YES Nicaragua, and I cannot wait!Mission work has sparked an interest in me since I was little. I’ve always loved the idea of going somewhere brand new to meet and share the love of Christ with people. I let the logistics of mission work discourage me from joining a team. I would think to myself, “I DO NOT have money to go on anyone’s mission trip.” and “I probably wont have the time. Maybe after college.” It is so easy to let the “what-if’s” drown out your passions and deepest desires. For some reason, we have a hard time running towards our dreams. God is still working on that aspect of me, but clearly I’m making progress because I’ve finally created a blog and in a little more than a month I will be on my way to Nicaragua! Okay, so now let me share the crazy story of how I got connected with the trip.
In early June I started to notice the Nicaragua mission trip advertisements. The team was looking for people that wanted to go, and had just started to raise money for the trip. I thought it would be worth looking in to but after hearing that it would be held in January, I automatically decided it was a no-go. I didn’t want to miss school. I didn’t think about the trip much more until a few months passed by (early October). As those months passed, school started to get very shaky for me. Everything I had been working towards for a few years was coming to an end (I will talk more about this in another post soon). I was completely devastated, but I knew it just meant God had a better plan for me. Anyway, everything that was going on with school forced me to see things from a completely different perspective than I had in the past. I started to think about what I highly valued in my life in comparison to what my life actually consisted of. I realized everything that was happening in my school situation had brought me to a place where I was forced to solely focus and rely on God.
While all of this was going on, the topic of mission trips started to randomly come up in conversations I had with people. My friend Monica shared with me her experiences as a long-term missionary in Bosnia. Another friend Carissa, who had no idea of my situation, shared with me her experience with a not-so-good school situation that pushed her to go on a short-term mission trip in Morocco. So, needless to say, the Nicaragua trip was back on my mind. After hearing their stories I went and researched a lot about mission trips, the country of Nicaragua and what to expect during a mission trip. I went to find out the details of the trip and was told that it would cost $1,000 total, it was going to be in mid-January and I needed to get a passport like yesterday! All I could think about was how IMPOSSIBLE it would be to raise enough money for the trip AND get my first passport in time. The group had been raising money since June and I was just starting in October. Not to mention, I had to apply for my passport in Pennsylvania and all of the documents I needed were in my home state of New York. I really doubted I would be able to go because of the serious time crunch I was on. The team leader needed everything in very early to get things situated.
After explaining the whole situation to my mom, she assured me that she would send the necessary documents ASAP. She also told me to make a GoFundMe account to raise the money. I laughed at the idea, not having a clue how quickly it would help me raise the money. This was the beginning of my revelation that God absolutely wanted me on that trip and would not have things go any other way! Two days in a row after I made the GoFundMe Account (October 25th), I woke up to these articles about mission trips (look at the dates on the articles if you don’t believe me!) It was UNREAL! Even more surreal, with 8 donations, I made $1,050 in TWO days. By God’s grace I reached my goal of $1,500 just a week later!! The money was raised with 14 different donations, each with a heartfelt piece of encouragement. I received my documents, applied and received my passport about 2 1/2 weeks after I raised the money. I was at a complete loss for words. I just kept thinking, “is this reeeaally happening?!.” At that point it seemed like God was PUSHING me in the direction of the trip. It was no longer a choice of mine, but more of a purpose to fulfill. I think its safe to say that God wants me there for a very specific reason.
I can’t wait to serve in Nicaragua along with my fellow team members and church family. I have already learned so much through this experience. I’ve learned to trust in God’s plan for me, and to take each disappointment lightly because each one has an opportunity to turn into something great and way beyond my understanding. I’ve learned some of the ways God sends His confirmation. I’ve learned that nothing can stop His plans for us, and that worrying is pretty pointless because He ALWAYS provides.
Proverbs 19:21 ESV
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.