(I’m still in Greece, so this post is from Kendra, a dear friend, an amazing photographer, a fellow blogger, and a sister in Christ … check out her blog, leave her a comment here, and join me in praying for her upcoming mission trip. Kendra, thank you SOO much for sharing your heart. I love you and am praying that you have an amazing trip to Peru and experience God in a whole new way!)
When Emily asked me to write on her blog while she was away in Greece I was stunned. My first thoughts were…“I don’t write, I blog pictures, so I’ll have absolutely nothing to write about”… well that’s when I was quickly reminded that I do write…and not only do I write, I LOVE to write. I may not be the best writer, and I know the way I write is totally the way I talk and that’s okay with me. So Emily, thank you for giving me the opportunity to let me share on your blog (she may never let me do this again!!).
Summer of 2003…
I was in a little church that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean in Marsh Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas. We had finished our final day of work and we were all circled up sharing how we had experienced God that week on our missions trip.
I remember sitting there and being mad at God. Mad that I hadn’t “experienced” Him the way I thought I should. There were probably 40 people in the circle and I was close to the end, so by the time it got to me I had NO idea what I was going to say. I’d had a while to sit and think about it, but the more I thought the more mad I became…I finally just started crying…crying because in those few short seconds between my best friend telling how she’d experienced God and my turn, God spoke to me.
In those few seconds I knew that He was telling me what He had wanted me to experience the whole week…He wanted me to experience the love He offered to those that didn’t know Him, He wanted me to experience Him at that moment, and
He wanted me to have a heart that breaks for what
His heart breaks for… and that meant the mission field.
I remember being scared to death that God had called me into something and I continued crying because I was simply amazed at how God shows up when you least expect Him to. I had wanted to experience something huge, something I could see and feel and do, but He had something totally different in mind for me. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
Eight years later…
I am still trying to figure out what God meant when he called me into the missions field. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve screwed up and didn’t really listen correctly or if I ignored something He’s wanted me to do along the way. But then I think back to all the opportunities and chances He’s provided, and I realize He has used me in the missions field…whether it be working an entire summer setting up workcamps for high school students to share God’s love all over the USA, helping to raise money to help fight cancer and fight heart defects in babies, traveling to Brazil and spreading God’s Word doing street evangelism in the poorest areas imaginable, working with youth who are from rough backgrounds, and now getting ready to head to Peru for two weeks to work with kids, build a church, and share God’s love on the streets.
There’s a good chance that I’ve missed out on doors that He’s opened and I decided to walk right past them, but I also know that His calling on my life to be in the missions field has and is happening. A good friend of mine reminded me last year during Bible study, when I once again started getting down on myself about not following God’s calling on my life, that He didn’t just call me to the foreign missions field…He called me to the missions field, and that can be not only foreign, but right in my own backyard as well. Whenever I think about disappointing God in His call on my life, I think to what she told me because she is totally right, and God has opened doors near and afar for me to be His hands and feet.
I know without a doubt that my heart breaks for those in other countries that haven’t heard of what Christ did for us…being in a different country and being able to be the hands and feet of Christ, and love on them the way Christ has loved me, is something I can’t even begin to describe. Yes, there are language barriers, but looking past that, God uses me somehow, through my bumbling and stumbling, to show Himself to those that haven’t yet come to know Him. Missions, whether local or foreign, mean a lot to me. God has let me experience Him in so many ways (and never how I expected it) and He never ceases to amaze me.
As I prepare to head Peru I have fits of “buyer’s remorse”…I say that because there are times that I’m like, “What on earth have I signed up for?”…but then there are times that I wish I could hop on a plane today to get down there and be Christ to someone. The specifics of our trip won’t all come together until after we land inLima. Our leader may plan one thing but then we’ll end up doing something totally different, and as much as that will drive me nuts, it makes me excited to see what God throws at me and my team.
I have been praying for this trip for months (it wasn’t always supposed to be a trip to Peru, we were originally heading to Haiti, but things didn’t work out). If I could ask one thing, it would be for prayer for my team…for our trip toPeru, for the entire time we’re inPeru, and then for when we return. I have seen the hand of the enemy many times on trips like this and because of that I know how important it is to wrap everything we do in prayer.
God is so awesome and I am always amazed at how He reveals Himself to me and I am looking forward to seeing Him, feeling Him, being challenged by Him, and experiencing Him.
If you made it to the end of this, thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. Emily, thank you again for this fun opportunity to write on your blog!! You are an amazing woman of God and one of my dearest friends, love you and hope you are having a blast in Greece!!
**All photos from Kendra’s 2003 trip to Peru**