So a weird thing happened today. We were supposed to have bible study tonight and I was supposed to give my testimony. I drove 3/12 hours from home and for a lot of the time I was praying about what I should say but I felt like no one would show up, but I wanted to make sure I was ready no matter what.
Some of them might include overcoming addictions or rising up against overwhelming adversity but ALL of them include running wildly after Jesus and loving Him and His people with every inch of your heart.
So here I am, broken, sinful, humbled and redeemed at the feet of my Father. Because the Bible is NOT about me, my redemption even is NOT about me, my testimony is about Jesus. So being insecure about how “great” my testimony is downplays Jesus and uplifts me. That is the opposite of what we’re supposed to do. So I have decided to make His name great and trust that HE is good (which He is).
Here we go. It’s long but bear with me.
I grew up in christian home and I lived a pretty “Christian” life. The first time I ventured beyond my own backyard was in 2005 to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I loved everything about new cultures and new places. This trip set the stage for my life today.
We then went on another trip the following year to Matamoros, Mexico. There was a guy on the trip who spoke Spanish and knew enough english to get by with me at least, who knew a little spanish. We had met a couple that day that explained to him why they weren’t dating, because the girl loved Jesus and the guy didn’t. The Mexican guy later told me the story in Spanish and English and we somehow figured it out.
I had such joy from this situation because it felt like for the first time, I was using something I had learned. Then my friend Amber said something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
“Maybe you’re called to Mexico”
The power of that statement still resonates within my heart today. That statement gave a little bit of my spirit away to missions for Jesus for the first time ever. When I thought about Mexico from then on, I thought that I would spend some time every year going on a trip and being a translator for mission teams. We went to Mexico again a year later and it was just as amazing as the first time. I loved the way my heart felt with those people.
It would be awhile before I left the country to serve Jesus again but it finally came after my sophomore year of college. One of my best friends at the time asked me to come with her to Kenya and Uganda for two weeks of my summer. Obviously I said yes immediately (sorry mom and dad).
Honestly, I didn’t think that God could teach me anything in Africa.
Haha. I’ll be honest when I say that I was an idiot. I thought that I was called to Mexico and that Africa would just be another notch on my mission trip belt. Ps…If you want notches on your mission trip belt, don’t go somewhere that’s 24 hours away.
God literally SHATTERED my heart on that trip in 2010. I have never in my entire life seen the kind of poverty that I saw there. I fell in love with every single child that I hugged and I have never felt the Spirit of God so thick…not even in Mexico. I started to become concerned. Then once again, a woman of God named Whitney Hill (at the time-now Koonce) said…
“God didn’t give me heart for a certain place, but for a certain type of people”
Like my Savior loves me so much. So I came back from that trip in awe of how big my Daddy was, in love with a whole new group of people and confused at what God had for my life.
But nonetheless I began planning my trip back to Africa for the following year. My junior year consisted of valleys and mountains, where I served God wholeheartedly and where I completely abandoned what it means to be a Christian.
Then at Passion Fort Worth 2011, I finally made the decision to serve God as a missionary full time, one day. I cried my eyes out and accepted that one day my life will probably be living in a hut with no internet access and a weekly bath.
I went back to Kenya in the summer of 2011 so anticipatory of a trip that I had been planning for literally a year. I was so excited to have my senses remember Kenya again. The sights, the sounds, the smells…it all came back so fluidly. I felt at home again. The second the plane landed, my exhaustion could not overcome my JOY of being where I knew God had me. This was easily the most intimate trip of my entire life and this trip made it very real for me of what life would be like if I lived here one day.
So let’s fast forward to December 2011. 6 months later. I’m sitting at my desk at Reynolds & Reynolds where I’m listening to a podcast and hearing about people around the world and then it hits me like a ton of bricks. God says very loudly and very clearly,
“I did not call you to be a missionary one day, I called you to be a missionary NOW. Prepare your heart to move to Africa as soon as you graduate”
In case you were wondering…I did start crying in my cubicle. Not a sad cry but a joyful cry, like a cry when you’ve been waiting to find out if your baby is a boy or a girl and you finally know and you’re so excited that you cry! Or when you want to know if you got the job or not and you get the job and you cry! See I knew that God had something different for my life than the life that He had for a lot of people I knew, but I had no idea what.
All my statements have turned from “will be” to “get to be”. I GET to live on another continent? I GET to tell people about Jesus? I GET to know all types of cultures and peoples? I GET to experience poverty and find joy in it? AH. I can’t believe that God loves me so much that He chose this life for me. This life that brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined for myself.
Your story may not have the exact same plot as mine but it has the exact same point. To bring Jesus’ name glory. He ADORES you. He LOVES you. He has the BEST plans in the world for you if you just listen to His timing.
Hebrews 6:19 says that Hope is the ANCHOR of the soul. Hope is what gets you through the rough patches, Hope is what makes you cling and Hope is faith in ACTION. Hope acts.
In awe of His love tonight,