Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why I do what I do...

I'm sure some of you are wondering, "Why are you involved with foreign missions?"

It's something I have asked myself quite often. 
What is my purpose? 
Why do I do what I have done and what I still want to do? 

Why do I spend so much time, effort, energy and money on short term mission trips to other countries?

The answer is simple yet so deeply complicated.

Simply put? God has called me to these trips. 

I didn't wake up one day and say to myself, "I think I'll go travel to a developing country, spend a summer there away from the comforts of home and away from my family and friends. Yeah, I think I'll go to a country where there are no real or clean toilets. I'll go to a country where I have to hike for hours up large steep hills where my lungs feel like they will explode just so I can meet new people. I'll go somewhere where I can't shower every day or every other day. I'll go to a new culture and perhaps try weird foods or food I don't like and pretend I do like it so I don't disrespect anyone. I'll go spend a month in a place where I don't know the language and if I'm confused I'll just nod and smile and walk away. I'll leave for 6 weeks and lie awake at night, crying myself to sleep from homesickness." 

Yeah...that sounds like a great plan. 

Nepal. Colombia. Honduras. (Scotland doesn't count because I have always wanted to go haha) and now Macedonia and some day Romania. Those aren't necessarily my top picks of places I would have wanted to travel to in this world. Let's face it...Those aren't tourist hot spots. They aren't all that safe. But that never mattered to me. 
All that mattered when I was facing a new trip was the clear and simple fact that God called me, told me to go on a trip. God called me to Nepal, Colombia, Kairos (Honduras and Scotland) and now He is calling me to Macedonia. 

A more complicated answer to this question would be, God called me to this.

I say that it is so simple yet so complicated and here is why.

God called me. Simple enough. So that's what I have to do. 
It's only complicated when I start to wonder why. Why to these specific places? 

I'll be honest. 

I look back on my trips and wonder why I was called there. What was so special about ME going THERE? 
Maybe I touched someones heart. Maybe it was because I had a willing heart to go. I may never get to know the reason but that doesn't stop me from going. It keeps me going. I never know what God has planned and I may never know how many seeds were planted in love. I may never see the seed grow and blossom. At least I wont see it in this life. But I'll definitely see it in heaven. 

I love mission trips. I love seeing new people and new places. I love experiencing a new culture. I love beholding the beautiful earth that God has created.

Now, although they may never have been my top picks for travel destinations, the excitement for the trips never faded. Each trip has been a fantastic adventure that God has blessed me with. I look back on each with such joy and fondness. So many great memories. I have learned so much on each trip. My eyes were opened to the world and its needs. Having now seen these countries, I'd love to return some day and walk the familiar streets. They are all such beautiful countries.

I once listened to a sermon by Paris Reidhead called "Ten Shekels and a Shirt". 

Near the end he was speaking on one of his trips to Africa and this is what he said and I have never forgotten it. 

" I heard God say to my heart that day something like this, "I didn't send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen, I sent you to Africa for My sake. They deserved Hell! But I LOVE THEM!!! AND I ENDURED THE AGONIES OF HELL FOR THEM!!!

I'll let you chew on that one.

And to those who would ask, "Why not here in America? Americans need help too."

That is so true. ALL people need love. ALL people need Jesus. It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you make, what color skin you have or what language you speak. We are ALL THE SAME. No one is better than the other. No country more superior. WE all need Jesus, it just may look differently in each person, but the bottom line is the same in each and every person on this earth. We are all sinners. 

So why do I do what I do?

 I'm just following the open doors that God has placed in front of me. Whether that is ministry here in the states or ministry abroad. I'll go wherever and however He leads me. And my fingers will be crossed for foreign trips because I am now forever biased towards foreign missions ;) 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask/speak! I'd love to hear from you :) 


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And I recommend listening/reading to the sermon!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

There is always someone having a worse day than you...

"Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it." 

A friend recently posted that on Facebook.
 And it couldn't be more applicable to my life right now. It's Thursday night as I write this. On Monday my Nana was taken to the hospital, transferred to another hospital 45 minutes away, and had surgery on her spleen to stop bleeding from a fall from over a week ago. Since surgery, she has been in ICU. 
It's been a strange few days. There is really no way to explain just how warped the last few days have felt. Emotions have been a roller coaster. One minute I was on the verge of tears and a mental break down and the next I'm laughing hysterically because Papa called the wrong person, walked into the wrong room, or just said something funny. 
Time for the last few days ceased to exist. We were there for so long yet it went by so fast. I felt like a lifetime had passed since Monday when this all began. I guess it didn't help that from the time I woke up Monday morning, I didn't sleep until Tuesday night.
Time was spent listening to my emotions bicker back and forth between being impatient and wanting Nana to just be able to come home but also wanting her to heal fully and knowing it will take time. 

And though I have to come back to the real world and resume my work schedule and fitting in time to run down to Erie, PA to the hospital before/after shifts, I look back on the last few days extremely thankful. Let me explain why:

  • During surgery, the Doctors found an aneurysm outside the spleen. They were able to repair that along with what had been injured. If she hadn't fell when she did and had surgery, she very well may have died from the aneurysm. Although it wasn't the best way to find out about it, we are thankful that she's on the mend from it all. 
  • I only had to call off of work for one shift during the last three days. Over a month ago I was asked to babysit on Feb. 11th. Well, that fell through but I never changed the availability for that day. I was scheduled off on Wednesday and Thursday. Such a blessing to not have to miss work for a few days and spend them at the hospital with Nana.
  • Wonderful neighbors who shoveled our sidewalk/steps/porch today after we were hit with a nasty storm while we were not home. 
  • A random stranger repaying a random act of kindness with a random act of kindness. While in the drive thru this morning for much needed coffee and donuts, Papa let a lady into the car line. It was a madhouse in the drive thru. I "argued" with papa about who would pay. He had paid for several meals for my aunt and I and I wanted to repay a little back. I think I could cover his less than $2 coffee haha. But the lady settled it for us by paying for our order. It was a great start to the day.
  • Smart me brought several cross stitch projects (2 of which are birthday presents. One is late and i was able to finish it and the other I thought would be late but now is done). I was able to be productive during the down time at the hospital. Nana's pain meds pretty much conked her out most of the time. 
  • WE were blessed with great nurses so far. Such patient, wonderful men and women. (No one put up a fuss when I brought coffee into the room.)
  • Coffee. Magical sweet, God-given nectar. I probably consumed an unnatural amount of it over the course of 3 days. 
But the main reason I am so thankful? 

I overheard a mans conversation while he was on the phone. As I listened, I learned that his son was in an accident and injured his spine or vertebrae. The father was scheduled to have a hip replacement done on Monday and would need to have to reschedule since his wife wouldn't be there to help him with it. They both needed to be here with their son.
My heart broke for this man and his family. Already were they facing surgery and a hospital stay and now their son was critically injured. 
As I walked back to our room I realized how easy we had it. Nana was in good health, although tired and slept most of the day. She was up and moving around. She could talk to us. 
So much of our time, especially the two days my aunt was with us, we laughed so much. Well, Papa, Aunt Nae and I laughed so much. Levity lessens the stress. I guess I almost felt guilty every time we laughed hysterically. It's still serious that Nana is in the ICU but as I look around at the other patients in nearby rooms, we really had it made. 

So just remember to look for the good in the bad. It makes the bad not so bad :) 

I'd love to keep typing but with all the cross stitching I have done and now typing, my fingers hurt. I probably have early onset arthritis. Or i'm mellow dramatic. Either case, it's late and I'm still exhausted.

Talk to you all soon!