" Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ' Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, ' Here am I. Send me!'" Isaiah 6: 8
Most of the time it has been my experience that when I follow the Lord it manifests in daily habits like having devotions every day, praying to Him, and treating everyone as He would want me to treat them. But every so often He throws me a curve ball. This year it came in the form of an invitation to not only go on a mission team to Spain but to lead it.
Honestly, at first I was hesitant. I had never led a mission team before and I wasn't so certain I was the right person for the job. Surely there was someone else more experienced and more outgoing than me! But God made it clear early on that if I didn't accept the opportunity there would be no mission team. So I accepted the challenge. Our mission would be to travel to a remote little village in the mountain desert region of Leon and aid the Christian leaders in a camp that aimed to reach the lost for Christ.
But there were obstacles that seemed insurmountable, the first being the issue of money. How would I and the other team members ever be able to afford such a trip? I don't make much money and the others on the team were all college students struggling to pay their way through studies. God would have to perform a big miracle because none of us had enough to pay.
And God answered this need as only He could. Church, family, friends, all gave what they could in our crumbling economy and we were still short for one team member. There was originally five of us going in all. But four days before departure one of the team members stated that her grandfather was gravely ill and expected to die any day. She wrestled with whether-or-not she should go on the mission.
The day before we left she made the choice to stay behind and all the money she raised was passed on to the team member who didn't have enough.
Then there were the obstacles of travel and reaching destinations on time. I asked God to grant me understanding when I was spoken to. I asked God for patience as I dealt with unforeseen circumstances and I asked Him for physical stamina as we would all be exhausted.
God answered every prayer beyond my expectations. I not only understood everything that was said to me, I was able to speak more fluently then I had ever been able before. This ability allowed me to explain things to the other team members as well.
There were many unforeseen situations during our travels but God granted me grace during those moments and protected us. To reach the camp we had to travel via plane, metro, train, car, and bus. All this with all our luggage and instruments. There were many opportunities for us to lose something or have something stolen but it didn't happen. And when we finally reached the camp where we would remain for the mission, there were several children who were sick. God maintained our health so that we could stand beside the Christians and help them in their ministries.
Within our time at the camp I also had to look out for the well being of my team. The first few days were tough because on top of the normal awkwardness of meeting and working with new people there was also the language barrier and adjusting to a foreign culture that we had to overcome quickly. So we soon decided to have our small team group together every day to share frustrations, breakthroughs, Bible verses, and prayers. This sustained us and we all experienced significant growth because of this.
God helped us form new friendships and helped us gain a wider understanding of how life really is in Spain for both Christians and non-Christians. By His grace we left a positive impression with everyone we met and we learned that three boys came to Lord during our time there!
Now back home I finally have time to reflect on our journey and I am so thankful I didn't back out of the experience. It wasn't always easy, in fact at times things just seemed to get more difficult. But now I can see that God was allowing those difficulties in order to stretch me out of my comfort zone and rely on Him for all my needs. This is a lesson I will continually be learning through out my life but now I know His faithfulness in a new way. And I can see how He used many experiences of my past for specific purposes during the mission.
The team member that remained at home had been praying for us the entire time and half way through our mission her grandfather passed away. So it was wise of her to remain. God used even her grandfather's passing as a blessing to others. Since she stayed the fourth member of our team was able to go on the mission.
The Lord is faithful and even when we can't understand our circumstances He is in control.
" For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."
Romans 4: 13, 20-21