Cheerful Giver.

This week, we were in our final (and my favorite) country: El Salvador. God has been so faithful to show me one overwhelming characteristic of Him in every country, and I am so thankful to know Him more. In El Salvador, I saw Him as a Cheerful Giver.

In the mornings this week, I was reading through 2 Corinthians for my quiet times. I also recently started a book called Praise Habit that one of my teammates brought (thanks Taylor!). David Crowder writes Praise Habit using a way to study Scripture where you read it, let it sink in, and create something from it. He goes through some Psalms and basically reads them, prays them through and writes them in His own words. They’re absolutely beautiful and moving. I loved this technique so much, that I decided to do it for myself. So, at the risk of being super vulnerable, here’s my writing of The Cheerful Giver passage in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.

“Pay attention – this is important.
Whoever gives little will get little.
Whoever gives without restraint, will gain abundantly.
Decide early in your heart of hearts to be the latter.
Don’t do it out of pressure or guilt, because then it’s all worthless.
God loves your happiness – He wants service out of joy, not force.
And God will help you – He so graciously gives you all you need, all the time,
So that your joy may be complete and good works will ceaselessly flow from your gratitude.”

My girl, Taylor, who let me borrow her book :) We were matching this travel day, so why not take a picture?

My girl, Taylor, who let me borrow her book 🙂 We were matching this travel day, so why not take a picture?

Little did I know, this piece of Scripture and meditation would follow me throughout my entire week. But that’s how it always seems to work, isn’t it?

This week, we worked with an organization based in the capitol of El Salvador, called RED. El Salvador has recently come out with new legislation, shutting down orphanages in order to reestablish children with their families. As good as this may sound on the forefront, it is terribly mistaken. Children who were abandoned in sewers, sexually abused, verbally abused and neglected by their parents are now being given back to those same families. So RED exists to help families and children cope with their new lives. It is an amazing organization, built on the foundation of Christ, that serves families in a really holistic way – providing them with counseling, food, shelter and education. Check it out:

We went to visit a family who is sponsored by RED early this week. The father is currently in jail for sexually abusing his 12-year-old daughter, who now has a child. The mother also has three other children. So now, there are 5 children under the care of a single mother. Thankfully, they now have sponsors and are under RED’s program and help. When we went to visit them, we were meant to clean up their yard and plant a garden for them. This sounds so little and minuscule to us in America, but it felt so weighty to me. The entire family watched (and helped!) as we gave them a life-sustaining garden. They were all eager to learn how to take care of this new gift and allow it to work for a long time. Giving them such a gift, brought inexplicable joy and hope to my heart. I was reminded of the passage of the Cheerful Giver and thought of how cheerful I felt in those moments, can you imagine God? Can you imagine how much joy He has as He lavishes gifts upon gifts to His children? Just thinking of that makes me smile. He withholds no good thing.

The family we planted a garden for, holding up their new seeds :)

The family we planted a garden for, holding up their new seeds 🙂

As most of you know, I went on this trip because I wanted to define a call to long term missions – seeing where the Lord wants me. I don’t think I got this flashing lights kind of answer, but God is always faithful to reveal what He wants, when He wants. I have seriously loved every country we’ve gone to, every ministry we’ve worked with and all the people we’ve met. But something about El Salvador was different. I just feel more comfortable there. I enjoy the culture. I enjoy the food. I enjoy the language. I somewhat fit in. It truly is amazing – how God can fit your passions and personality into exactly where He wants you to work for the Kingdom. I prayed earnestly this entire trip and before, that He might reveal His plans for my life to me. Blatantly. He didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted Him to. And I praise Him because He didn’t listen to my plans, He did something better. He showed me more of Himself than I ever could have hoped or imagined. He showed me His love and glory and work all over the world and I have been forever changed by it. And He’s shown me how I don’t have to have it all figured out just yet. So, here’s what I know: I have a passion for Latin America and would love to live there one day. But I also know that God has done a work and is doing work in every single country around the world, and I want to be a part of it. What that looks like, I don’t know. But I know that He will give me everything I need, when I need it, in order to show love and good works (see 2 Corinthians 9 yet again).

