Updated: Apr 15
I was sifting through memories the last few months and came across a picture of me that unknowingly marked a significant point in my life. The picture is of me surrounded by a bunch of Honduran kids with a huge smile on my face. It was taken somewhere between 2004 and 2007 at an orphanage in Lapaz, Honduras, off a dirt road with dogs running around and many more kids laughing and playing elsewhere.
This was my first mission trip. I had no idea what I was doing or the real reason for me being there. The kids surrounding me in the picture knew Jesus way better than I did and I did not have a clear job on the mission trip other than to play and connect with these kids. This picture was stored away and became memories that were patched together as my life went on. It was a fun trip, but it wasn’t easy. I know if I had a greater understanding of what the trip was for and why we were doing a mission I would have experienced the trip in a totally different way, or maybe chosen to not go at all. Looking back on this seed planted for missions I can faintly see how there was work being done all along to get me where I am in this season. The “me” in the picture thought being a pediatrician would be a great career and this trip might be an interesting thing to talk about in a college essay or put on a resume. The real story being written was that God would expand my love for children in need to advocacy and education for kids with severe disabilities. The “me” in the picture could not understand why anyone would need a savior or faith in God, let alone a clue who Jesus was. The story God was writing was He would come for me too as I needed a savior more than I could have ever understood. The “me” in the picture thought this trip was a fun adventure, and the story that God was writing was that I would have no idea how amazing an adventure God was planning for me.
A LOT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THAT PICTURE, BUT I FEEL LIKE SAYING “YES” TO JESUS PUT MY LIFE IN ACCELERATION.
So many things have changed, shifted, fallen into place or made sense since saying yes. The me in that picture is not so different from me now, but more focused. Since that mission trip to Honduras, I got my masters in special education rather than becoming a doctor. I am now covered in kids that look like me in pictures and we are heading to the mission field with more focus and direction from the Lord and I could ever imagine. God has used my background of special education to get me to come back to him and also immediately put me to work bringing His children back home too. I have enriched my Jewish roots and heritage with a clearer picture of who God is and who I am in the love of Christ. God has shown me a place to care and love others as He did.
The smile on my face in that picture is just as big now. When I think about how my mission experience started as a Jewish teen at a honduran orphanage and now I am preparing, with my husband and 3 kids, to launch to France to serve at a camp. I can not fully appreciate or understand His preparation of my heart in the process. My heart is so different since that picture, no longer am I thinking about what would look good on a resume, but rather how can I bring more people to know the depth of this love and acceptance. It shouldn’t surprise me though, God is unchanging and knows all these things. I am the one who is changing as I experience and know Him more deeply. I think about this memory from God’s perspective, as he sees the whole breath of my life at once. There was no coincidence about this journey, nothing surprising to Him and whether I realize it or not, He will guide me. The verses from the end of Psalm 48:14 feels so comforting in thinking about the journey that has been completed and the road ahead of all of us in our walk: “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.”
WHEREVER GOD HAS PLACED US, WHETHER IN OUR JOB, ROLE AS A PARENT, MINISTRY ROLE, ETC, GOD HAS WORKED AHEAD OF US AND IN US IN PREPARATION. WE ARE IN PRACTICE AND GETTING PREPARED LONG BEFORE WE REALIZE IT.
I see more clearly the truth of the verses from Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…” I know that God is guiding me to something good, not easy, but good, and that’s something I can get excited about and put my faith in. Praise God for this first mission trip and the seed that it planted in my heart. Praise God that He has chosen to continue to make his plan clear for me and chosen me as bold and courageous enough to do as he has called. Praise God that He is with me now, in the past and every day to come.