I am attempting to blog from my phone in New Zealand, so if my style seems different, that is why... :-)
Wow, what a great trip so far! We are only in the third week of our trip, and yet time has just flown by!
There was the long flight to Melbourne, where I sat next to a Romanian lady and conversed about the gospel, dining with several different families near the Melbourne training center, having the girls and guys Journey to the Heart at the same time in two separate locations, touring beautiful and interesting Melbourne and it's surroundings...
There were about 24 girls attending the girls' Journey, and watching as God unfolded to them the truth about His great love for them in so many different ways was amazing!
In His gentlemanly way, He guided each one to Himself, and revealed that though He is so mighty and so powerful, He's gentle enough to handle our fragile lives without breaking them to pieces.
The cultures in both Australia and New Zealand are different, but the more I travel the more I find that we all have that same great need for a God who loves us unconditionally and in a kind fatherly way.... Oh He's quite capable of meeting every single need!
As I go on these mission trips though, I find that more often than not, God has me on them so He can grow me in ways I would not otherwise have grown.
Can I name a few?
"I can provide."
The very first evidence that He wanted to grow me was through the very fact that I had absolutely no way I could work enough to get even a portion of the funds to get here, yet I knew He wanted me to come.
One thing that made it extra difficult was the fact that I owed money for a previous car problem, so I was committed to have that paid off by the end of October.
At first I was trying to figure out ways to get the funds to come in and two things God very clearly told me was, "providing is my responsibility, not yours." When I acknowledged that to be true, the second thing He said was, "you have not because you ask not.... ask me to provide."
So I asked Him to provide and the very next day the first amount came in, and then every day something came in until all was provided, even down to spending money for whatever might come up overseas...
My faith was stretched out beyond its capabilities, and God proved He can be trusted to provide!
"I'm big enough to handle your life."
During one of the sessions at Journey, Laura asked everyone to write down some things we struggled with trusting God about.
Instantly a situation at home came to mind and I wrote it down. Suddenly God was speaking to me... "you've taken up a cause that belongs to Me."
Tears filled my eyes as the realization dawned that my God is big enough to handle every situation, no matter how difficult!
Mixed emotions emerged -anger, frustration... yet I could trust Him, so I handed it over to Him, relieved to know that my God can handle it and the peace came. It's His now.
"I want you to say what I say."
Always on any ministry trip, attacks come. You can guarantee spiritual warfare is going to be taking place, whether seen or unseen.
Sometimes it comes in the form of temptation to sin, other times it comes in the form of people being outright nasty with you, but most of the time it's subtle. The enemy whispers lies. And he does it in the most persuasive ways that you don't even notice they're there, and then before you know it, you are convinced they're true, and being un-convinced is difficult. (Of course there are many other ways that I haven't mentioned).
For me it was the latter of the three. It came in a very subtle form, and I was convinced it was true. When God pointed out to me it was a lie, I told Him, "but God, it feels so true!"
You see, I'd fallen into the pit of introspection and felt I didn't measure up and therefore could be of no use to God. People don't want me, I told myself. I have to prove myself. So I tried. And failed to measure up to my own expectations.
Not long after I had that argument with God, He took me to John 7:18b:
"But a person who seeks to honor the One who sent him speaks the truth, not lies."
The words bounced off the page at me. I'd been telling myself lies, and that was not honoring my Father who sent me.
"Say what I say," was the gentle leading of His forgiving Spirit. So I did. I am wanted, I am loved by my Savior, Jesus Christ...
The un-convincing had truly begun, the lies melted away. Praise Jesus for all He has done!!!
The trip isn't even half over, yet God has already done such a work in me and in those He's brought across my path! Please keep praying for us!
...On with the adventure!!! :-)