As I sit in air-conditioned, Chick-fil-a possessing, internet filled America, I cannot believe Global Journey is coming to a close. This experience has undoubtedly changed my view of God, my view of missions and my entire life. I’ve seen how God is constant, faithful, joyful, loving and persistent. He has so graciously given me glimpses of Himself and His character, I can only hope that just as Moses, I come away with my face aglow because of the glory and majesty of God.

We may be not so excited to be back in America, but we ARE excited for Chick-fil-a!

We may be not so excited to be back in America, but we ARE excited for Chick-fil-a!

 

I've never been so thankful for a group of people in my life. He gives such good gifts.

I’ve never been so thankful for a group of people in my life. He gives such good gifts.

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Persistent.

I’ve been on this trip for 45 days. I’ve spent 10 days in 4 countries, not including multiple other countries where we’ve had layovers. I’ve seen the same group of 11 people every single day. And even when I’ve been tired, weak and low, God has been persistent in His efforts to win hearts of unbelievers and remind my heart of how good He is.

This week we were in Slovenia – a tiny country in Eastern Europe. It is breathtakingly beautiful here, but the hearts of people are cold toward the Gospel. It’s a very spiritually dark place. While we’ve been here, our main goal was to evangelize through giving people pamphlets with the Gospel message in the Slovene language.

Typical. No big deal.

Typical. No big deal.

This has been an all-around exhausting country. I mean, the entire country is hills and mountains. So in order to get this literature to people’s doors, half of us were walking, the other half biking, multiple miles a day. We would do this in the morning, come back and eat lunch, then have an activity in the afternoon. One day, we went rafting in the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen [know that scene from the second Narnia where the big river monster thing comes up and they defeat him? That’s shot in this river in Slovenia], and another afternoon we went canyoning [look it up, it’s pretty extreme, I know].

The crystal clear water we kayaked in!

The crystal clear water we kayaked in!

Slovenia... can't stop, won't stop.

Slovenia… can’t stop, won’t stop.

  • The first few days of our time in Slovenia, we were in a city called Idrija. We met a local missionary there and some Slovene believers – the ONLY Slovene believers in the entire city. Our plan was to go pass out literature every day, but God had other plans. It rained. And rained. And rained. No one was outside, so there weren’t opportunities to evangelize. But God is persistent. His work isn’t undone by some droplets of rain. Instead of talking with unbelievers, we had the opportunity to speak with the 3 Slovene believers for 3 days. It was such a blessing to them. We played basketball, went to dinner and just did life with them. We prayed for them and worshipped together. My heart was so broken for them; I can’t imagine not having a church family or ANY other believers to encourage me in such a dark place. God knew just what they needed. He knew their hearts were aching for fellowship and He gave them exactly what they asked. He’s persistent in His efforts to bring us joy.
Rainy in Idrija

Rainy in Idrija

  • As I mentioned earlier, the “honeymoon” phase of this trip is over. This country is some hard work. Good and needed work, but hard. As I was walking multiple miles every morning, persistence was a constant theme. Persistence in the physicality – just keep walking. Persistence in communication with the Lord. Sometimes it was easier to let my mind wander to home, to family, than to pray about each pamphlet I was handing out. But no matter how weak and tired I was, Jesus always came in with His perfect touch of comfort, strength and persistence. It was only His hand pulling mine that got me anywhere in this country.
  • Lastly, I did this little thing called canyoning. Joe, the missionary here, has a ministry with canyoning and rafting. He takes groups out and teaches them about Jesus while they’re stuck on a boat with him. What an awesome ministry! Joe’s been doing this for 14 years, so he’s basically a pro at it. I had never heard of canyoning before this trip, so you probably haven’t either… just look at the link below. Haha 🙂 Basically, canyoning is going down a mountain through all the natural slides and caves and what not. It’s absolutely amazing. But man, was it difficult. First off, you’re wearing like 10 pounds worth of gear, all over you. Then you do this little HIKE UP A MOUNTAIN for 45 minutes. Y’all. I have never been so bad at something in my life. As we’re walking up, I literally got to the point where I was stopping every 5 steps to breathe. It was such a defeating and frustrating feeling. I was crying, so angry at myself for stopping, when one of my friends came to pray over us so we could make it up the rest of the way. Right then, my focus changed. Every step, I took in Him. Because Jesus never quits giving encouragement, once my mind was stayed on Him, it was at rest. We made it up. Barely. But we made it. Then the real fun began…  jumping and sliding down natural waterfalls kind of fun. The whole thing took about 3 hours. 3 hours of pushing yourself – physically and mentally. We had so much fun and seriously, there is no one I would have rather done something like that with than my team. I love these people with a fierce love from the Lord and am so thankful for them. I know it sounds like it was just a bunch of daredevil fun, but really, God taught me a lot. I think He does that a lot when we’re physically tired and can barely do anything on our own. He taught me how at my lowest, when I feel tired and weak, not only is He persistent in his fight for me, but he gives me the ability to be persistent – to combat whatever is in front of me. A mighty fortress is our God.

