I remember walking forward, passing through the metal detector and putting my shoes back on. The same ones that were still raw with that glorious red dirt that held my frame those weeks, sweat seeping between my toes. I heard the holy spirit in those moments, as He simply told me This is is just see you later. Trust me now. The plane ride back and months to follow were full of wrestling with much fear and trembling. Wrestling with trust and patience and submission, wrestling with the abundance of stuff invading my life and this American culture luring me away from the gospel, with white picket fence and all. Wrestling with waiting, the feeling stuck, with the culture shock and my salvation too.
Then Pastor Sam came to visit a while back, and I wrestled some more.
These past months have led me into living away from these eleven, learning how to walk confidently in the sufficiency of Christ at work in my life. It's been ups and downs, but the ground is looking more level then ever before and I know the Spirit is at work. Meanwhile, a season of studying my nights and weekends away as the paychecks continue to sustain through the five o' clock hour is coming to a much anticipated close. I have two more classes to go and that is a miracle far beyond my capacity or ability--and yet, here we are!
I was accepted to Thomas Edison University last week where I will transfer all my credit and complete my final two classes to come out with my Bachelors in Social Sciences in June.
In fact, that's only one of the incredible prayers answered in my life through these recent weeks. That final night of these forty days where my friend Sydney and I prayed into the desert instead of fasting, we asked God to provide the money for my tuition, to make India come up unexpectedly through the week if we were supposed to go, and for a job in Arkansas so I didn't have to move to St. Louis. We prayed a lot of other stuff too.
The next day, I witnessed God's miraculous provision of the missing $800 needed to complete my tuition costs, just taped to my car literally the week it was due and after praying it would appear in that exact location the night before. By lunchtime that day, the phone rang from an odd number. I thought it might be a potential job interview, so I picked up. An hour long phone conversation would follow with an American currently living in India, whom I had met there last year, anxious to serve this Pastor and his ministry in greater depth. I hung up the phone completely in awe of how boldly God chose to answer our prayer. Beyond, that He also confirmed India that same afternoon in a clear way to Sydney through a conversation with her dad. Later that week, God also provided a job in Arkansas.
We met later that night and looked at each other laughing, quite histarically actually, at the unreal realization that God was indeed calling us to India! I know when I pray, I must believe it, but so many of those weeks of prayer had been spent begging Him to help my unbelief. He didn't have to reveal Himself in such tangible ways, and yet in His grace He chose to and I am so thankful and in continual awe. The next step was asking God to provide the right group to send us. There were several options presented to us, and within a week God very clearly confirmed our home church, University Baptist Church, would be sending us.
We will be heading to India for the month of July to teach English to children at this school. Beyond humbling is the fact that simply our American bodies standing in that schoolhouse will bring much creditability and provision to the school, the ministry, and these kiddos futures. We also hope to offer several outreaches to women there, possibly through bible studies, medical clinics and sex-trafficking prevention courses.
For me personally, this month will be spent seeking God and specifically asking Him to show me whether or not I am to return long term to teach and serve within this ministry. Either way, I will be coming back for a year to pay off the remainder of my school debt and continue in international ministry before I can return long term.
We will also have the opportunity to write while in India, sharing stories of what God is doing and will continue to do through our time there, allowing you to see glimpses of our journey and continue praying specifically while we are there and giving to this incredible ministry as you are led.
You know, God's provision these past weeks has been overwhelming. It's like in Hebrews 6 when God promised Abraham blessing and descendants. Abraham waited patiently and then received what God had promised. I have been waiting (though not so patiently) for these requests. And now God provided a new job, the money needed to complete college just in time to go to India, and the path clear for India with a friend to join me.
But God didn't stop there. He continues in Hebrews to explain that He wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose so clear--so He gave an oath, a promise for His heirs to hope in. That's us, ya'll!!
He said we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Do you ever feel as though you need an anchor for your soul? I sure do. Even now as kiddos don't obey and the dishes are piled high and the laundry sits in the washer still. I have a big test this week and am fighting a cold and I just feel like it's all out of my control--I need to be anchored in something! So what are we to anchor our souls in, beyond His immediate provision of things in this world?
Hebrews goes on to tell us that this promise enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our fore rummer Jesus had entered on our behalf. We are to be anchored in the promise of Jesus, the fore runner gone ahead and coming back still.
So as incredibly humbled as I am in God's provision of so much this week, I am realizing I can't hope only in this temporal provision He offers. We rejoice, yes!! But what if God chose to use me in St. Louis rather then Arkansas? What if God did not provide the money for school the next day, but it took several months? He doesn't always answer us the way we choose or expect. So we can't only place our hope in these answered prayers, even when He does chose to answer them in a big way for His glory.
But we CAN hope in the unshifting promise, the provision, still coming--JESUS. And it is with that desire we fly across the world to bring the good news. The news that Jesus is the one to fulfill, the one who allows us to hope in the inner sanctuary. That Christ is anchoring us in Himself until He comes.
In His grace He offers us glimpses--like making a way for us to go to India. But ultimately we hope in the promise that He is coming!!
You can catch up on clips of my India journey last year through this South Asia link. There will be support letters coming soon and we are are so grateful for the way the body of Christ continues to surround us, pray with us, and confirm what God is doing.