Thursday, May 16, 2013

So . . . Where Are We Going?

This was an email update I sent out recently to Hope Hill Orphanage Building Project Supporters. I wanted to post it here so you all could know what was going on with our plan to go on a missions trip this summer.

My word. I hardly know where to begin! This past month has been a confused blur with dozens of changes in plans being made. I’ve almost given up trying to explain it to people, but confusing as it is, it is the story God is writing in my life right now.

Last month the plan was for Ben and I to spend a month in Haiti this summer and help host 2 missions teams from A Child’s Hope, a missions team from Michigan, and 2 missions teams from Florida.

But then plans started to fall through left and right. On such short notice, we could not get together a team large enough to go on the trips with A Child’s Hope. After exploring several other options, we decided to travel with the missionary’s wife, and serve more as “interns” to the missionaries. But by the time we settled on the plan and she purchased her ticket and gave us her itinerary, the ticket prices had skyrocketed (almost overnight) to $900+.

We talked and prayed as a family about this decision. I just didn’t feel that it would be practicing good stewardship to pay over $600 extra simply to travel to Haiti. That money could go towards another whole plane ticket under normal circumstances, or do a lot of other good things.

The decision to call off our trip to Haiti was difficult, as it had been a year in the making (longer if you count the number of years I had planned to spend a month on the missions field following my high school graduation.) But I had peace knowing that only God could have closed the 5 or 6 doors we thought were open. Clearly He had other plans for our summer.

As these doors were slamming shut one after another, I talked with our youth/Family pastor at church. He mentioned one night in youth group that there were some ways we could serve our church this summer. I emailed and asked about some specific ways we could serve.

I was quite surprised when he called back and said someone had dropped out of the high school missions trip to Guatemala. The deadline to join this trip was months ago, but our pastor thought he might be able to get a ticket for Ben as well, that is if we were interested. I said YES, and began praying specifically that if God did NOT want us to go on this trip that he would be unable to secure a 2nd ticket.

A couple of days later, we received a text saying that our pastor had 2 tickets. We took that as a clear answer to our prayer, and joined the team.

So now Ben and I will be joining a team of 16 from our church from on a missions trip to Guatemala! We will be doing ministry to children, which is my passion. Because we won’t be gone for a whole month, we will also have the opportunity to help out with Vacation Bible School at our church here in Texas (in late June.)

There is a possibility that we may still go on a week-long trip this fall with A Child’s Hope, but those plans are still in the baby stage.

While this change in plans is radical and definitely a surprise (just as much to you as it is to me!), God is so clearly at work. Only HE could have closed all the doors to Haiti and opened up the door to Guatemala. Why He wants us there instead of in Haiti (where my heart truly lies), I don’t know. But I do know this; I desire with all my heart to serve Him joyfully wherever He places me!

I still hope to return to Haiti for a month at some point, perhaps next summer. But for now, I will continue to serve and pray for this special country from home. The amount of money donated towards Hope Hill has continued to climb slowly but surely up to $13,600+. I serve an incredible God who is completely in control and a great provider!

How to Pray for the Hope Hill Orphanage Project:

Please pray in the following ways:

·         Pray that I would listen hard for God’s leading in my life and joyfully follow where He leads, especially as I transition out of high school next month.
·         Please pray that despite the fact that I will not be returning to Haiti this summer, my motivation to serve would not decrease in any way. Pray that my focus will remain on Christ and on the burden He has given me for the Haitian children.
·         Pray for Ben and me as we prepare to go to Guatemala. God has already blessed that change in plans; within 3 days of officially joining the team, we had a third of our support raised! Without sending a single support letter!!

This quote is so appropriate in light of all that’s been going on the past month:

When one door closes another opens. But often we look so long [and] so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.” –Helen Keller

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