Obedience

“Okay, after this video, I am going to ask you an important question. Has God called you to be a full-time missionary?”
One of the leaders of my mission team said on the last night in a small, beautiful country that was promising huge and terrifying commitments.

It was our goodbye ceremony, setting an end to the wonderful 8 days that we had been given to grow with our team and in our faith. I heard that question I had been debating and praying over for so long.
But the question wasn’t mine to answer.
It was God’s choice. His calling. I asked Him what I had to do. In February I felt called to part-time, but full-time? That was a question God hadn’t quite answered. I told Him to lead me to the row of chairs lined up in front of everyone, only if I was supposed to. “This is a serious commitment,” I thought. “And I only want to answer if the call is for me.”

My heart was conflicted and I sat in my seat during the four minute long video and I gave myself excuses as of why I shouldn’t go up and do this. Excuses like your family won’t approve, or maybe you’re just in the midst of excitement from this week, and of course I was asking God if He was sure about using me.

Then, the leader asked again when the video ended.
“Are you called?”

God indeed led me, or you could say carried. I felt like He was lifting me up and guiding me to that seat as soon as the words came out of the man’s mouth.

I. Was. Terrified.

Then one of my excuses took a seat in the chair right next to me. Two other kids my age accompanied me in the row of chairs lined up before everyone else, which gave me a bit of comfort, and so did two other adults that had taken care of me during the time there.

I broke down before God. Not before the people staring at me, but before the King holding me. At first, I was stunned at what just happened, tears spilling out, no matter how collected I tried to appear. But then I broke and love started pouring, unceasingly.

I kept thinking of when Jesus sacrificed Himself for me and how this is my crucifixion for Him and how He must’ve felt. Terrified. He must`ve had a point in His life where He looked up and asked God, “Me? Are You sure?”. It was a sacrifice that was actually frightening for me to make, because I knew what I had committed to and a glimpse of what God was wanting to do in my life.

That moment was like when I found salvation.
God picked me up and led me before people to commit myself to Him.
Then, He showed me what He did and wanted to give me.
This time, it was about what I could give to Him.

They prayed with us and a girl in her twenties prayed with me. She only spoke Spanish, but I felt so connected to her through the Holy Spirit, even though I had never spoken a word to her. It got to the point where her shirt was my own personal tissue. In the moment, I couldn’t possibly have cared, though, because everything was tuned out, besides God.

They called everyone up and put the El Salvador flag on our shoulders, then started washing our feet. When they placed the flag over our shoulders, the man said “El Salvador means ‘My Savior’, so we’re sending you out in good hands.” It was the same girl that prayed with me that washed my feet, and I started to think “Really God? I just committed to serving You, yet You get someone to serve me? It doesn’t fit. I should be serving You.”
But then I realized this: God wants me to humble myself before Him and He definitely showed me that on this trip. Like the moment I got baptized in the Holy Spirit. In a sacred prayer tower that was constantly being prayed in, even during something like a volcanic eruption (yes, it happened), they asked id anyone had never experienced it before. I had been praying about it for months and wondered why it had never happened to me. When they asked, I got prideful and a bit humiliated. But I had to go up. God led me up there through ways I would’ve never expected.

God just wanted me to humble myself and to quit acting like I had it all figured out, when I didn’t. Again, I debated going up, but after I obeyed, God filled me with His Spirit. God showed me that I need to humble myself before Him and if He calls me to move, then I need to do so with eagerness.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26 NIV)

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Letting Go

“God, I’m not ready. I’m not ready to leave these people and this place. You have woven my heart in theirs and You hid it deep in this volcano. Just a little bit longer.”

I said this on the way to the beach for our last day in El Salvador. I kept pleading, but I heard God whisper “Let go.”

“Let go? How? You have taken a piece of me away and just expect me to forget about it?” I whispered as tears hung off my eyes and isolation took place in the midst of twenty people.

I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want these memories to fade and for someone else to take my place there. As selfish as it seems, I wanted these moments all for myself.

I heard God say “No, your heart will have pieces there, but I am not expecting you to forget. I want you to remember what I have done in your life here; the decisions you have made; the people you have met. I want you to keep these with you and remember them. Just don’t relent now. I’m going to bring you back to this small little place one day and introduce you to your heart again, but a better one. A better heart that will leave a bigger stamp here and that will give parts of itself to others. But for now, you have to go back home and share the new pieces of your heart that I have given you to America. They need you. So let go of these people that you are so attached to and give them time to grow. You’ll see them when it’s best and you’ll be able to notice the changes I have made in this world in such a short time through their hearts.”

El Salvador has stolen my heart. I have fallen in love with not only the country, but the memories and people that it contains. My heart beats for the scars it left behind and the beauty it has added to my life. Blessed isn’t a great enough word to describe God’s works and the shaking of my heart. It swells inside of me and with every thought of this place, these memories, I feel it ready to burst.

But I have to let go for now.

My Thoughts Before Leaving El Salvador

This trip isn’t about the pictures, or the stories, or myself. It’s about how God led a group of people of different languages together as one to learn to love without communication, pray with connection, and breaking a language barrier. He showed us His love through laughs, the look in the eyes of children, prayer, music, rain, and each other. This trip may be nearing it’s end, but I’ll tell you this: The journey isn’t over. It’s just beginning. With new people, places, and stories. The thought of leaving these people whom with connections have been made is a scary thought and I’m not sure if I’m prepared for it. But the memories and feelings will never leave me, even if the people have to. Goodbyes are hard, and sometimes “hello’s” are even harder. This country has impacted me in so many ways and I don’t know if I can ever go back the same way that I was and I pray I don’t. I want compassion for this world and to journey it to say new hello’s and goodbye’s. God has given us a calling to do so, and even though it’s hard, I’ll see them again when eternity comes.
El Salvador has stolen my heart and I don’t want to take it back.

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