NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Response to Hardship

This past week has been crazy busy with all sorts of things, big important work duties, a friend’s wedding, my brother’s birthday. But then yesterday, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. My mom started having severe nerve pain that just would not stop. Sometimes it was so bad she started crying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mom in such pain. Add onto that work stuff frustrating my Dad, and pet concerns worrying my sister and I suddenly felt like I was stuck in the middle of multiple spiritual attacks.

But in the midst of it, I felt like God was telling me to just worship Him. To take my eyes off of all the problems and fears and worries and stress and just worship Him. So I started singing, I started meditating on scripture, and I grabbed my Dad and asked him to pray with me. Not all the problems went away. My mom is still in a lot of pain, my sister still has pet issues and I’m not sure what to do to help. But I felt a sense of God’s peace, when I stopped and worshiped last night. And I want to hold onto that. Even in the midst of storms, He is present. Even when life is hard, He is still good. Even when you don’t see a way out, He has a plan. I’m learning to hold on to Him and trust Him for myself and others.

So I’m still in the midst of the storm and I’d appreciate the prayers. I’m so thankful that I can ask my brothers and sisters in Christ for help and support. But I’m also in the arms of my Loving Father and I trust that He will bring me and my family through this current trial.

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Revival

It’s hard seeing disaster after disaster come up on my news-feed and being reminded again and again that this world isn’t perfect and that so many people are hurting. I’ve been reading in the major prophets section of the Bible: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. And it struck me how much devastation the nation of Israel had to endure. It reminded me of what has been going on in my world: natural disasters, killings, political unrest, fear and just a sadness that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

And inevitably people try to come up with solutions to these problems. Maybe we need more gun control, or a better education system, or we need to take care of our planet better. I don’t know what ideas will or won’t work. But I know the problem is really so much bigger than any of those things. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try them out, or attempt to make things better. But there’s only so much we as humans can do to change the world.

And this morning, I felt like what God was telling me was that what we really need is revival. We need to turn back to God. Over and over God told the Israelites that the reason He was letting them go through such hard circumstances was because they had stopped following Him and He was reminding them that He really is God. He is patient and loving but He wants us to turn to Him even if it will cause us some initial pain. Because living without Him is the worst possible thing. I’ve heard some people say that suffering is God’s megaphone. It’s His way to get our attention when nothing else will.

I feel like with all that’s going on in our world, that God is calling us back to Himself and a great revival will start. So that’s what I’m going to start fasting and praying for, because I know that what people really need is Jesus. He is the answer to all of these problems. He is our only hope. So if you follow Him as well, I hope you’ll join me in fasting and praying for revival. And if you don’t, I hope you take some time to think about life and where your hope comes from.

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Mission Trips

It’s summer time and many people are going on short term mission trips. Often it’s students, sometimes it’s adults, but there always seems to be some sort of mission trip going on. In the past year I’ve seen more and more articles about why people should not go on short term mission trips. When I first read them, I thought a lot of their reasoning seemed valid. It costs a lot of money to travel and if that money was sent to the local missionaries instead of paying for a plane ticket it could really help them out.

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I feel like I disagree. Mission trips, even short ones can be very good and useful in God’s Kingdom. I agree with a lot of what is said in these articles. I can definitely see how these trips can turn into tourist vacations, and hurt rather than help a local community of Christians. But I think the articles are overlooking something important.

Why do we even go on mission trips? What is the purpose? If the purpose is only to make yourself feel good about helping others, I can definitely see their point of being able to do that in your own community and not needing to raise a lot of support money to travel. But what we do as Christians is a lot bigger than just human plans, and helping people. We’re following Jesus’s plan and building His Kingdom. I don’t know why He chooses to do things the way He does, but I don’t doubt that His is the best plan.

Before I’ve gone on any mission trip, I’ve done a lot of praying, asking Jesus if He wants me to go. Because at the end of the day, people’s opinions about your trip whether they think it’s great, or a waste of money, doesn’t matter. What matters is if you are obeying Jesus. Money is no problem for Him, it all belongs to Him anyway. If He wants to take you half way around the world, He will provide a way, and if He wants you to stay where you are and reach out to the people around you, He can help you be bold and live differently. So ultimately, it’s not about us and what we think, it’s about Jesus and what He wants. This is His kingdom after all, not ours.

But I can also see a few advantages to mission trips, that are harder to recreate if you simply stay at home. One is your level of comfort. You can definitely find ways of being uncomfortable in your own city, but leaving your country is a big step. And God does some of His best work when we have to rely on Him. It’s easy to try to handle all the little problems of life yourself, when you’re at home, but when you’re in a foreign country, can’t speak much of the language, and don’t have all of the things and people you normally rely on, it forces you to seek God more consistently and desperately.