Here’s a link for canyoning; this isn’t my team, but it’s with the same people that took us.

 

A beautiful waterfall we saw on one of our walks

A beautiful waterfall we saw on one of our walks

So here in this 4th country, after 45 days on this trip, the same 11 people filling all of those days, God has given me amazing persistence in all circumstances. I’ve clung to Him and His strength because I have found that I am completely and utterly useless on my own. His goodness and grace overwhelm me every day.

For His Name,

Amelia

Resilient Joy.

My sweet friend at a Ugandan church

My sweet friend at a Ugandan church

I’m still kind of in awe that I am sitting in Africa as I write this blog. Ten days apparently hasn’t been long enough to even process which country I’m in, so let me just start off by saying sorry if this blog is jumbled with thoughts. But here’s a clear thought for you: GOD IS SO JOYFUL and I am so thankful.

Here in Uganda, we have been working at Lulwanda Children’s Home which houses about 100 orphans and is a school for those 100, plus children from the surrounding community (if they find themselves wealthy enough to afford the $150 school fees). This orphanage is so beautiful, mainly because of the people here. When these children grin and I see their beautiful white teeth against coffee brown skin, I see the smile of God. We have been doing various things around the orphanage, like painting the school, hanging mosquito nets, filing and of course hanging out with some awesome African children.

Just like in India, I have seen how a characteristic of God has fought for its place. What I mean is that sometimes it’s easy in America, in the comfort of our $400,000 house, with our families surrounding us and a huge personal meal that could probably feed an entire family for a full day, to say that God is loving or God is JOYFUL. But God is so much bigger than our thinking. Because in the middle of a dirt road, with some chickens and cows a few feet from me, surrounded by children who have been orphaned by aids or war, God showed me how He is resiliently JOYFUL. He shows His joy despite circumstances. You really see what joy is when you are in a circumstance where nothing tells you to be joyful. Nothing shows me the joy that Jesus gives quite like seeing those beautiful brown eyes squint when they smile,  remembering the unbelievable tragedies each of those eyes have seen.

Jesus is resiliently joyful, let me tell you about it.

From a hike we took on the weekend :)

From a hike we took on the weekend 🙂

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.”

Psalm 66:16

  • For the first half of the week, it was just my team working with the missionaries and the children’s home here, but we were expecting another team of 19 to come in for the second half. I was extremely happy about this second team. One of my dearest friends is on this team. And the morning her team came in, I just couldn’t sleep. Kenzie and I have been friends for a few years now, and I know and love her heart for missions and for Africa especially. I couldn’t wait to see her, because I missed her, but also because I longed to see her in her element – the place God has called her to be. When I saw her on Monday morning, we just ran and hugged for a good minute, both crying, and laughing because of the JOY that we felt. I know it may sound corny, but there is no joy like knowing you are where the Lord has called you to be. And for at least this summer, the Lord has specifically called Kenzie to Uganda for a month, and me for ten days. And I am so thankful for the joy God has given me in these few days that we have overlapped here. He knows just what we need, when we need it and He withholds no good thing.

