And this is how it happened.
I’ve never had a heart for missions. It’s with pain I say that because it’s something I’ve always longed for. Many people just yearn to travel overseas or even around the states to reach out to others and have life-changing experiences. But I don’t.
It’s not that I’m scared to go—I traveled across Europe for four months. It’s not that I don’t want to serve people—I love serving at home. I think it’s that I never want to go for the wrong reasons, and in the midst of seeing all the wrong, I overlook the right.
I’ve been raised to firmly believe in salvation by faith, not works. Though I know God calls us to serve His kingdom, I’ve never wanted to get wrapped up in feeling like I must go on mission trips in order to be “good.” So often I haven’t gone at all. I never wanted to join the fad of missions—going somewhere just to come back with emotional stories and touching pictures. I didn’t want to go for me. But because of my mindset, I haven’t gone for Him either. And that’s not right.
It’s been a struggle for me as long as I can remember, this internal tug-of-war between wanting to be called to go somewhere by God and wanting to just hop on a plane and let Him take care of my heart. Some people say pray about everything. Some people say just sign up and go. So I’ve mainly done neither.
When the sign-ups for Spring Break Campaigns began last semester, I didn’t even think about them. I had signed-up to go on one my freshman year without any of my friends (because obviously that would be going for selfish reasons…), but after attending a few months of meetings, I felt an uneasy lack of peace and backed out. That situation ended up being a blessing from the Lord—I was needed at home that week—but it scarred me from wanting to sign up for an SBC again.
So when the hype of SBCs revved up after Sing Song ended this year, I found myself disappointed when I heard all the great friends of mine who were going—especially the ones going to Honduras. When I heard the list of people going on the trip, my jaw dropped, and I thought, What a fantastic group of people. It was only less than a day or so later that Kayli, Hanna, and I went to Chick-fil-A with Sarah, one of the trip’s leaders. I jokingly asked her, “How cool do you have to be to go to Honduras?” Kayli agreed with me, we laughed a little, and Sarah immediately said, “Well, we have two spots open.”
That’s about the word that ran through my mind. Looking back, I think I knew right then that those two spots were ours. It was too clear, too perfect. So what did I do? I shut down with a quick “no,” having no hope that I could get the money in time and not actually wanting to go on the trip anyway.
But Kayli said yes. Right then, her face lit up, and I could see the wheels spinning in her head. It irritated me. How could she instantly be open when I was closed off? How could she have the confidence that God would provide the way when I didn’t even really want Him to? It wasn’t fair. And the disappointment sat with me for the next two days as she confirmed her decision and claimed a spot on the trip.
It was a confusing disappointment because it lingered even as I kept telling myself I had no desire to go. How could I be sad about missing out on something I didn’t want to do anyway? It didn’t make sense, and that frustrated me even more. What was worse was that every last penny for Kayli’s trip appeared the next day. It turned out she had leftover money from a scholarship as well as a gift from her home church’s missions fund. While I grew more excited for her, I grew more sad for me and more frustrated with God.
I thought about it more as I brushed my teeth late Thursday night. This thing had bugged me more than I expected, and it had been a few days now. It bugged me so much that, with toothpaste in my mouth and toothbrush in hand, I walked into Whitney’s room and said, “How come Honduras fell right into Kayli’s lap, but it didn’t for me?” After I’d rinsed the toothpaste out of my mouth, we ended up having a lengthy conversation about my mission complex, about how maybe God just wants me to make decisions and go without receiving a bold sign from Him every time. Maybe He wants me to begin taking leaps of faith. As the conversation drew to a close, I was feeling less resentful and more willing to be open to missions in the future. Then Whit decided to add, “Well, if you’re interested in going, I think I heard Sarah say there’s still a spot open… And I think they may have extra money.”
That same “what” feeling came again. I think I may have said it out loud this time. At this point, how could I not pursue it further? I texted Sarah right then, and she said there was a second spot still. And when I asked how much it would cost, she simply asked how much I could pay. Overwhelmed at the quick turn of events, I brought the trip before the Lord that night, thanking Him for what He had already taught me and asking for deeper guidance in the morning. When the next day came, I called my mom and explained the situation. She let me talk for a long time before saying I had leftover scholarship money too.
Another “what.” I had no idea the money was there, nor did I expect God to provide for me in the exact way he did for Kayli. Though I had complained about it and asked Him for it, I still didn’t expect the Lord who Provides to provide so plainly. But He did.
So I’m going on this trip from a place of deep humility. Not perfect, Christlike humility, but with a heart utterly humbled by going with people who are passionate for missions, while I’m a rookie. I can’t say I completely want to go on this trip. Though I’m getting more and more excited each day, it would be much easier to go home. But I can say with confidence that I should go, that the Lord has something huge in store. And though thinking about it too much makes me a little nervous, I have an over-arching sense of peace, and that’s what I’ve determined to follow.
It’s strange to think God reversed my situation from freshman year. Then, I put myself out there for an SBC, and He said no. This time, I was shut off to it, and He said, “You’re going.”
What a crazy life we live, right?
As Kayli and I discussed the whole situation Friday afternoon (less than 72 hours after our Chick-fil-A conversation), we could see God’s plan unfolding. Kayli pointed out how everything happened in just the right order. She needed to step out and say “yes” on her own first, without the safety net of knowing I was going with her. And I needed to see the contrast in her quick “yes” and my quick “no,” a hard lesson but a much needed one.
So now what do we do? We go on last-minute shopping trips to Wal-Mart and Goodwill to get scrubs for work days and sunscreen and snacks. We cram our homework into less than a week and brush-up on our Spanish skills. We pray that Yahweh Yireh, The Lord Who Provides and who has already provided so much, will give us open hearts, serving hands, and compassion for the people and work in Honduras. March 8-17th, please pray that God will break down every hesitancy I have and replace it with love and obedience. Pray for safety, deepening friendships, and most of all that God’s will be accomplished through those He is sending out…even at the last moment.