SO WHERE IS GOD SENDING YOU?
Ever fear that God would send you somewhere or ask you to do far more than you could ever imagine? Well, that's part of my story.
I remember when I first started out in ministry. I knew I wanted to help other people meet Jesus, grow to know Him better and to follow Him. But deep down, I thought to myself, "Please, Lord, I never want to go to Africa!" Why I chose to pray about Africa, I don't know. I really knew nothing about this far land or the people who called this continent "home". It just seemed far away and very different from what I was used to.
For many years, He didn't send me there which worked quite well for me because I could say to others, "Don't be afraid to follow Jesus. I'm sure you think you'll have to pack your bags and off you go to a "mission" field far away. But, NO, God has a plan for you right where you are with your family and friends."
That actually worked for quite awhile, but I realized a few years later, that my "mantra" was only a half-truth. God did use me at home and in my surrounding community for quite awhile until the day Pastor Steve asked me to co-lead a trip to Africa.
You might suspect that I had a heart attack right on the spot, but I didn't. Immediately, I responded with a resounding, "YES!" I'm not quite sure when the transformation happened, but I had no fear and not a second of hesitation. God was calling ME to Africa.
So there I went. In Ethiopia, I found parents who loved and cared for their children and hoped they could be educated so they could have a better life. There are families who lived together and took care of one another. AND, there were many people who were faithful, who loved Jesus and who trusted the same God that I do. Under our skin and without the burden of our circumstances, we had the same hearts that God created and loves.
That was just the beginning and now He's paving a way for me, and for Northgaters, to experience the people of Haiti. I joined a Healing Haiti mission group from Albuquerque last June to begin the training process to share this experience with the youth and adults of Northgate. There I had the same experience as in Debre Zeit. Hope. Love. Pain. Courage. Joy. Men. Women. Children. All the same hopes and dreams that we have! Right after I got back, I heard the song, WHAT IF by Five for Fighting. Yeah, so true...lots can happen if we just take someone's hand...
So when did this "heart" change occur? I think slowly and step by step. Perhaps it started in my younger years when my parents showed respect and honor to the migrant workers who came through our city. Perhaps it was when I dove into poetry by people of color when I was in high school. Maybe taking the steps to sponsor children in the Dominican Republic, India, and Ethiopia has made a mark. Perhaps financially supporting efforts of micro businesses in other countries, most recently last year in Debre Zeit, have planted seeds of understanding and hope, replacing the fear that once occupied that space. All I know is that my world seems larger, my heart bigger and my curiosity and thirst for understanding people HERE, THERE, and EVERYWHERE has provided me with so much joy!
So where or what is the next step God is challenging you to take? How is He transforming YOUR heart? My hope is that in one way HE is asking you to be part of the current Northgate campaign to help build the fence for the newly purchased farm in Haiti. Working together, we can all have an impact, link by link, meter by meter, and in the processwe'll witness our love spread across the ocean in a very tangible way.