    My wonderful friend, Kenzie!

    My wonderful friend, Kenzie!

  • The team that Kenzie traveled with is led by a couple named Mike & Mary. They have been coming to Uganda every year for many, many years. They support this school so much, bringing in books and desks and chairs every year, really blessing these kids. This year, Mike became very ill about 5 weeks before they were scheduled to leave for Uganda. Neither him nor Mary ever faltered in believing that God would heal Mike and he would be able to travel to Uganda. Well, you guessed it… the man that couldn’t even hold a fork a month ago, is now in Uganda, loving and serving a healing Lord. If that’s not enough to make you joyful, wait until you hear what the children did for him. The first day that Mike was coming to the orphanage, the kids put on a “Hallelujah Day” because God answered their prayer to heal Uncle Mike and bring him to Uganda. We walked up to mass JOY. The children were lining the road and as we all walked between them, they sang their hearts out and threw flower petals, lavishing us with love and smiles. I was in tears. Like, ugly tears. Like, face-contorting, can’t-handle-yourself tears. Here are these hundreds of children, who have had everything the world says is important taken away from them, praising without restraint the God who healed their friend and brought him to Uganda. This kind of joy is contagious. This kind of joy is supernatural. This kind of joy is resilient.
  •  My all-time favorite moment of Uganda was during the Bible study put on by Mike & Mary (and Kenzie)’s team. Their team brought Bibles to give to the community children at the school (the children that live at the home already have Bibles). I had the opportunity to pass out the Bibles to these children.

THEY ACTED LIKE WE WERE HANDING THEM GOLD.

I wish everyone could experience the joy that overwhelmed the room. The second that the Bibles entered the classroom, everyone was instantly silent, watching and fidgeting in their seats, knowing that a Bible would soon be theirs. As we handed them out, one by one, I watched these children’s faces explode with joy. They instantly opened it and started reading out loud. All of them. Different passages. Any passage, really. They flipped the pages, held the Bible close to their face, showed their friends and literally treated it like it was the most important thing in the world.

BECAUSE IT IS.

Beautiful conviction like no other, swept over me in that moment. I just wanted to hold my own Bible. Hug it. Feel it against my face. Act like it is the most important thing in the world. But what you and I usually do, is buy 4-5 Bibles of different translations, allow them to collect dust in our houses, occasionally reading our favorite and maybe even applying it to our lives, but we don’t cherish it. We don’t. We’re not even close. We’ve missed the mark. But as we choose to aim for the mark again, and shoot as straight as we can, God promises so much joy when we hit the target. When we find that he is the ultimate treasure of our lives, and nothing else – like a house or a family or even a meal – matters, we find where the fountain of true joy lies. And it’s with Jesus Christ.

This joy that comes with knowing Jesus is overwhelming. It’s real. And it is resilient. It will blast through all circumstances and transcend all time. It will be our companion on earth, and follow us into eternity. This joy is a characteristic of God himself, and if you find it, it will do nothing but stir your affections for Him.

My friend, Fatuma, with the chick that she named Millie after me. :)

My friend, Fatuma, with the chick that she named Millie after me. 🙂

For His Name,

Amelia

Unreserved Love.

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My beautiful Sharda 🙂

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Taj Mahal is legit y’all.

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My girls: Diyo & Kamla

Diyo put a henna tattoo with "R&M" in a heart that stands for Ryan and Millie :)

Diyo put a henna tattoo with “R&M” in a heart that stands for Ryan and Millie 🙂

Hey friends! This was one of the best weeks of my life, spent at an orphanage in Kota, India. Honestly, this was the leg of the trip that I was looking forward to the least, but that just shows how foolish I am. God has shown me so much of himself through these kids and my time here. The wonderful characteristic that God showed me this week is that He is love with no reserves, constraints or conditions.

The orphanage here holds 500 children. I’ve had to repeat that to myself every day… 500 homeless, parentless children. Ponder that for a moment. I’m sure if you do, you’ll wonder why I chose to describe God as loving instead of the countless other words for God. But that’s the beauty of it – He is light in the darkness. Shelter in the storm. Happiness in the sadness. Love in any and every circumstance.

