At this very moment I’m on a plane flying to Newark, NJ. Once I get there I have a seven hour layover before hopping a plane to Brussels, Belgium, and from there I’ll grab a flight to Kigali, Rwanda. Right now I feel so blessed and fortunate to be on this trip because it almost didn’t happen. It almost didn’t happen for me because my faith was timid.
Let me first say that the Lord knows that I love to travel. I love most everything about it (except staying overnight in airports). I love the airport, I love being on a plane, I love navigating different city’s and going from here to there. God has put an adventurers spirit in me that requires fulfillment and over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling and I’m so thankful for that. If you’re not sure that God knows your desires, and wants to see them fulfilled as much as you do, let me tell you that he DOES!
Many of you know that Trina and I are going to Rwanda this summer on a mission’s trip with our church (www.newlifechurch.tv). It’s something we’ve been dreaming and praying about for a year or so now and it’s finally coming to fruition this year. Well, about a month or so ago I was asked if I’d be interested in going with a small leadership team that would go to Rwanda in order to train and determine the areas that we could serve in when returning with a larger group later in the summer. Before I tell you about my initial answer to this opportunity and the lesson I learned let me tell you about the amazing relationships that have been formed leading up to this trip and the opportunities those relationship have afforded us.
We’ve been blessed to be able to partner up with two amazing organizations; the first being Bridge2Rwanda (www.bridge2rwanda.org) and TOMS shoes (www.tomsshoes.com). Bridge2rwanda is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the “resurrection” of Rwanda after the devastating genocide that the country experienced in 1994. B2R has people living and working within Rwanda to help educate the people of Rwanda so that they will have the skills necessary to bring their economy back to life.
During this genocide there were approximately 1.17 million people massacred. Due to that devastating event Rwanda’s economy and social infrastructure was devastated. Fast-forward 16 years and the country has experienced a mending and forgiveness that can only be described as a God breathed miracle. There is no other way to explain the forgiveness and reconciliation seen between victim and perpetrator than the fact that God has moved on this country. When you read and learn about the unimaginable things that were done to the people in Rwanda at the hands of their own neighbors and countrymen, it’s unthinkable that there could be any capacity for human forgiveness. The only way to label it is supernatural.
We’ve also had the awesome opportunity to work with TOMS shoes. They’re slogan “One for One” describes their mission to assure that every child/person in need has a pair of shoes. So we’ll be helping with a TOMS “Shoe Drop”, where we’ll be handing out anywhere from 1000 to 1500 pairs of shoes. When we bring the larger group in the summer I’ve heard we’ll be handing out somewhere close to 30,000 pairs of shoes.
Ok, so let’s get back to the lesson I learned through the events leading up to going on this trip. Like I said earlier, I was given the opportunity initially to accompany some leaders from our church on this trip and my initial response was that, sure I wanted to go but I thought the cost associated with going, in addition to the funds we were working on raising for our summer trip were just too much to ask. So I told them no, that I didn’t think I’d be able to go. It didn’t take too long for me to regret that decision but the spots for the trip filled quickly. I resolved that it must not have been God’s plan for me to go, but I still wanted to go. So I started believing for another opportunity to come up for me to go. Now, remember at this point, I don’t have the money to go, I haven’t applied for my passport yet, and all the spots for the trip have been filled.
One day I was talking to my mom and I was telling her about the opportunity and all that was involved. She said to me, “Well, are you going!” ? I told her that I didn’t have the money and all the spaces had been filled so I wasn’t going. She said, “I’d give you the money.” At that moment I couldn’t believe that I’d had so little faith in God’s ability to provide the way. So at this point, I’ve got a commitment for the money to go to Rwanda but there’s not a spot available and I’d just applied for my passport on 3/3/10 and they were leaving on 3/26/10. It still didn’t appear that I was going to be able to go still but I knew that God could provide a way and so I continued to believe for it. I’ll spare you all the details because this post has already gotten much longer than I intended. Through a series of conversations (unknown to me) there was another spot that was made available for me and it just so happened to come about the day that the plane tickets HAD to be purchased. So I told Jared (the pastor leading our team) that I was IN!! I couldn’t believe how this all had come about. I mean it was literally THE day that the tickets had to be ordered and I was getting a call telling me that I could go. What an awesome example of faith at work and God coming through.
I was amazed at what God had put together in such a short amount of time and under such unusual circumstances. The piece of the puzzle but the most important was that I didn’t have a passport yet. THAT’S KINDA IMPORTANT. So I called the State Department and they said they’d just received my application (3/10/10). I asked them if I could expedite the application and have it overnighted and thankfully they said yes, I could. So after a couple of hounding calls to them by me asking to make sure it was going to make it by the 3/26 departure date I got my passport on 3/18, just 8 days before we were to leave. All the pieces were in place and I was going to Rwanda. All this happened within a matter of two weeks.
I wrote all of this (and sorry it’s so long) to let those that are reading it know that God can do huge things but you first have to BELIEVE. I wonder how many opportunities and amazing things I’ve missed out on in my life because I’ve had timid faith. I’ve never really thought that I had a problem with faith but I realized that depending on the situation and whether it’s something I think is too big that I have lacked the faith necessary to see things happen. Well, I’ve learned my lesson. No more selling God short. No more having weak faith. All I have to do is Believe It and Claim It…… God HAS done the rest.