Saturday, March 24, 2012

GREAT is Thy Faithfulness.

It has been a long week, but a week with such an overflow of blessings, so much so that my heart is full with gratitude to the Lord and to His body, the church. Here's the run-down of all that has happened.

So since one month ago when I found out I had been accepted to a volunteer midwifery opportunity in the Philippines, I have been receiving emails galore from the director of the missions clinic I will be volunteering at . Everything from book lists to roommate surveys to official paperwork have flooded my inbox, all of course to my delight! I have also gotten messages about my financial responsibilities, including an acceptance deposit and upcoming airline expenses. The Lord was so gracious to instill within me such a peace of His sovereignty, even when I looked at my bank account balance that was far from the amounts asked of me. "Lord, I know you will provide," I would say, "but I am just interested to see how You're going to pull this one off!"

First came the Lord's provision for my acceptance deposit. It was due exactly two weeks after notification of my acceptance. That deadline fell on the Thursday of my Spring Break. My past three Spring Breaks have been spent in Panama City Beach, Florida ministering to spring breakers with a ministry near and dear to my heart--Beach Reach. Despite my desire to serve yet another year there, I had direction from the Lord months ago to spend my time at home, hanging out with family, as I was expecting that I would get accepted to move overseas. Acceptance came, my friends left for Beach Reach, and I was left with a break with no specific plans and a large deposit due. I racked my brain for ways gather the funds. I had a little bit of money saved from my campus tutoring jobs, and I was able to clean my aunt's house for a little more. Still lacking, though. I got a call from my grandma while waiting in the carpool line to pick my cousin up from high school. They had been trying every way possible to purchase an airline ticket for me as an early graduation present, but it simply wouldn't work because I had no intended return date. (SO weird, right?) Well, she and my granddad had heard from my dad about my deposit that was due, and she was calling to say that she had just put money into my account for the deposit instead. Of course I was immediately grateful, especially because the amount was exactly (to the dollar) what I lacked! Wise words from this grandma who walks closely with the Lord encouraged my heart and reminded me of the specific, intimate love of my Savior. She spoke over the phone and reminded me of how nothing would seem to work with the plane ticket, that she had intended to help with that specific purchase, but that the Lord had different intentions for her money--to help me make this deadline for my acceptance deposit. Something so simple, but so intricate. Maybe others wouldn't look twice at this "coincidence" but I know my God meets all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19). Want to know another cool part? My brother and I had lunch to catch up with my other set of grandparents and they blessed me with more financial help for the deposit, leaving me money to live off of at school. Just like the flowers of the field and the birds of the air are provided for, so much more are we who are dearly loved and made in the image of our Creator!

So...Deposit? Check! I was relieved to have that pass and to see more and more confirmation of the Lord's leading in me moving and serving overseas.

So then comes serious email number two. Plane tickets arrangements were going to be booked soon, so I needed to be prepared to purchase them. For all of you affluent world travelers, you know that plane tickets like that are not exactly cheap, but in flooded that same familiar peace that covered all my anxiety. I wasn't going to worry about it. Plus, saying"booked soon" is such a relative, non-specific time period anyhow, right? I was expecting a few weeks to a month or so to gather the funds. Man oh man, was I quite wrong.

I woke up this past Tuesday morning, went through my morning routine, drank my coffee, and actually decided to check my email before sitting down to read my Bible. The email I got went something like this: "We are finalizing flight arrangements. Below are the tentative plans. You have 72 hours (aka by Friday) to purchase our international flight tickets." Imagine my thoughts as I sat there, completely lacking in money. All I knew to do was continue into what was next--reading the Word. Fitting enough was a verse in my devotion for the morning. Matthew 6:8, "...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." He already knew the mountain I was about to have to climb--in fact scripture promises that the Lord Himself has already climbed that mountain before me and is walking beside me.  ("The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8) Kinda cool that Kimberly and I, a sweet friend I meet with weekly, had memorized this verse earlier this semester. And also so very intricate that the Lord spoke into my life that same wonderful, all-powerful peace that surpasses all understanding.

So I sent a quick email to my grandparents letting them know the situation, sent a text to two of my roommates about everything and told the other as we walked out of the apartment for class. No need to frantically freak out--even though in my book, something like this grants a freak-out moment. I went to my CPR class, took a test that took about 15 minutes tops, and then started back to my apartment. I checked my phone and had three or four texts and a few missed calls. These wonderful little messages set off the cascade of events that magnifies the Lord's faithfulness and the power of His Spirit in the body of believers. I can't even accurately describe to you the magnitude of support that began rushing in--whether it was financial or prayers. (Supposedly my roommate Veronica had sent word to just about everyone she knows about my need.) I was beginning to receive the funds, and they were coming in fast. People from connections I have made serving missions sent support. Each one of my roommates gave and had others they asked give support. I had sweet college friends stop by and give. I had friends who have graduated call to encourage me, others to send texts of encouragement, and even some people I haven't talked with in quite a while give. That night, I checked my email right after our BCM's weekly worship, and immediately became overwhelmed at what I began to understand. Just that morning, I had found out that an imaginable amount of money was due in 72 hours. And in under 11 hours, my faithful God had provided MORE than I needed to purchase my ticket!  ("Everything is possible for him who believes." Mark 9:23)

I purchased my ticket on Thursday and am officially headed to the Philippines on August 6th!

I am thankful to just step back and witness the work of the Lord. He is doing huge things. He makes all things work together for my good. So that others may know of His unfailing love. So that His name is glorified. I have been learning so much through all this and know He has so much more for me to learn as I continue on in this journey. One big thing resonates in my mind. The Lord is ALWAYS faithful. I am sometimes quick to say that the Lord was faithful again in my life, but when did He stop being faithful? He didn't. He doesn't ever. He is by nature faithful. And I intend to stand back in amazement and praise as I watch Him get His glory. I am only an empty vessel He is choosing to use. To Him be all honor and glory and praise as He works His plan in my life!

And a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far. The encouragement, prayers, financial support, hugs, love, joy and everything else that you have given is something that blesses my heart and undoubtedly serves the Lord! God is getting glory in His church!