I want to share my favorite moments (and moments I saw love):

*When we first got here, I was wondering if the kids would be a little shy, maybe take some time to get used to us… boy, was I wrong. I walked out of the door and the first kid that saw me came running to me screaming, “Auntie!!!” [side note: they call people of respect Auntie and Uncle, I have SO learned to love the name]. I saw God in that first child. I saw how happy she was to just have a bit of my attention. A look, a hand to hold… that’s all she wanted. Even though everything in me wanted to feel so bad for her, for the tragic life she’s had to live, she didn’t need me to feel bad for her, she needed me to be happy with her. To love her as her heavenly Father does. So I smiled and hugged her and thanked God because I only love because He first loved me.

*Here in India, it gets to be around 100-105 degrees in the heat of the day (I am suffering with you, Texas). It is a total desert. After sitting in church one night (no doubt sweating our butts off), we walked outside and felt drops of rain. Y’all. It was like madness. We had dinner waiting for us on the table, but dancing in the rain called our attention first. Everyone in the nearby vicinity had their eyes glued on these crazy Americans who were dancing wildly in the rain. We all laughed at the thought of them thinking this is what we normally do in America… haha. We were just so happy for the gift of rain and wanted to praise our Gift-Giver in joy. Why am I not this easily pleased in America? Why does rain usually make me cringe and run for cover instead of enjoy and praise its Creator? I need to love (and recognize) my God, my Redeemer, my Jesus, at all times, in every circumstance.

* When we were told that there were 500 orphans, I thought from the beginning: I can either make small relationships with 100ish kids, or go deep with a few. I decided to go with the latter and I am so thankful. My best friends this week were girls named Diyo, Sharda, Kiran, Solum and Kamla. I spent all week with them – in their rooms doing hair and make up, outside playing games and I sat with them at church. I can’t even begin to explain to you how giving these kids were. They have hardly anything, but they gave me everything they had. I never went a minute without one of my girls fanning me when I was hot (i.e. all the time), combing my hair, giving me henna tattoos or touching my face and calling me a princess (Diyo even popped a pimple on my face – that’s love). I thought I was here to serve them? I thought I was here to show them God’s loving nature, not the other way around. Not only is he unbelievably loving, but he is full of surprises. A perfect example of the loving and giving nature of these orphans is the second to last day of our time here, Diyo told me and “Ryan Uncle” (another guy on my team) to come over to their room after dinner for a surprise. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When we opened the door, it was like a party thrown just for us. The whole room had put in ten rupees (their money) and bought us a package of cookies, bread, candy and a coke. THE WHOLE ROOM PUT IN TEN RUPEES TO BUY US STUFF WE IN NO WAY NEEDED. It made me sick to my stomach to have such undeserved treatment. God gives. And gives. And gives. And we don’t deserve any of it – these girls GET that. They give with no reservations or second thoughts. And it is unbelievable. Why don’t I love like that in the States? Why don’t I throw my money into gifts for people just to show them God’s love? Why don’t I take time to invest in those around me? Why don’t I treat people as valuable?

[big big side note: When we walked into the room, we had JUST eaten dinner and were not hungry at all. Of course, we would eat some to be nice, but we kept begging the kids to eat some too. They totally declined and actually resorted to STUFFING our mouths with food. They would say, “Auntie dance!” and as I’m dancing, they’d literally open the candies and shove them in my mouth. At one point, I had 4 candies in my mouth and 2 cookies coming at me from children. So, logically, I knew I couldn’t handle all of that and they weren’t going to stop, so when I turned around in my “dance” I spit my candy out and put it in my skirt . When we had finally ended the night and I got back to my room. I unloaded 6 candies and 2 cookies from my skirt. Haha. It was the only way to survive. 😉 ]

All this to say, I spent a week with 500 grateful and happy children who have had seemingly everything taken away from them, but are still joyful in the Lord who gives exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. They have taught me how to love – and love fiercely. I will never be the same. I have learned so much about my lovely Savior, and for that, I am ever thankful.

