Brothers and sisters in Christ, as my journey to East Africa continues, I have began to make a list of the many, many lessons that God is teaching me. This time of preparation has been challenging, exciting, emotional, and wonderful. Through my experiences, God continues to abundantly provide for me and reminds me that He is always with me! Today, I wanted to share my Top 5 lessons. I hope you enjoy reading about how God is at work in my life!
1. Home is where my Bible is.
Over the past few months, my support raising and network building journey has taken me all over the country from Germantown, MD to Kansas City, MO to York, NE. However, after each of these trips, I would return to my comfortable apartment in Omaha, NE. Well, not anymore! This past weekend, I moved out of my apartment and in with my family for the last few months before I leave. God continues to challenge me & remind me that home isn’t a building. It isn’t even where my family & friends are. Instead, home is wherever my Bible and God’s presence are. The best part about this is that these things can go anywhere and everywhere with me!
2. My family is amazing.
I always knew I had a great family, but God is showing me how they are much more incredible than I have ever understood.
My older brother, Josh, jumped right in and started helping me pack & move without me even asking for his help. In addition, Josh frequently provides me with encouragement and guidance as he is and will always be my wise older brother! (hopefully he doesn’t read this though….it might go to his head!) Thank you Jesus for Josh!
My younger brother, Jonah, helped me move (for probably about the 5th time). He is also great at talking sports and getting me to laugh when I have had a stressful day. Thank you Jesus for Jonah!
My dad has worked incredibly hard and tirelessly at helping me get completely moved. He packed, carried, unpacked, carried, loaded, carried, unloaded, carried, and carried more things for me! In addition, as I am writing this, my dad is in my bedroom rescuing me from a couple of mice that wanted to be my roommates! My dad is definitely my hero. However, perhaps the best part about my dad is his constant, courageous, Christ-centered leadership in our family. He is a great source of wisdom and strength for me. His listening ear and scripturally based guidance are an unbelievable blessing in my life. Thank you Jesus for my daddy!
Last, but absolutely not least, it would be difficult to list all the many, many ways that my mom has helped me through this process. Just a few highlights include: helping me sort through everything I own, packing & cleaning my apartment, and cooking and taking care of me when I am around. Even greater than all of this has been her ministry of presence and encouragement to me in this process. She continually and selflessly gives me the gift of her time and energy. Her insight and focus on God’s Word are a blessing to me. Thank you Jesus for my mom!
3. It’s just stuff.
As I moved from my apartment back in with my family, I decided to go through everything I own. I didn’t think it really made any sense to take anything to my family’s home that I wasn’t even considering moving to Africa. Therefore, over the past week or so, I have gotten rid of approximately 90% of what I own. Think about that for a moment….what would that look like in your home? For me, it meant donating furniture, housewares, clothing, shoes, and even some wonderful books. These items were given to friends, family members, a local church, Goodwill, and even a few things to my apartment manager.
I’ll admit, when I started this process, I was emotionally overwhelmed. My family joked ahead of time that we needed to have a “Sticky Note Day” where they would all come over and label what they each wanted. As a side note, the item most fought over was a rice cooker that I had borrowed from Josh, but my mom seemed to REALLY want that rice cooker! It has taken me a few years to accumulate all these things to furnish my comfortable, wonderful home. As I watched these things leaving my apartment for new homes, I was struck by one thing: I wasn’t really sad at all. It’s just stuff, the Lord keeps reminding me. My true treasure is in Christ and in the eternal life that I am sure of through Him. Therefore, it is my prayer that all this “stuff” is a blessing to whomever now owns it.
4. It’s OK to ask for and accept help.
Ok, I’m going to admit it: I am a strong-willed, independent person! I like to work hard and get things done. I absolutely do not like to ask for help. However, If you haven’t noticed a re-occurring theme throughout this post yet, here it is: I can’t go this road alone! God is teaching me that being humble and asking for help is not only OK, it is exactly what He wants me to do. God is showing me that there is great blessing in sharing this journey with others. Thank you Lord for the many people who so willingly give of their time to assist me!
5. Support raising is a blessing, not a burden.
Yep, you read that right. As I began this journey, the concept of having to raise my entire budge was very overwhelming. I knew that this is what God has called me to and He will provide, but I sure thought He needed me to worry and fret about this to get it done. Nope. This is not how God works. He is teaching me to trust wholeheartedly in Him. As I have been abel to travel around and speak about God’s work in East Africa, I have been blessed to meet so many of you! If I wasn’t responsible for support raising, I wouldn’t have had these opportunities. I am so grateful for each of you! Finances are obviously a necessity for me; however, the greatest part about this is that I get to meet and begin developing relationships with all of you. I know that you are praying for me and many of you have sent me encouraging emails or notes. These are such an incredible blessing to me—thank you! Because of each of you, I thank and praise God that I am such an active part of support raising! Thank you Jesus for each and every supporter, encourager, and prayer partner! Praying that God’s will bless each of you as you have blessed me!