Also, there’s something special about traveling with a group of people. Because you spend all of your time together, on planes, buses, and walking through foreign streets, you really develop close relationships which is harder to do at home. Because you’ve all committed to go together, you learn to rely on each other, open up to each other and disciple each other. You can do the same things at home, but it really helps when you’re cut off from your normal routines and forced to actually spend time with people. Traveling also tends to limit your use of certain technologies like text messages and phone calls, so that you can focus more on where you are and what you’re doing at that moment with the people around you.

And lastly, going on a mission trip opens up the opportunity for you to meet people you otherwise would have never met and develop lasting relationships and a deeper interest and care in their ministry. It’s one thing to read a newsletter from a missionary you support, it’s a whole other thing to spend the day with them; seeing what they do on a day to day basis, who they interact with, what situations they face, and how you can better support, encourage, and pray for them. I have developed several close relationships with missionaries and I care more about what they’re doing because I’ve seen them doing it. I might never have supported them and continued to care for them, if I hadn’t gone on a mission trip to where they are serving.

So, I guess what I want to say is, even if you have reservations about a mission trip, or someone else’s mission trip, remember that it’s easy to judge, it’s harder to obey, then pray and ask God what He’s doing and ask if He wants you to be a part of it.

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Dealing with Anxiety

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I have heard a lot about anxiety in my lifetime. People who have severe anxiety share their suggestions of ways to deal with it. There are countless books, articles and suggestions out there if you want help. But, well, I feel like I have a bit of a unique perspective, so I thought I’d share too. I can get anxious just like anyone. I’ve been nervous with speaking in front of a crowd, or being alone. I have my own worries and fears. But I don’t think it was ever serious. I never took medication, got counseling or anything like that. I was just a normal kid with normal problems. However, my sister went through and continues to deal with severe anxiety and panic attacks. Most of the advice out there is for people dealing with anxiety for themselves. But there isn’t as much advice for what to do if your friend, or relative, is struggling. What is actually helpful? And what just makes it worse? We all know good intentions don’t mean it’s what will actually help. So here are a few things I’ve learned.

5 Tips on Helping Someone with Anxiety

1. Don’t tell them what to do
Just because you read it in a book, doesn’t mean it will help. This goes for my own advice too. I may give a suggestion that was helpful in my sister’s situation, but wouldn’t help someone else. Don’t assume you understand someone else’s problem or can solve it for them. Often times they don’t want to hear any advice on what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Unless they ask, don’t tell them what to do.

2. Listen
One of the hardest parts of dealing with any problem, is feeling alone, like no one understands you. If you want to be a good friend, listen to what your friend says and believe them. There were so many times that my sister complained about her stomach hurting that many people thought she was making it up, or it was all in her head. But I believed her and told her I believed her. And knowing that at least one person doesn’t think you’re crazy can be such an encouragement.

3. Be present
This may be hard, especially if you live far away or are really busy, but it really shows you care. For my sister, I will give her a hug to show her I’m there with her (since I’m already around her a lot). Some people don’t like physical contact. But at least for my sister, giving her a hug, even one that lasts for a really long time, can help her calm down. It may look awkward to someone else who is watching, but I don’t care. I want my sister to know that I care for her when she’s hurting or scared, so I gave her a hug, or put my arm around her while we sit. I don’t have to say anything, just be there with her. Even if you don’t give hugs, find ways to be physically present with your friend. Go to their house if they can’t get out. Make the effort to be with them. And if you live too far away, maybe have a Skype chat.

4. Take away the pressure by being patient and letting go of expectations
We all feel pressure to do things, to live up to other’s expectations. These expectations can cause anxiety for anyone, and make things worse for someone who already deals with it constantly. Letting them know that they won’t disappoint you if they can’t come to the event, leave the house, or do the thing you wanted to do together can really relieve the anxiety. Countless times I’ve told my sister, “You don’t have to go. It’s not the end of the world.” Or “If we do this, it’ll be fun and if we don’t it’s okay. I’m fine either way.” I let her make the decision to do something if she’s ready to do it. And if she’s not, I don’t get upset. (This can be hard to do, and I don’t always do the best at it, but when I am patient, she does so much better)

5. Pray
This has been the biggest help for my sister. When she starts getting anxious she’ll ask me to pray. And I do, whether for her stomach to stop hurting or for God to give her peace. Sometimes I start praying and end up thanking God for her and how much He loves her and me. It helps me and my sister remember that even when we can’t do anything about the situation, He can.

 

So there’s my 5 tips. I hope they are helpful for you.