P.S. The Tajmahal is really all it’s cracked up to be. Just, wow.

Uganda, here we come!

For His Name,

Amelia

 

Constant.

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My team and I have been in Hong Kong for 7 days now, and oh man, how I can see that my Jesus is constant. In every time zone, in every country, in the midst of every people group, Jesus is constant. He is a constant comfort, a constant friend & a constant joy.

Here in Hong Kong, we are taking suitcases full of Bibles across the border of HK into China. China does print Bibles, but 70% of them are exported and the amount actually given to the people is quite insufficient for the growth rate of Christians among the Chinese. House churches are much more prevalent than the actual “registered churches”, and only registered churches are able to (sometimes, maybe, if they’re lucky) get Bibles. All this to say, this ministry is so necessary and wonderful. I am thankful to be a small part of what they’re doing. So far (we still have 2 more days), my team alone has taken in around 1,600 Bibles. That’s 1,600 people who might just have a reaction like this:

I want to share with you a few of my favorite moments in this country and the ways I’ve seen that Jesus is constant.

* So, they tell us in training for this Bible run thing that it’s pretty unlikely we’ll be stopped by the Chinese guards, but even if we are, what we’re doing isn’t illegal. The government just doesn’t like too much of anything going in because they think you’ll make a market out of it. So, they told us if we were stopped with Bibles, they’d just tell us to take some out and we could go on with our day. Well, guess who gets stopped the very first time? Your homegirl… me. Immediate thoughts: did I not pray enough? What did I do wrong? How did I stand out? Why me? Little did I know, God had his own sovereign plan that I was able to be a small part of.

When I was pulled over, the guard told me I could take in 10 Bibles only. So, as I’m taking out my “excessive” Bibles, he bends down and genuinely (not in an interrogating tone) asks, “why are you doing this?” I told him: “Because it changed my life and I want to share it with other people.” I asked if he had ever read it and he nodded his head. I assured him there is truth in it, but then we had to part ways. I was/am so burdened for him in my spirit because I really believe he is searching for truth. Even in getting stopped by the guards, a “failure” in some peoples’ eyes, Jesus was at work in sharing truth with this man. Pray for him, church. He is loved and pursued by the Holy Spirit and hopefully one day we will see him in the Kingdom.

So, Jesus is constantly at work, even when we think we’ve failed.

* The ministry doesn’t do runs through the border on weekends, so on Saturday & Sunday, we had team time to do what we wished. On Saturday, we went to a beautiful waterfall in another city. It took us about 45 minutes (and lots of sweat) to hike up to the waterfall, but oh my how it was worth it. God is a really beautiful artist. The water was so clear and there was a base at the bottom of the fall where we could swim. We all loved the (freezing) cold water after such a long hike! But what was amazing was we sat at the base of the waterfall and sang worship songs. I remember specifically singing Revelation song. Singing the words “with all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings, you are my everything, and I will adore you”, with the sounds of birds, insects and a roaring waterfall in the background was such a reminder that God is constantly worshipped by his handiwork. Whether in America, or in a waterfall in Hong Kong, he will be praised.

* On Sunday, we went to church with one of the full time missionaries here. Again, we traveled about 30 minutes to another city, close to the bay of HK. I was NOT expecting what happened while we were there. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced the spirit of God in such a powerful and jaw-dropping way. I watched as people filled in the rows – people from all over the world, with different colored skin and different languages. It was a beautiful (tiny) picture of what heaven will be like. Then, we started worship. And immediately, the tears fell. It was so beautiful. The songs would start off in Chinese, and people all over the room would sing out and raise their hands to God. I had no idea what they were saying, but it was beautiful. Then, the song would have the same two or three verses in english. Well of course, I start SOBBING because I now know WHAT they’re singing. I cannot explain to you the beauty that I experienced but let me encourage you, Church, the same powerful, wonderful, majestic Jesus that you see in the states, is the same here. He is constant.

