Thursday, March 8, 2012

...God's leading to Peru 2012's time...time to tell my story of the beginnings of my journey to Peru this summer.

For 2 years now, I have known that God has been preparing me for this. In January 2010, God made it very clear that it was time for me to simplify my life a bit more, sell my house, get rid of some possessions, and be FREE to follow after Him. So, I put my house on the market, I started purging out my possessions and I began a LONG wait.

Long story short, my house did not sell immediately, in fact I really thought God might of forgotten about the plan He had for me seeing as my roommates moved out and I was ALONE in the house for a little over a year. Not what I had expected.

But the year alone was good, difficult, but good. I learned to trust and depend on God in a way I hadn't been doing previously. You see, on paper, it was nearly impossible for me to afford the house payment by myself...let alone my other bills. In that year, God showed me ONCE AGAIN, that HE is my Provider. He wanted me to rely on HIM ALONE.

When I returned home from a missions trip to Peru in June 2011, I had a buyer for my home...and let's just say, life started moving...real fast!

Last November, I was on a plane back to Peru (this time to journey with my best friends to bring their long awaited adopted daughter home)...and I remember praying..."God, I NEED to hear you SCREAM what You are doing in my life. I know Scripture tells us that He speaks sometimes in a still small voice, but I was very specific with HIM and I asked Him to scream. I wanted to know exactly what He was up to. I was grateful for this 3.5 weeks to be away from home and to just get alone with Him.

The day after I arrived in Peru, we found out that again, God was moving fast and the adoption would be finalized much quicker than planned, which meant we'd only be there for 1.5 weeks...major praise! Which also allowed me to go spend 4 days at Hannah's Home {a children's home}, a place I have served at the last 4 years and have completely grown to love. Usually when I am there, I am responsible for 20+ people as I am there leading a mission trip. This time, it was just and God.

The 1st night I was there I felt so alone when I was finally in my room. I remember the loneliness was nearly overwhelming. I had no phone, no internet {in my room}...and I KNOW God planned it that way. I grabbed my Bible and a stack of cards that a dear friend had given me...when I opened the 1st card there it was JEREMIAH 29:11 on the front of it...and the tears immediately filled my eyes and spilled down my face. I felt like God just grabbed me and pulled me up in His lap and said..."child, I have your story...I've got GREAT plans for can trust Me!"

Jeremiah 29:11
I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

I cannot tell you how many times I read and re-read that verse that night...I know I have read that verse so many times, but that meant so much more than ever. It was HIS word...JUST FOR ME.

The next day, I found myself on a ladder, in a cafeteria {that I'd been in many many times} eye level, with a paint roller in hand, painting OVER....yep, JEREMIAH 29:11. Coincidence??? Don't think so...I just had to smile in my heart...God was couldn't be more clear.

The next day I was asked to work with the children {by myself, without a translator} on making Christmas Cards for their sponsors. Ok, so I know a little spanish...I can understand it better than I can speak it, and I had 8 children that day that didn't speak much English...good times! We made it work... One-word sentences, lots of hand gestures...and lots of laughter! {mostly them laughing at me...and saying..."Hermana Amy...nooooo...."} When I was helping the youngest lil guy...I managed to ask him {in Spanish} what he wanted to write on his card...and I about fell over when he looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said in perfect English {in the sweetest lil voice} "for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord...plans to give you a hope and a future." {tears again and jaw on the ground}...I looked at him and said..."Jeremiah 29:11???"...."si! si!" he replied.

Really??? Let's see here...writing on the wall, now a audible voice...hmmmmmm...God's speaking?, um at this point, I think He was raising His voice at me...:)

...that night, I was back in my room, and I had brought a book to Peru with me that I'd been wanting to read that one of my client's had given me several months prior and I just hadn't had time. Wouldn't you know that very night the place I was at in the book was talking about Jeremiah 29:11-14

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 13-14"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.

God talking loudly??? YES!

I decided to get serious about finding Him...I wanted it all...everything He had prepared for me...I began asking Him to show me every step to take...

That Sunday, we went to church in Lima. Wouldn't you know...there was a visiting pastor from the states...preaching in English...and part of his message was on JEREMIAH 29:11-14...ok, at this point I am really laughing out loud, through my tears...and I just had to look up and smile because God was answering my prayer...He was SCREAMING at me that He already had things written for me...and He was revealing them.

{While I was at the children's home earlier that week, I was asked to pray about an opportunity for Summer 2012. An opportunity to co-lead a missions discipleship program for college age students...for 8 weeks. I wanted to say YES immediately, but I knew that with a decision like this, I needed to KNOW this is what God wanted and I needed Him to confirm it in Scripture. So again, I was seriously asking God to show me and make it very clear that this is what He had for me.}

2 days prior to leaving Peru, I went to borrow {Laci's} ipod charger that was in her room at the apartment we were staying at in Lima. It was laying right on top of her journal that just "happened" to have JEREMIAH 29:11 engraved on the front of makes me laugh even now to remember that moment. I picked it up, put it in Laci's face and said..."do ya think God is trying to say something to me???" and then He reminded me..."uh, you asked me to SCREAM at you...member?" :) oh, yah...ok. :)

So, fast forward...I get back home, and I began to search Scripture, pray and discern about this opportunity. I remember one day, I received a text from a friend saying she was praying that God would make it very clear to me what I was supposed to do...that day when I was reading in Ephesians this verse stuck out to me...

Ephesians 1:16-17
But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers,

I asked Him to make my eyes focused and clear so I could see EXACTLY what He was leading me towards...

2 days later, I received an email from Jim {in Peru} telling me that he had the packet of info about the summer program, and did I want to see it, he understood if I didn't, he didn't want to persuade my decision. I told him to go ahead and send it...

That night, when I was reading again in Ephesians I read these verses...and then sat straight up in bed when I realized what God was saying to me...

1-3In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

4-6You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.


It couldn't be more clear...

The next morning, I emailed Jim and TKay in Peru to tell them my decision was YES!

I kid you not, as soon as I sent the email to them, Jim's email WITH the packet of information came back to was as if God was saying...the decision was between Me and you...and He didn't want anything to cloud it. Because after reading the packet...I was 10x more excited about the opportunity that was in front of me...

So, fast forward to today...I am both feet in in preparing for this journey and I am eagerly anticipating this adventure!

I will be co-leading this program with David M. and God has given us 7 college girls who will be spending 8 weeks with us in Peru as we live in community and serve with Jim, TKay, the ChildReach Staff and children at Hannah's. I am humbled and excited that I GET TO invest my life and the experiences that God has given me into these girls lives. Our summer will be focused on discipleship through missions along with studying the book of Romans as we learn who God is, what He wants us to be, and what He desires to do with our individual lives.

I covet your prayers for our team.

I will use this blog to update my journey prior to going and while I am there. I'm so grateful for all the encouragement and support I have already received...I am blessed.

Mission to Peru: May 20-August 4
Resting in HIS Faithfulness, definitely NOT disappointed, and COUNTING on Him to keep surprising me with HIS AMAZING PLAN! {Jeremiah 29:11-14}