Back to the Start

This post is about 2 weeks overdue, and I apologize.

God took me back to the start, where so much of the journey of where I am today began. I wrote in a prayer the first day of our mission trip to Panama, “Lord, thank you for starting a work in my heart even before I came 9 years ago that has continued since then to bring me to a place where I want to share You with others.” My first mission trip was to Panama in 2005, and the Lord has been growing my tender heart for His people since then. I might not be in the Dominican Republic right now if He hadn’t touched my heart so many years ago as I read about a mission trip in Brio Magazine. As I have been struggling with preoccupation over my future, it was good of the Lord to give me a chance to look back and clearly see how He has been working all things together in accordance with His plan. I need to continue trusting in His faithfulness.

Panama is a beautiful country. The people we met, the places we visited…I saw God’s hand and creativity and love of diversity in it all. It was also really good for me to serve in another country, where God prodded my heart and made me admit a fear: “What if God calls me to move to ANOTHER new country? Will He be able to provide for me there?” The answers are, “He might,” and “YES.” I still don’t have perfect clarity on God’s grand plan for my life. Currently my plans still only reach to September 20th (Courtney and Sean’s wedding) and don’t go much beyond that. So God might still lay full-time missions on my heart, but that doesn’t automatically mean the Dominican Republic. Just because I know this was where He wanted me for 9 months doesn’t mean it’s where He’d want me again. But, that would be okay. He would take care of me, and provide for all my needs, just like He has in these 8 months and the month I have left.

In Panama we got to share with kids, youth, teenagers, at a women’s Bible study that meets in a mall and with women from a church in the village. My group had prepared a kid’s program that centered around the concept of lifting up our eyes – Alzare Mis Ojos. We shared the story of Jesus calming the storm, and acted it out as well (when the guys in our group were doing other ministry and couldn’t help us, I played Jesus, haha). As we talked about how the disciples turned to Jesus in their fear, we shared about how we can also go to Jesus when we’re afraid…or in need, grateful, sad, ashamed. Jesus is there for us in whatever our circumstance or emotion. Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” The Lord is our help, and when we keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Him, He is faithful to provide what we need.

Before I share a few photos from the trip, a few prayer requests:

  • Pray for the sale of my parent’s house. They’ve already found a condo and will hopefully be closing by the end of this month. Please pray that the right people will come along, put an offer in, and the whole process would proceed smoothly and quickly.
  • Prayers for my last month in the Dominican, that I would finish strong and continue to see the Lord moving and at work in my life and in the lives around me. Despite loving the chance to life live with everyone here, I’m becoming more and more ready to be home. I find myself thinking about and missing home a lot more recently. Pray that in my moments of wanting to be home, I turn to the Lord, lifting my eyes to Him, where I know my hope is found (the lesson in Panama wasn’t just for the people there…it was for me as well).
  • Prayers for Lily House as we had a woman re-enter the house after an accident that has her bedridden for 4 months. She has 1 month left but then starts physical therapy. Pray for her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Prayers also for two of her children who are in the house with us, as we minister to them and care for them as well.

And now, a few pictures! 🙂

First day of ministry included a kid's program at a church.

First day of ministry included a kid’s program at a church.

Nate always wears bandanas when he's doing work projects, so all us girls brought one to wear.

Nate always wears bandanas when he’s doing work projects, so all us girls brought one to wear.

The beauty of Panama as we made our way to a small island near Gamboa.

The beauty of Panama as we made our way to a small island near Gamboa.

One of the Bible stories we shared was Jesus calming the storm, and how when we're afraid like the disciples were, we can look to Jesus just like they did.

Sharing the Bible story of Jesus calming the storm.

With my new friend Mateo.

With my new friend Mateo.

We got to spend an afternoon sharing with these beautiful women.

We got to spend an afternoon sharing with these beautiful women.

Spent some time getting to the see the Panama Canal.

Spent some time getting to the see the Panama Canal.

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