* Lastly (I know this is long), I have had to deal with the death of a loved one this week. Sunday morning, my mawmaw passed away. She lived a long, happy life, loving her Savior and I am so happy for her to be walking the streets of gold, but death is not easy thousands of miles away. You instinctively want to cling to your family, but I couldn’t. And although they seem harsh, I was comforted with the words of Jesus when he says, “let the dead bury the dead, follow me.” (Matthew 8:22). Follow me. So I chose to do just that. I chose to follow Jesus, seek his comfort, and let the dead bury the dead. My mawmaw is on her face glorifying our Maker right now… the last thing she’s concerned about is me at her funeral, what flowers she’ll have or what the food will be. But what she is concerned with, is missions. Seeing more people come to know and love Jesus Christ is all that matters. In the midst of it all, He is a constant comfort.

 

I love y’all so much. Thanks for bearing with me through a long and full blog post. I am thankful for all that I’ve learned in just 10 days of being on this journey. Your prayers, support and encouragement mean the world to me. Talk to you next week in India! 🙂

For His name,

Amelia

Faithful.

I’ve decided to name my blogs with a word that describes how God has shown himself most prominently to me. Each blog will have a different name for the Lord that will summarize his overwhelming showings of his characteristics to me during the recent time period. So, today, May 16th, just 19 days before this Global Journey begins, I want to tell you about my ever-faithful Jesus.

 

I heard about this trip in September of 2013 and was signed up to go that same month. Since then, I have been fundraising the $8,000 that is needed in order to go. I’m sure this sounds like quite a feat to anyone, and it was to me as well, but it seemed possible. I had raised $4,000 in 6 weeks last spring, so $8,000 in 8 months did not seem troubling. Yes, it would be hard, but I was unwavering in faith that my God would supply all my needs in Christ Jesus.

Now for the truth; it’s easy to say that I had unwavering faith and trusted God to supply all my needs. What is not easy to say is that my so called “unwavering faith” began to shake. A lot. Funds weren’t coming in. People that I thought would give, didn’t. Money that I thought I would make, I didn’t. And as foolish as it was of me, I doubted. I wondered if God had called me on this trip in the first place. I wondered if I rushed into this. I wondered if this was my “sign” to not go – to stay in America this summer like everyone else. As all these thoughts rushed through my head and I became so overwhelmed with the daunting thought that maybe I wasn’t supposed to go on this trip, I prayed that God would show me. Isn’t that the prayer we all pray? Just show me. Show me what you want from me. Show me what my next move is. Show me what you’re up to. It’s what we all want; we want to know what sort of plans HE has so that we can make our own. Too bad God isn’t one to lay out his blueprint for us, huh?

So, as time went on, I knew that I had a $5,000 deadline approaching in March. Basically, if I didn’t have that $5,000, it was all over. And you know how I felt about that? Embarrassed. I thought about telling everyone: “Sorry, I didn’t raise the money, so I can’t go” and seeing their faces fall. What would people think of me? What would they think of God? I had been claiming that God would come through for me, but what if He didn’t?

But He did.

OF COURSE, He did.

And it had NOTHING to do with me.

Who am I to care what man thinks of ME? Who am I to doubt the faithfulness of my God? I put this journey in my hands – in my faulty, crooked hands – and claimed that it was in God’s. If I truly believed the Lord had it, I never would have had the thoughts of what man thought of me. I never would have doubted. I never would have been fearful.

The beauty in it all is that it WAS in God’s hands, whether I acted like it or not. And He did it. $8,000 was given by the most gracious, God-fearing people. Most people that gave to my trip, I haven’t said more than five words to. PEOPLE THAT DO NOT KNOW ME GAVE ME MONEY. That will never make sense to me. And I think that’s the point. Because you know what? I can claim NOTHING from this whole experience. Even if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to say I had any part of this. It was Jesus. It is Jesus.

So Church, I am thankful for these past 8 months. They have been SO trying, but I am thankful for them. I am so expectant of all that God will do on this trip and I am excited that I get to share my journey with you. Thank you for being the Bride of Christ, showing up and adoring Him with me. He is wonderful, beautiful and FAITHFUL.

 

For His Name,

Amelia