I usually don't have posts where I directly talk about what God has been doing in my life. But sometimes, like now, there is just no better way to give God the glory than by simply telling the facts just the way they are, without any kind of fictional embellishments. ;) So get comfortable, 'cause this story, this real story, is a bit on the long side...
For many years now, I've been led to go on a mission trip. When I was younger, I had this dream (yes, an actual dream) of going to Africa, so I always thought God wanted me to go there for a mission trip, and who knows, maybe someday I still will. :) But this summer the Spirit really put a burden on my heart to go on a trip this year. I had no idea where to start or who to go with since I'd never been on a mission trip before let alone overseas! My prayer was, "Ok, Lord. You're just gonna have to lay it all in my lap if You want me to go somewhere." Well, I have some friends in Chicago who go on medical mission trips periodically with an organization called Operation Renewed Hope. I was talking to mom one day about wanting to go on a mission trip and how I was being more burdened about it, and she suggested that I ask these friends if I could come along. This month will be 7 years since I've seen the family, and I've kept in touch with one of the girls on and off over the years. So I send her an e-mail, but she doesn't respond. I'm also friends with her on FB and saw that she was on chat. I debated whether or not I should say 'hi' and I finally decided to go ahead and do so. She replied and said, "I'm so sorry that I haven't answered your e-mail, things have been busy. But we would love to have you come with us on a trip!" So, she starts giving me information about an upcoming trip to India which is in November; and I start looking into things such as getting a visa, vaccines, and other things I would need to bring along. Even though I started doing these things, I had no idea if this was where God wanted me to go. The trip alone cost $2700, and I had a little over half of that. That cost didn't include the money I needed for a visa, vaccines, a plane ticket to get to the group meeting place in the U.S., supplies, and a little extra in case of an emergency. So, I guess you could say I was sort of in a pickle. The finances were a big deal, and I knew that if God wanted me to go, He would provide. I continued to do research, especially with getting a visa since I needed to get it as soon as possible and already had my passport.
While I was working on that, there were little things I noticed. Such as reading a book which gave an example about a theologian who was from India; and who used instances showing how logic is basically the same in Western and Eastern countries, using India as the example for the Eastern country. Or when I talked to friends about the about possibly going, they'd say, “Oh, I've always wanted to go there!” Which I thought was pretty neat But you might be wondering what these incidents have to do with anything, and if you're like me, you'll tend to take things to the extreme. When I start to focus on something or think a lot about it, I tend to notice little things that related to what I thought about. For example, I would read a book and it would mention something that I'm focusing on (i.e. I want to go to the Philippines, so I automatically become more sensitive to that word), and then I would take that sensitivity as a 'sign' from God that that's what He wanted me to do. But by doing that, I would let my emotions get ahead of myself, and instead of doing something because God wanted me to, I would do it because I wanted to. And I didn't want to do that with this mission trip. So by the grace of God, I've been able to keep my emotions in check and just think of these “coincidences” as neat, but not necessarily a sign from God.
Anyways, back to the story. When it came time for me to purchase my visa, I had to make a decision. The visa cost $115 and this was a point of no turning back for me if I were to get the it. I cried out to God, asking Him for direction. Doubts filled my head. Here I was about to spend $115 on a visa which take me on a trip that would devour me of all my savings, every penny I had. Nor did I have most of the initial cost of the trip, much less all the money I needed for the entire process of the trip! How could this possibly be smart?!? I agonized and pleaded desperately with Lord, and He finally gave me peace about getting the visa. So I did. There was a minor setback when applying for it, but God worked it all out and I started telling friends and family about the adventurous trip I was going to embark on. I still had on idea how God would provide all the funds, just that He would. I get a call from my grandparents one day. It was one of those casual calls, the ones where you talk about what's been going on in your life. Anyway, after hanging up, I really didn't think much about it afterwards. A few days later, they call me back and say they want to help out with the trip by giving financially. I couldn't believe it! They didn't tell me how much they were going to donate, just that they'd send a check. So I waited, and waited....and when the check finally came in the mail, it was for $1000 dollars! I was amazed with God's goodness and provision! That left $1700 for the initial cost of the trip. I already had $1500, so I only needed a couple hundred more. About two weeks later, I had a friend's birthday arrive. I decided to call them up wishing them a happy birthday and all, and we get to talking about the mission trip for a little while, since I had been keeping them updated on how things were going. We hang up and later on that night, they send me an e-mail saying they would like to donate. I found out they were willing to give $300. I was in shock. I couldn't believe they wanted to help out financially! My heart was bursting forth with praise for God's continued faithfulness! So now that the initial costs had been covered, all that was left was the extra I needed for other expenses. It totaled to around $700. God had provided thus far, and I knew He would provide the rest. And He hadn't forgotten to show me the little things either. :D I started reading the book of Esther, and in the first sentence, guess what it says?
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) ~ Esther 1:1
As it turns out, there are only two places in the Bible where it mentions India. And the other place? In Esther too! Now that's pretty cool. A sign for sure! ;) I have also been able to meet a sweet girl who knows a family, not extremely far from where I live, who are natives to India! I would love to meet them, and I'm very excited to see what God works out there.
I continued to tell others about the trip and how God had amazingly provided. I was up late one night talking with another friend, and after mentioning my trip, she asked how much more I needed. I told her, and she said that she would like to donate her missions money for the month of September. I said, “Are you serious??” I had no idea how much she was going to send, but after I received the donation, I found out that her brother sent a check too! Together, they donated $175. And again, God showed me His awesome faithfulness in providing.
That's all the story I have so far, and I'm still in need of funds, but God has proven Himself to me time and time again. He will never fail to provide for our needs. Truly we can move mountains, little by little, inch by inch – faith the size of a mustard seed. It's not easy, but then, things that are worth it, usually aren't. So sit back and watch God work. I pray that what you've read above has blessed and encouraged you. This story isn't over yet by a long shot, and I'm excited to see what else God has in mind. May we continue to seek Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds.
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows ~Matthew 10:29-31