I know that I should have written about this a LONG time ago, but I just realized that I never really explained why I felt called to come on this trip. It's been a very long time coming, and Jesus deserves to have his story of faithfulness told.
Those of you who know anything about me know that I went to Thailand 3.5 years ago and that it wrecked me. We're talking massive life-change that has shaped the direction of my life and ministry every since.
What you may not know, is that on that trip, Jesus gave me a very clear picture of where I would be going next.
On my 21st birthday, on a party bus between Phuket and Bangkok, Jesus spoke loud and clear through a Will Reagan song. It was basically just a song in which a bunch of people cry out for salvation to Christ, but Jesus gave me an image of Muslim men, women, and children doing that crying.
I've had a burden for the Muslim people since high school (as a result of some interesting relationships which would make this blog FAR too long). That burden was further confirmed and strengthened during my time in college. That being said, this was the first time that I felt a clear call to do something about it.
I had previously been reading about a Christian Peacekeeper team to Israel/Palestine and assumed that this must be what God was leading towards. If you haven't heard of CPT, look them up- they're incredible. Their whole ministry is to go and be a presence of peace in conflict-ridden areas. I prayed about it for the rest of the bus ride and was just really excited about what was coming next. I didn't tell anyone.
During final debrief, I had two people come up to me with individual words from the Lord about where he was sending me next. One said that they saw me in the desert. The other said that they saw me ministering with women wearing headcoverings.
All signs point yes to Israel.
And so, for the last 3 years, I've been waiting. I've kept a tab on the CPT trips and looked for other ways to serve in Israel/Palestine. At every turn, something got in the way. The trip was scheduled at an impossible time, I started a new job, or Jesus just very clearly said "nope."
Over the last few months, I've been following the refugee crisis pretty closely. I've been horrified by the response of my fellow Americans, and especially by the American church. My roommates can bear witness to the fact that I ranted in the living room pretty often, close to tears, about the absolute sin present in our fear and rejection of these people that Jesus loves.
And one day at work, I saw a posting on facebook about this trip. And I felt like Jesus punched me right in the gut.
This. is. it.
I joked to my supervisor at work about it, knowing full well that it was impossible.
And then the next day I told her that I didn't think I was joking. And she said that she already knew that. And then she said that we were going to make it happen.
My company gave me a month of leave with their full support for this trip. HOW CRAZY IS THAT? Jesus is so good.
Everything came together really fast, and I wanted to be sure that I was following the Lord here and not just my own desires. I reached out to one of my accountability partners, someone who I know hears clearly from the Lord, and asked her to pray for 3 days about "something" and let me know what Jesus said. She would let me know on Friday.
Friday morning, before I even heard from her, Jesus started talking while I was in the shower. He reminded me of his promises in Thailand and about the vision he gave me on the bus. And I was like, "oh shoot."
And then my friend messaged me with the message confirming what I already knew. "All I keep thinking of is that prophecy in Thailand about those women in the desert with their heads covered."
Jesus is crazy. Straight up insane.
This past year has been hard. I know that I am called to ministry, but have felt like I've been drowning in indirection- no idea where I should be. I felt like I had failed in my calling, that I had missed the mark by going for my MSW and whatnot.
But Jesus is faithful. When I miss it, he doesn't. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.
That facebook post, that word from him in the shower, the words of my friend, were all reminders that THE ONE WHO CALLED ME IS FAITHFUL. He knows the plans and he won't forget his promise to use me. He will absolutely not waste a life that has been consecrated to him.
So that's the short version. There's a lot more. He's been inclining my heart to his cries of "welcome" for the last few years, and those lessons could fill a book. Maybe one day I'll write one.
For now, please know that He is good. He is faithful. And he dreams big.
Love you all,