission trip, back to Betel in England. This trip was my first trip as a Restoring the Foundations minister. I had had training the summer before and now my new skills would be used in a powerful way. My fourth mission trip was to Cameroon to train and teach Restoring the Foundations ministry. This trip would first take me to Paris. My first time in Paris was, yep, you guessed it, in the airport. I was in Paris but only flying through to Africa. Never did I think I would be only 30 minutes away from the Eiffel Tower (a lifelong dream to see it) and be in an airport on the way to somewhere else. Actually now, it is really funny. It makes for a good story. But at the time I was frustrated, disappointed, and even a little angry. I remember talking to God and saying, you didn’t tell me that this is how I would be in Paris. Then the Lord reminded me that I had prayed and asked…. send me! I will go! I want to go wherever you want to send me. Yielding isn’t always easy. In fact, it is almost never easy. Giving up our own ways can be painful. For me, it hurt to be sent. It hurt to give up my own preconceived ideas of what travel would look like in my life. However, I love the Lord with all my heart and what he wants matters more to me than my own ways of doing things. So I yielded, and these trips have meant more to me than any safari in Africa, or a hundred walks down the Champs Elysees could ever mean. I have made lifelong friends. I have seen people’s lives transformed. I have shared life and laughs with my fellow missions team members. The Lord just knows best. He knows what we need and what will make us more effective for our lives and for the kingdom. We just have to learn to yield and to trust.
I do still want to see Paris and the Eiffel Tower, but now I have laid it at the feet of Jesus. I said, “send me Lord” and I meant it. If he wants me to see Paris, someday I will. I am walking out my own humility and trust in the Lord. It is not always easy, but I do think it is always worth it. I also want to say that I have come to realize now that being sent takes many different forms. God doesn’t send us all to the nations. Sometimes he sends us next door or down the hall to our child. Personally in my life, I have been sent as a wife to a broken marriage, sent as a mother to raise children in God’s way and not my own way, I have been sent to be a friend to the friendless, and yes, I have been sent to the nations. I understand now that being sent can mean to Africa or to Walmart to give an encouraging word to someone who needs it. I would encourage you to go where the Lord sends you. I would encourage you to hold onto the prayers you have prayed and to the promises from the Lord, but to remember they sometimes come in a way we weren’t expecting to receive them. I encourage you to trust the lord with all your heart and yield your will to His. It may very well change your life, give you life long friends, help you see people transformed right before your eyes, and be the real happiness that you are looking for.
Be Blessed my friends,
If you want to read more about my mission trips click HERE