Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our red-head goes on a journey {part 2}

How do you prepare a teenager to see a world she has never seen before?

Of course there are the practical things.
Finding a local place that accepts a passport application.
Learning that we would have to send off for an original birth certificate (that we never needed before) from the state we don't live in anymore.

Figuring out all the documentation necessary to apply for a visa necessary for entry into the country.
Sending the brand new passport and original birth certificate back to Washington, D.C with lots of prayer that it returns in time for the trip.

Researching and praying about all the recommended vaccinations.
Deciding what she would and would not receive.
Finding the local health department that gives the mandatory yellow fever vaccination along with documentation that is necessary to enter the country.

It was an amazing opportunity for all us parents to have the missionary Lexi's team would be working with in Ghana at our church for several months in the fall.
He did several training sessions with all the team members as well as for the family members.
We were able to learn some songs in the Twe (Tree) language, as well as sample some of the food typically served in that region.
We learned about malaria and the different medications available to prevent it.
We learned about the appropriate clothing to wear in a culture that is predominately muslim.
He also taught us how the people there worship many gods and often view Jesus Christ simply as another god to worship.

Lexi also spent a couple days in Child Evanglism seminars and learned how to do these:

Then, of course, there was the physical packing:
She needed bedding.
And craft supplies for VBS.
And American OTC remedies for bodily upsets.
And bug spray....
with deet.
And lots of sunscreen.....
because she is a ginger.
Clothes....for 15 days....with no guarantee of laundry facilities.
And anti-bacterial wipes.....
for Mom's sake.

But was it all enough?
How do you prepare your child to see the world...through the eyes of the Loving Father who created it?
To feel His heartbeat for those souls who may never hear of His work completed on the cross that they might spend eternity with Him.
To see past poverty....
Cultural differences?
To see what our God sees?
That we all depend on that next breath, and sleep, and a little nourishment.
And that often what seems to widen the gap between us is what actually draws us very near to each other.......that gnawing void in each and every human, no matter what color or country native we are.
That need for Jesus. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Our red-head goes on a journey {part 1}

Over a year ago, our oldest daughter came home from youth group at church nearly breathless with excitement.
"Do you know where the mission's trip is going to be next year (2013)?"
" Africa."
"Can I go, Mom?"

She was not yet 15.
But then, this child has always been fearless.
I once told my husband (who sometimes hesitates with a touch of fear),

"Fear is simply denying the presence of God in your life."

Our only "ginger" has rarely struggled with fear....of anything.
In fact, I've often described her as a  wild horse that we have been given with a long-flowing, tangled, red mane.  We are simply along for the ride and struggle everyday to keep control of the reins!!

From infancy, this child has thought outside the box.
She got bored quickly with her toys.
She loved to play outside.
She hated naps.
She seemed to hate sleep in general.
She talked ALL the time.
She was a social butterfly who loved people....ALL people.
And, she was constantly doing something with something in her hands.
This was the child who made a donation box from an oatmeal carton and went door-to-door in our neighborhood to collect money to help those affected by Hurricane 2005...when she was 8.
She came home with $45...which we took to our local Kroger's donation center.
This is the child who just a year ago, with tears in her eyes, made me take her to a place where she could use her own money to buy a homeless man some lunch.
He told us we were "angels."
These were all gifts for this Mama.
To count the ways God was working in her heart....we had nothing to do with this.

When she was not yet 13, a group of youth started preparing for what would have been her very first opportunity to go on an international mission trip.
We thought there was no-way we were sending her that young.
Not when she rarely had her head out of the clouds.

But I knew she would be chomping at the bit to go at the very next opportunity!!

We had been preparing her for this.
Praying for God to give her a heart to think outside of herself.
To want to share her faith with those who might never have an opportunity to hear.
To not be overly focused with material possessions and having all the latest designer bags and creams and lotions and bling.
We want her to be less entangled with the things of this world, so she can go wherever God might call her to go and be able to focus on people.
To learn to do more with less.
To use her ingenious imagination and figure out ways to serve Him with what He's already given her.

When we trust that He is a good God, and we open our hand to receive the gifts He gives us everyday, we learn to surrender to His will for us.

"I either take the "what is it?" manna with thanks, eat the mystery of the moment with trust, and am nourished another day - or refuse it....and die.  Jesus calls me to surrender and there's nothing like releasing fears and falling into peace.  It terrifies, true.  But it exhilarates......
There is no joy without trust!
To the Enfleshed Yes who said yes to this moment and yes to last year's illness and yes to the cracks of my childhood and yes to the nail and yes to my name in the Book of Life, hear me say YES!
Not "I'm worried."
Not "I'm stressed out."
Not "I'm anxious."
Not "I'm too afraid."
Hear me say thank you.
Hear me say YES!  
Watch me live a life of yes. To all that was and is and is to come.
The power of sin and death and fear-sent-from-the-Enemy are forever ended because we can trust in the bridge even it it's caving, in God even when it's black, in manna-nourishment even when we don't know what it is.
The God whom we thank for fulfilling the promises of the past will fulfill His promises again.
In Christ, the answer to the questions of every moment is always Yes."
~Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts

So, we said YES!!