Sunday, August 25, 2013

Healthy Rhythms

One thing that I have always been terrible at is being still and staying quiet before the Lord. As I came back from camp, I realized that I am terrible at taking the time and space to process transitions. I usually just jump from one thing to the next because there is always something that needs to be done or someone that needs me to be somewhere. I was chatting with a friend about what introverted time means as an extrovert. I shared with him that I avoid introvert time because it is painful to be alone because I feel like I am wasting time, but he told me that introvert time is the best time to process things. I realized I don't process things well. I jump from one thing to the next without grieving losses or celebrating sweet moments. This week I have made it a point to sit outside by the pool each day to read or rest or think. I realize these are healthy rhythms that I need to learn before I get to Peru. It is taking the time to take care of me so that I can more effectively help others.

I took a mini vacation down to San Diego to visit a friend where she gave me time and space to verbally process through leaving camp as well as moving to Peru. There were sweet moments where we sat at her kitchen table and talked about the future and difficult moments as we sat on her couch as she wrote my will and power of attorney documents. We sat on the beach and talked about the plans she has for her future wedding while I shared my very real fear of missing out on marriage by moving to Peru. It is in these moments that I leaving becomes more real. Genesis 22 is the passage where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac and it has been given to me as a word of encouragement through different people. I see that moving to Peru involves some pretty big sacrifices, but if I am willing to trust that God will provide then the sacrifices are totally worth it. Jehovah Jireh. God will provide.

Genesis 22:13-14
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Check List

Today I took a good hard look at my pre-departure check off list. It is incredible how two sheets of paper can feel so overwhelming. There are fun things like writing a short bio and picking a picture to accompany it on the Word Made Flesh website but there are really heavy things like writing a will and assigning power of attorney in case something happens when I am in Peru. It is a reality check. Am I willing to risk everything, including myself, to follow where God is leading me? This is not the first time I have had this thought because I received this check list before I committed to going. There were multiple conversations I had over the summer where I talked through this with people that love me. A question on the emergency contact sheet asks what my wishes are for burial in or out of country which is honestly something I can say I have never thought of in the past. Do I want to force my parents to pay astronomical fees to ship my whole body back or be cremated so I can be put in someone's luggage for a return trip home? That was a fun conversation to have over dinner at Mongolian BBQ. I can't imagine being a missionary back in the day that packed all of their belongings in a coffin because they never expected to come back alive. I have the luxury of knowing I can hop on a plane and be back home in hours, but it doesn't make the reality of writing a will any less scary. I am trusting that God is calling me to serve among the most vulnerable in Lima and I pray that His will be done.

At camp we sang a song called Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong and these lyrics remind me that God will carry me through these next 3 years.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters Your sovereign hand Will be my guide Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You've never failed and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Five Months

If all goes according to schedule, I will get on a plane to Lima, Peru five months from today. It has been a year since I heard God calling me to Peru and I began pursuing the opportunity to work with Word Made Flesh Peru. It many ways it feels like this process has been a practice in patience because at the end of last summer all I wanted to do was to start my life as a missionary. I am grateful for the time I have had over the last year to begin dreaming and thinking about what life in a new culture and context would actually look like. I am grateful to spend my summer working with high school students and getting poured into by the staff at Forest Home. As I look forward to the next five months, I see a three page check list of things that have to be done before I can even buy my one-way plane ticket. I feel overwhelmed by the all the little things like writing a will and assigning power of attorney just in case something happens to me. I feel anxious and nervous as I begin raising support. I feel sadness when I think about all the things I will miss over the next three years like birthdays and weddings and babies being brought into this world. In all the fear and doubt that clouds my thoughts, I am confident in the calling God has given me and know He will provide peace and comfort as I seek Him in this process. Now that I am back from camp, I have more time to focus on checking things off my list and start processing what it will look like to say goodbye to so many people I love. I would ask for prayer as I begin raising support and begin putting together a support team that will handle various aspects of my time in such as prayer and administration. I pray that I would be attentive to God's voice as He leads each step I take in this journey.

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Leaving Camp

This was written last Sunday as I looked forward on my last week of camp.

Last night was the Forest Home summer staff banquet which is a time of celebration as the summer comes to a close. It is fun to see what everyone looks like cleaned up and dressed up when so much of our time is spent being covered in dirt, mud and sweat. It helps remind us of the good times we shared this summer and we can joke about all the crazy, weird, strange hard moments we had as we served campers this summer. As I looked at the pictures that were taken last night, I noticed I have laugh lines and slight crows feet when I smile. I see those as a reminder that I have laughed a lot in my 27 years. This summer I have laughed so hard I have cried but also cried so much that all I could do was laugh when my tears ran out. I have had the opportunity to walk with campers through some really hard stuff and see God’s healing hand in such a real way. Last week, a camper handed over razors that they had once used to hurt themselves because they realized they are a God’s child whom He loves. It was so cool to pray for the camper and the counselor as they headed down the mountain where the same trials and temptations exist. It is a comfort to know that God loves that student and will continue to pursue them.

On Friday, we will pack up and go back to real life. I like to compare working at camp to living at Disneyland. I have had the opportunity to spend time getting to know amazing people that have served as my cheerleaders as I walk through the process of moving to Peru. Each conversation was a gift and usually came just at the right moment. I appreciate the vulnerability of the staff as they allowed me into their pain and joy so that we were able to seek God through our brokenness. Sometimes there weren’t words to adequately describe what we were going through so we just sat laughed or cried together. I will miss this place and these people as real life begins next week.