As I sit here looking at a blank document, ready to be filled with words for my first ever blog entry, I am currently tired. I am sick with an awful cough. I have a gross, stuffy nose. I have a million things on my mind to do in preparation for my trip to Africa in six days. But above all these thoughts and stresses swirling around in my head, I am reminded again of the song “Cornerstone” by Hillsong United. And everything is at peace once again.
For many of you who have had the opportunity to talk with me, you’ve asked me questions like, “Why Africa?” “What organization are you going with?” “How do you know this is God’s will?” “Do you have signs of confirmation?” “Are you excited or nervous?” “What do you want prayer for?”
Well, my friends, this is the page to be looking at if you’re asking any one of those questions.
For many years, I have had a deep desire in my heart for missions. And I have yet to have the chance to pursue one with a purpose, until now.
At the end of summer camp this year, my friend and I were planning our own independent mission trip to Mexico. She had been there before and we were planning to bless the women in the three villages we were going to visit. As we started planning and praying in late September, my heart was extremely unsettled. I finally confronted my friend, telling her I simply couldn’t go because my spirit was wrestling so much. She responded by telling me she also experienced wrestling FOR me about this trip. So, Mexico was off the table, and I began praying again that The Lord would use me in any way that He wanted. I prayed that if there was anything He wanted me to do, I would do it; if there was anything He wanted me to give up, I would.
One week later, Africa was popping up everywhere…literally, everywhere. Lion King references, random people talking about their experiences to me, my old journal entries I was looking through talking about “one day”….it was ridiculous. But what got me the most, was one Sunday, it was not my day. I had been struggling to the max, and pouring out my heart to The Lord. I turned on my worship music in my car, and blasted “Cornerstone.” I had heard the song many times over, but that night it resonated with me in a whole different way. That night, African Children’s Choir was performing at my church (go figure), and they sang my song; Cornerstone.
It was that night, October 25th, I finally Facebook messaged Sydney Maki, who is currently in Africa, and let her know that I was willing to come or do anything that was needed. She messaged me a week later and let me know of the perfect opportunity.
A missionary family living in Jinja, Uganda were in desperate need of a tutor/nanny for their six children. Housing and food provided for; I just needed to find my way there. I connected with Chris Sperling, the head of the family, and figured out details. We discussed right away that this opportunity wasn’t going to be a time for vacation; it’s an opportunity to be stretched, to be a servant, to be molded, to be chiseled. This was it; this is where I was being lead. But I wanted more confirmation.
I have at least ten Scripture verses that serve as confirmation, but I wanted more. So typical of us humans, hey? I just wanted that last, little, tiny sign.
On November 13th-14th, I had the privilege of going to CYWC, Canadian Youth Worker Conference, in Kelowna with my fellow youth staff from SBC. The morning of the 13th, I was praying so hard for some sort of encouragement; anything. I have been feeling like I am in such a dry, unmotivated time transitioning into an intense time of growth. It’s been tough, and I was also praying for that one last sign of confirmation; even though my flights were already booked.
The conference was absolutely amazing. I was literally a sponge and just absorbed so much information, it was unreal. And God gave me my last sign of confirmation. In fact, He gave me six the first day to choke on, three more on the second day of the conference, and three more on the Sunday. I suddenly felt like Gideon, which was mentioned at the conference as well, asking for ridiculous signs when it’s so black and white. But my God is so gracious and patient with me. One sign in particular was the cherry on top.
After one session on Saturday, I connected with the speaker afterwards and asked her a couple of questions in regards to youth ministry. We got to talking and she asked me about my testimony, so we sat down and I gave her the very brief version of my testimony. She watched me intensely as I shared of how Christ worked in me, showed His love, showed His grace and mercy, and she shook her head in awe of God’s wonders in my personal life.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but this may sound weird to you…maybe nor. I don’t know. But as you were telling me your story, I had images come to my mind.”
She proceeded in telling me that she saw a stone, cold, cracked heart with a red prohibited symbol overtop of it. She said it quickly faded and a new heart appeared. It was a pink, fresh, vulnerable, pulsating heart, with the words “USE ME” above it. She said those words faded and the word “PURE” appeared above it.
I stared back at her in pure shock. It didn’t register with me until I told my parents about it; I sobbed. I then proceeded to go to the last main session, where we ended worship with (you guessed it!) “Cornerstone.”
I really didn’t need anymore petty signs of confirmation, but God sure gave me a lot more than I needed…classic.
If you would like to pray for me, or already are, thank you so much. Those prayers are deeply appreciated. I would love to have prayer for travel safety, protection, and health improvement.
So, here I am, with a document now full of words, thinking of a million different ones I could have chose. Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am nervous. But through it all, I have an outstanding peace that I am exactly where God wants me to be. I am going exactly where God wants me to be going. My heart is wide open for my Father to mold me, to chisel me, to work in me in ways I didn’t know possible.
My heart is vulnerable.
My heart has been made pure.
I am ready to be used.
Let the journey begin.