Monday, February 1, 2016

Called For Such a Time as This (Part 1)

February is here. 

The month that I have been planning for and praying for, for nearly a year. 
The month in which I take my first (ever) missions trip. 

We (Tim and I) leave in fewer days than I care to even think about, to go to Hinche, Haiti - a commune in Haiti, 2 hours or so from Port-au-Prince, home to about 50,000 people. 

We go to visit a people that we have supported prayerfully and financially for over 3 years. We go to see the faces of two young people that we have sponsored for the past 2 years to attend school. We go to minister to nearly 50 orphans and to serve a group of children who will probably never know the luxuries that our children (and we) take for granted every single day of our lives. 

We go to a country that is described as the "poorest country in the Americas". A place still recovering from an earthquake that happened nearly 6 years ago. A country known for political corruption, that even now is experiencing political unrest and uncertainty.

We are going to an area where running water and electricity are considered a luxury. 
We go during a time when a travel advisory exists for the entire country. 
And I'm so very expectant and hopeful for our trip. 
And I'm also very nervous and even scared at times. 

I feel like maybe I need to back up a bit. I just re-read what I had written and even to me it seems a little "cray-cray" (I'm sorry that I had to resort to using teenage slang there, it's just that I cannot bring myself to use the actually c-r-a-z.... I can't even finish typing it..... the word.... it just hits too close to the vest I suppose :)) 
I have known for years, and by years I mean probably decades that I needed and wanted to go on a short term missions trip. Since probably middle school I had had the desire to go, and it just wasn't the right time for me, for some reason or another. Once I got to college, the idea just kind of sat on the back-burner while I started life as a new wife and a couple of years later a new mother. Traveling across the world to "help other people" when most of the time I felt as though I could barely help myself not only seemed "cray-cray" but completely unrealistic. 

Eventually the desire to go, somewhere along the way, turned into a desire to definitely-not-go. I'm not sure when or why it happened but for several years of my life I was like "Nope. I'm good here. I have no problem praying and sending and supporting, but actually "going"...? I'm pretty sure that's not my gig." Like I said, I'm not sure when or why the change happened, but it was definitely there and it was definitely rooted in all types of insecurities, fears and anxieties that managed to pop up sometime during my twenties.

Even during this time, however, I did notice a few things that made me think somewhere deep inside of me that maybe one day I would still go. 

For example, I always cringed a little when the Matthew 28 passage came up (you all know the one, right?). The one that says "go". I would catch myself saying "Jesus said in Acts to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, they were from Jerusalem - I'm pretty sure I'm called to my Jerusalem, I'll be here, holding down the fort while others go out to Judea and Samaria." 

It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I started to realistically think about taking a missions trip again. I think I was preggers with our youngest, Titus, when the thought first crept into my mind. A thought, mind you, I quickly and emphatically pushed to the back of my mind and chalked up to crazy pregger hormones meeting a picture of a cute little kid with worn out clothing and sad eyes. 

I don't know the next time the thought popped back up, but I know that the second time it hit me, I couldn't shake-it-off as easily.

After awhile in order to appease the conviction inside of me, I remember coming up with an entire list of reasons why it was insane for me to even have the thought of going on a missions trip anytime soon:
- I was homeschooling 4 children, half of whom were still in diapers how could I possibly think about leaving the country to go to some impoverished-possibly dangerous- area of the world?!?! I mean, I'm a mom to young children, need I say more?!?! 
- I felt called to women's ministry and family ministries.... I enjoy serving in the office at church, I mean I clearly had my plate full of ministries here at home, no way I was also called to do missions.... right?!? 
- If I really did feel called to do missions work so badly, I should start right here at home, there is plenty to do right here in America. 
- I don't even have a passport! 
- I only speak english, and even speaking one language, I don't always do that well communicating. 
- I have a lot of anxiety 
- etc. 
- etc. 
Still, even with my rock-solid list of reasons I couldn't go. The desire never really left me. 

Then, two years ago, a small team from our church planned a trip to Haiti and while I knew that that was not "my" trip, the thought did cross my mind "maybe next year" Titus had just finished nursing and neither Tim or I were comfortable leaving him for that long, that far away. 

The following year (last year) as the next team started preparing to once again visit Haiti, Tim and I seriously discussed going, and we realized that it was not the time for us to go, it was a hard decision to make because by this time I KNEW I needed to go. I KNEW I was called to go. But Tim and I also agreed that this wasn't the time to go.... it felt like a weird decision to make but the timing was clearly not right and we both had a lot of peace in our decision. 

Strangely, however, as sure as I was that I wasn't supposed to go then, I knew before that team had even left on their trip to Haiti, that we would be going on the next trip. 
I can't explain how the Lord presses these things onto our hearts or how he makes us so certain of things without verbally speaking but it's a comforting feeling when He does. To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are doing what He's called you to do.... I wish every decision felt as sure as this one. 

So here we are, a year later, getting ready to actually "go" and I have a million thoughts swarming in my head. Most good. 
Most expectant and hopeful. 
Most are prayerful and peaceful. 
But some.... some are not. 
And that's okay. 
Because regardless of my thoughts, I know that God's working even now, even in what I see as uncertainty and worrisome. He's got it all under control. He's prepared me for this. He's prepared Tim for this. 

For this time. 
For this trip. 
For this moment. 

And He's prepared all the people that we will be coming into contact with. Nothing is outside of His power and His control. 

DISCLOSURE: The pictures I used are from Voice of Compassion's website, which is who we are partnered with and going with on this missions trip. 
I can't wait to be able to post my own pictures and share our experiences with you when we return!! 

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