GOOD NEWS...WE NEED ANOTHER PASSPORT!
That's right...we're adding another person to our African trip. Our 14 year old daughter A will now be going along as well.
Back when the decision was first made for me to go, we decided that I should take one of our daughter's. A was the obvious choice as the oldest but it just didn't feel right. She said she wanted to go, but it wasn't for the right reasons. She wanted to go because she wanted to get to ride in a plane and have an adventure. Her 12 year old sister B wanted to go because she has a heart for orphans and loves playing with little children.
After prayer, thought, and talking with them, we made the decision to send B to Africa with me and let A go to Nevada with her daddy to visit her grandma. Getting to fly on a plane for the first time and getting a trip with her dad while all the other siblings stayed home helped satisfy her longing for planes and adventures. She was cool with her sister going with me, was very supportive of our fundraising efforts, and was fine with being the one who'd have to really help out with the little ones while we were gone to Swaziland.
Fast forward a few weeks and hubby brings up the possibility that maybe one day ALL of us will go to Swaziland to live and minister there...as in, not just for a week or two but forever! At which point all our children start getting very, very excited and wanting to sell it all (well, almost all, not the gameboy or stuffed animals, of course) and move to Africa immediately. That is, all but our oldest daughter. She makes it very clear that its fine if WE move to Africa, but SHE doesn't want any part of it. She likes her church, has her friends, and is perfectly content with her American life. And since her daddy has said that if we go it probably wouldn't happen til he retires in 6 years, she's okay with it since she'll be gone to college by then and wouldn't have to go.
So about a month or so ago we were driving somewhere and I started talking to her about the whole situation. I told her that her daddy and I wanted to be obedient to God and do whatever He wanted us to do with our lives...whether that meant to stay put here or go to Africa. And that's what we wanted for our kids. We wanted them to love God so much that they would want His will for them more than anything else in the world. I asked her if she would please just pray about it and ask God to help her be WILLING to go. I told her that didn't mean He'd necessarily call us to go, but I wanted her to at least be willing to obey His call whatever it is for her life and for our family. She grudgingly agreed to pray about it but I could tell she was thinking "I'll pray about it but He sure better not tell me to go live in Africa!"
As y'all know, a week ago someone gave us $4000 which put us not only to our goal that we had to raise for our trip, but put us OVER our goal and gave us a surplus of between $1000 and $1500. Of course, this gave my faith a HUGE boost and reminded me that if God calls our whole family to overseas ministry, He has the provision to provide!
On Wednesday night, I was looking at the blog of a missionary family who lives in Swaziland. The Blacks have 6 kids, 4 of which are teenagers. In the family blogs they shared letters that the kids had written about their spiritual journey to Africa and the ministry that they wanted to do there. And they have a video posted of the kids now that they have been there for a few months talking about their life and how they see God working.
This had a huge impact on Anna. She said that until then, Swaziland seemed just like a dreamland that I always talked about. But seeing the Black kids and how "normal" they are, made her realize that its a real place that real teenagers like her can really go to and make a difference.
She said to me after seeing the video, "I wish I could go to Swaziland with you and B." I was amazed! I really thought she didn't want to go. I asked her about it and she said that she'd changed her mind. She had heard her daddy talking about how going over there was going to change B's life and how she viewed the world. That combined with seeing real kids just like her ministering in Africa clenched the deal for her. She was ready to go. Her heart had been changed. Now it wasn't just a fun plane ride, now it was a chance to have God change her life as she ministered to others in a world totally different than her own.
I immediately went to hubby and told him what A had said. His initial reaction was basically "no way". He's an engineer and very practical (which I need and value) so he saw all the hoops that would have to be jumped thru INCLUDING who would take care of the younger kids since we'd been counting on A to really hold down the fort while I was gone. My mom had said she'd come for a few days, but she's never kept that many all on her own since she's started having some health issues. But we ended the conversation saying we'd pray about it but God would have to make it very clear that it was His will and He'd have to prepare the way by getting my mom's okay and the okay from the man in charge of the trip.
Yesterday afternoon, while doing my walk, I prayed about it. I asked God that if it was His will that He'd speak to my husband about it. I asked God that if it wasn't His will that He'd slam the door shut soundly and we'd know it. But if He wanted her to go, that it would be abundantly obvious.
About 15 minutes later, Jim got home and the first thing he said was, "let's seriously talk about Anna going to Africa". He brought up a few practical concerns and it looked like we'd be able to deal with all of them. He would be able to take off a bunch of time from work, and with my mom coming, and friends pitching in to help some, it could work.
We spent more time praying about it with our cell group last night.
I asked for prayers from you gals, my FIAR small group, a couple of local friends, and then I called my mom.
She said "yes". She'd be willing to let A go and not be here to help her.
I called Children's HopeChest. They said "yes"!
Y'all...let me tell you, I was trembling this morning as we waited word back from Children's HopeChest. I was really feeling very strongly that God was directing this decision and wanted her to go. I had no guarantee, but the spirit was just so strong with me...it was almost overwhelming. And when we got the word that she could go, you can only imagine the hyper, happy, rejoicing that was going on in our household.
Oh, and I should add, her two younger brothers, the 10 and 8 year old, are being so sweet about the whole thing and are already talking about how they are going to really be big helpers while we're gone and make things easier for Daddy and Grandmommy.
I stand amazed at how incredible God is. NOTHING is too big for Him. NOTHING is too impractical for Him. NOTHING is too hard for Him.
He is the God of overabundance. He is the God of provision. He is the God of direction and wisdom. He is the God of who loves us so very much that He allows us to participate in His kingdom's work.
I am giddy today with thanksgiving in my heart.
What an awesome God I serve.
WOO-HOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M GOING TO AFRICA WITH MY 2 BIG GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you're interested, here's the link to the letters that the Black kids wrote about their family going to Africa:
Here's the link to their video: