"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'
And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" - Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8)
"When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, 'Here I am.'" - Exodus 3:4
"But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, 'Abraham! Abraham!' 'Here I am,' he replied." - Genesis 22:11You get it. Just as God revamped my understanding of Jeremiah 29:11, He taught me an important lesson in surrendering when I went to the BCM summer missions interview weekend. It was such an emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausting experience, but one of the best of my life. Someone actually told me that exact same thing right before I left, and I remember thinking... Really? Exhausting? How? I already know where I want to go. There isn't much to it.
I was very wrong. For those who aren't familiar with the process, you basically show up and divide up into groups. Its kinda like a group interview, if you've ever done one of those. Every group has a leader, and the leader's goal is to get to know everyone in the group as well as they can so that they can discern the best, most God-inspired mission to assign them to. Most of the "interviews" are done as a group, like ice-breaker questions that relate to your background, personality, and passions. There is also a one-on-one interview with the group leader that helps finalize your preferences- a list of 8 missions the interviewee feels called to go to in order of preference. There is also a box that you can check that indicates that despite your preferences, you are willing to serve anywhere.
I made the mistake of going with the attitude and mindset that I already knew where God wanted me to go, and so I never planned on checking that box, even though our group leaders encouraged us to do so. As the day went on and I had more time to pray about it, the conviction started settling in. I started trying to justify my choice to limit my preferences. Things like... I need a job over the summer and so I can't go on most of the trips. Or that I am a pre-med major so it's obvious that I need to go on a medical trip. Or the thought of my parents not supporting it if it wasn't a medical trip. I was writing all this to God in my journal when I heard His voice almost audibly say something along the lines of... Drop all you have and follow me. Am I not your God who knows your needs and where you should go?
Now, I don't want you to think I am crazy. And this may have just been the Spirit guiding my thoughts. But whatever it was, it was enough to wake me up. What was I doing by submitting a preference sheet that only allowed me to be assigned to one of four mission trips, all of which were medical? I was (1) limiting myself, (2) telling God that I don't trust Him with my summer (or my life, essentially), and (3) telling God that I would love to serve Him, but only if I could be sent to those four places. How proud and unfaithful was that of me? Very.
God knows my gifts and my talents. He knows where I will succeed and sew seed. He knows what I need in order to serve Him. And if I need a job, He'll provide a way for that to happen. If my assignment takes up most of my summer, then clearly it means that getting a job is (A) not necessary this summer to prepare for the life He has in mind for me and (B) is not as important to Him as me serving Him in a place of need.
And so I said to my God, Hineni, and searched for additional trips to fill my preference sheet of 8 and indicated that I would serve anywhere. And at the closing service, which was SO beautiful, I placed it on the wall with the others that picked my number one choice, drove back to Rome, hopped out of the car and waited for the call. I was glued to my phone all night and all morning the next day, anxiously waiting for the call that would let me know of my assignment. Kaitlin and I took Isaiah (our loppy-eared rabbit) to the park and played parcheesi while we waited. It was a gorgeous day.
Ironically, I missed my call because my phone had been on vibrate the whole time. I found out my assignment through Kaitlin when she got her call. I was assigned to Los Mochis, Mexico. There, I will spend a week of my summer setting up medical clinics, sharing the gospel with villagers, and educating them about health.
I am so stoked. =]
In Christ Alone,