I was browsing through previous blog entries, and cannot believe I didn’t write about one very important thing going on in my life! I am a member of a rather large church. Our pastor is Alistair Begg, whom many of you have probably heard of. Because of his true gift for teaching the Word of God, we have many people who attend. Being part of a large church has its pros and cons (more on that later), but one of the big pros is our ability to participate in missions work around the world. We send several short-term missions teams to various locations many times throughout the year. We have partnerships in Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Macedonia, The Czech Republic, India, and many more. When we send short-term teams, we generally send them to support our full-time missionaries.
A few months ago, a blurb was put into the bulletin about a short-term trip to Taiwan in “mid July.” As soon as I saw that advertisement, I knew I wanted to go. The problem, however, is that at my work, only one surgical technologist can be on vacation at a time. This is a necessary restriction as we need to be sure we have enough staff to perform surgeries and have the department continue to run smoothly. As I sat there in church, I thought to myself, “Vacation requests were due months ago. Mid-July… there is no way any weeks in mid-July are still available for vacation. Why didn’t they decide to do this trip before?” among other doubtful, disgruntled thoughts. The next day at work, I decided to look at our vacation calendar just for the heck of it. I was literally giddy with what I saw. The second and third weeks of July, as well as the fourth week which leads into August, were AVAILABLE! I was beyond amazed.
These feelings of joy and excitement were crushed a few weeks later. I went to the first official information meeting… the meeting in which we would get more details about where we would be going, what we would be doing, and the exact dates. I looked down at the information packet as it was handed to me and nearly burst into tears. Right there on the top in bold letters was the sentence:
Trip Dates: June 28th-July 7th
June 28th?!?!?! That is NOT mid-July. It took everything within me to stay for the rest of the meeting. I had to stop at Target after I left and literally started crying… IN TARGET! I just could not understand why I wanted to go so badly and why God would give me this desire and close the door in my face. Ever single one of those days was already spoken for at work. I couldn’t get approval to take even one day off to go on this trip! This “no” answer caused me to really examine my heart and motives. Why did I want to go so badly? Was that from God, or was I just desperate for something new and exciting? Did God have something else in store for me here? But really, why did I have such a desire to go? Taiwan had never been on my “places I want to go before I die” list. Asia itself has never been super high on my list. I had missed out on countless missions trips in the past, none of which affected me like this did. Finally, I just honestly gave my heart to Jesus. I prayed He would do one of three things. 1. He would take away my desire to go and make the disappointment bearable. 2. He would miraculously cancel the vacations of my co-workers, freeing up those vacation days (I know, I know, not the most selfless prayer in the world, but hey). 3. He would change the dates of the trip.
To make a long story short, we serve an incredible, amazing, loving, personal, powerful, and deeply involved God. He answered my prayers, even through my doubts. The dates of the trip changed to July 12th-21st. I got the approval from my boss, and I am GOING TO TAIWAN!!!! Praise the LORD!
Now, though, my faith is being put to the test yet again. I have to raise 2500 dollars. At first I was like, “Oh, that’s not bad at all!” After doing the math, though, I realized just how much money that really is. I wrote my support letter and sent it to family and friends. Looking at the numbers, I thought there was no way I’d be able to raise enough. I know God wants me to go on this trip, though, so I am trusting the money will come through. Even if I don’t raise the full $2500, I have some savings set aside and will be able to cover the rest. I don’t know why I ever doubt God. Recently, He has been absolutely blowing my mind with His ability to provide. I am not at $2500 yet. I am not even at 1000 as far as I know, but the amazing generosity of my brothers and sisters in Christ is flooring me. I was expecting donations of $10, $15, and $20. Instead, donations of $50, $100, #150, and $200 have been coming in from the most unlikely sources. I am blown away, humbled beyond belief, and blessed more than I can express with words. Even today, I opened an envelope to find a very sweet note from one couple I know. They were married a little over a year ago, and are expecting their first child in a month. I was not expecting them to give anything monetary, and was going to be thankful for their prayers. Instead, I was blessed with a check for $100!!!! I literally got tears in my eyes and I stared down at the check. HOW GENEROUS! And just the other day, a friend of mine asked how support was going. He isn’t the wealthiest person in the world. Hes just one year out of college and just getting on his own two feet. When he asked me, I felt guilty admitting I needed money. I told him even if he would just commit to pray for me, I would be SO blessed. Instead, he said he wanted to write me a check. Again, I’m expecting, at most, $15. When I looked at the amount, I saw a zero I was NOT expecting. $150!!! I was shocked. I texted him immediately to make sure there wasn’t a mistake. Again, I literally started crying (and am tearing up as I write this) to realize how richly God is blessing me through His people. At this point, I have my hands up in surrender to Jesus. It is CLEAR He is in this and He will provide. If this much cool stuff is happening before the trip even starts, I CAN”T WAIT to see what amazing things He is going to do through us on the trip itself.
I will leave you with the verse that has been on repeat in my mind all day, and the reminder of what a mighty God we serve.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)