Thursday, April 30, 2009

Learning to trust

Remember those "trust falls" they used to have you do in school or leadership seminars? You fall backwards and have to trust that the people behind you are going to catch you and not let you break your neck. Well, more often than I'd like have I found myself standing on a table or at the edge of a stage putting my life into the hands of my peers or even worse- strangers. That's kind of what the past couple of weeks has felt like for me- one big trust fall. Let me explain...

One of my roles here at HBB is planning yearly trips to Zambia, where one of our main projects is located. This is both an exciting and challenging task. A major obstacle that you have to deal with is fear of finances. When you tell people they have to come up with $2500 and within a few months the "deer in headlights" looks begin to show up. Given the current economic situation we find ourselves in, those looks were even more intense with the planning of this year's trip. It didn't help that team members had to make a committment to a plane ticket that required full payment within 4 weeks (roughly $2000).

I'll be honest here- there were moments when I wanted to give in to that fear as well. The airline required a minimum of 10 passengers for the group rate, but I didn't know if that many would commit. I felt like I was juggling too many objects and at any point a slight slip of one and everything would come crashing down. Amazingly though, I still had peace. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself that it was out of my control and things would be alright. I found myself daily saying, "I trust you God. I trust you." During those moments where I didn't fully believe it, I still said it.

Lo and behold the time comes where I have to tell each team member that I need the committment in order to send in the deposit. To my surprise every single person stepped out in faith and said, "Yes, I'm going on this trip." Many of them didn't know where the money was going to come from or how they'd get in 4 weeks, but they stepped out anyway. I was so blessed and encouraged, especially when I discovered that I not only reached my minimum requirement, but exceeded it by 1 person. 11 people have heard the call to go and are responding.

That alone could have been encouragement enough for me, but it went a step further. You see, I had been begging the airline to give us an extension on our payment deadline and was met with heavy resistance. I sent in the deposit on Monday expecting that all 11 of us would need to make full payment in 4 weeks. The day after I sent in the deposit I got an email from the travel agency. The email contained a copy of our invoice and she told me to scroll down to the bottom and read what it said. There it was on the bottom of the email: Extension for final payment! June 21st.

I couldn't contain my joy and excitement over this tremendous news! We had been given 4 more weeks to come up with the funds for our plane tickets! My faith was so encouraged and I couldn't wait to share the good news with our team. Looking back, I can't help but laugh in the irony of it all. If we had been notified of the extension only 1 day prior it would have made for an easy decision for the team. Fears would have been lessened and certainly my stress level would have decreased. But, we wouldn't have learned anything from it. We wouldn't have learned what it looks like to step out in pure faith. We wouldn't have learned to listen for God's still small voice telling us to go.

I'm so incredibly blessed and encouraged by the team God has put together for this year and I know that amazing things are going to happen as a result of their faith. So even though it took some coaxing to get me on that table and I probably looked over my shoulder one too many times, I always knew that I'd be caught safely. The joy that comes from falling in the arms of your savior makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

now that i've seen

on sunday night i had an incredibly vivid dream about zambia. i'm pretty sure the dream was about my return there this summer because in it i was reuniting with a dear friend of mine and we were embracing and weeping and the joy at being together again was overwhelming. there were all kinds of other details, but the bottom line is this: all day yesterday my heart ached for africa. if you could feel a literal pain (which at times i think you can) i felt it.

so needless to say, africa has been on my mind even today. how can it not? my work surrounds it. so when i come across things online or hear about things from africa, it stirs me up. it stirs me up because there is so much good that can be done there and so many people just waiting for someone to hear and respond in love.

i was readying another blog today from a couple who is trying to adopt from ethiopia. they shared this video on their blog and i want to share it, too. it's another story from africa of rescue... of hope.. and of love. it moved me and i hope it moves you, too.

now that we have seen we are responsible.

Drawn from Water from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

Friday, April 3, 2009

adventures in the making

i love to travel.

no, not the actual packing part or even the waiting in airport security line part. but rather the experiencing-the-culture part.

i find the diversity in the different places of this world so fascinating. over 6 billion people live on this little planet, many of whom are operating their life in their own cultural bubble. each with their own ways of doing things... their own traditions... their own foods... their own outlook on the rest of the world. it really is incredible.

while i enjoy my own bubble as well as the rest of you, i love breaking free of its constraints and seeing the world through fresh eyes. it brings things back into perspective and makes me appreciate the history and beauty this spherical thing called earth provides.

all that to say i get to see a new place soon. in june i get to go to england and experience all the lovliness it has to offer... including my dear sweet friend jenny who i haven't seen in 2 years. jenny was one of my roommates during my dts days at ywam denver and she is one of the most incredible people i have ever met. she is so encouraging and challenging and absolutely precious. i'm doubley blessed because i get to go with alyssa (another dts roomie) so the 3 of us will be reminiscing and rekindling our beautiful friendship through 12 days in england.

why am i fortunate enough to get to live this life?

all i can say is that serving jesus has its perks. and i mean that in the best way. when you give up your life (as in your expectations and perceptions of what it should be) and relase it jesus to do with it as He sees fit you receive a beautiful gift- a life full of adventure and excitement with new things always around the corner.

here's a line from an amazing song that describes it for me:
so take me as you find me
all my fears and failures
fill my life again
i give my life to follow
everything i believe in
now i surrender