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Bridge of Spies and Worry

Bridge of Spies

A couple weeks ago I got to watch the Bridge of Spies with my family. It was a very well done movie and if you like dramas, or historical films, you’d love this one. Tom Hanks always does a fantastic job in his movies and this one is no exception. I loved the story and the characters, but the one thing that stuck out to me from the whole movie was a line that Rudolf Abel says several times. He is a Soviet sent to America to serve his country. In his eyes he has done nothing wrong. But he gets caught up in all of the drama of the Cold War and is accused of being a spy and even threatened with death. Then he is sentenced to jail and later offered as an exchange for an American prisoner. But in all of the tough circumstances he constantly maintains a calm attitude. Throughout the movie other characters ask him, “Aren’t you worried?” and he responds calmly, “Would it help?”

And does it? I know I’ve spent a lot of my time worrying about little things that don’t even matter, and does it make a difference at all? No, not really. Worry accomplishes nothing, it helps no one. And even though I know this, I often still do it. So how do we stop it?

Well while I was in Mozambique, I shared a Bible story with the children about this exact thing. After acting out a skit with a fellow team member where she was really worried, I read them these verses:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!” -Luke 12:22-28 NIV

After sharing these verses, I prayed with the actor, and told the kids that instead of worrying, we could be thankful. Then the whole team helped the children make flowers out of pipe cleaners and construction paper. And I told them that they could write things they were thankful for on the flower petals to remind them not to worry and that God could take care of them.

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And I think that’s the real issue with worry. Worry comes when we think we are in control and we can change our circumstance by doing something. So we get ourselves all worked up thinking about all the things we can do, to make sure it goes the right way (our way). We try to predict what could go wrong and how to fix it. We might even try to make sure everyone is happy. But in the end we only wear ourselves out and often no matter how much we planned or worried or stressed, it still doesn’t come together the way we hoped.

I think the reason that Rudolf Abel was not worried, was that he knew and accepted that he was not in control. He didn’t stress about his circumstances because he knew he couldn’t change them. And I think when we do the same thing with God and accept that He is the one in control, not us, then it’s a lot easier to relax and stop worrying. Because ultimately God is in control and what He has planned is good. It may not be what we expect or want, but it is good. And I think that’s one of the big things I learned from going to Mozambique. I didn’t try to be in control while I was on the trip. I just held my plans loosely and laughed when they got changed. I didn’t worry about what I would say in front of a large group, or how a Bible lesson would come together, I simply trusted God and did my best. And it was so freeing.

So I want to encourage you today. You don’t have to worry either, God is in control of your life and He has the best plan. So trust Him, and if you’re still having trouble with worry, ask someone to pray with you.

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Praying and Praising

 

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For my next installment of Mozambique reflections I thought I’d focus on a lesson God was teaching me before and during the trip. Since we were in the country for 10 days (the other 4 days of our trip were traveling there and back) each of the 10 members of the team led a devotional on one of the days. My devotional fell in the middle of the trip and I decided to use James 5:13 as my starting point. It states “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” NIV ’84

For some reason God had put it on my heart to learn this verse before we even left for Africa, and during the trip I couldn’t get it out of my head. During my last mission trip to Haiti, God had taught me a lot about the importance and power of prayer. I couldn’t help thinking about that when I went on this next trip, and I wanted everyone around me to know how important it was to pray. The beginning of the verse states that if anyone has a problem, an issue, is “in trouble” then the obvious solution is to pray. That isn’t the normal reaction most people have and when I’m at home I often forget to pray too. But ever since my mission trip to Haiti, I’ve been trying to pray more often. So on this mission trip I encouraged my teammates to pray as well. And man there are a lot of opportunities to pray on a mission trip. Whether it was a car breaking down, getting lost in the countryside, or asking God to open people’s hearts to His gospel, there was always something to pray about. And it was exciting for me to see the team be proactive in praying after I shared about my experience with prayer. I’ll share two quick stories about prayer.

1. At the very beginning of our trip one of the cars broke down and we had to take it to the mechanic. We prayed that God would fix the car, but in the meantime we used our translator Dilon’s car which was much bigger and could even fit the whole team if we squeezed in. I didn’t realize till late in the trip that the only reason we used that car and could travel all together, and get to know Dilon so well was because the other car broke down. We had prayed for God to fix it, but He knew that it would be better for us to have the whole team together in one car and get to know our driver really well. I’m so glad for all of those bonding experiences and that God didn’t fix the car.

2. I think it was the day after I shared my devotional, we were trying to drive a bunch of orphans to the beach, and there were so many people that they had to pile onto the trailer since there weren’t enough seats. But once we arrived at the highway, we could see police cars waiting on the side of the road. If we pulled out on the highway we would get in trouble. So we stopped. There was supposed to be a taxi to meet us so everyone could be in a seat, but there was no taxi. We sat uncomfortably, unsure what to do. Someone asked Dilon, “What do we do?” His only response was “Pray.” So we did. And soon the taxi pulled up and the kids piled in and we drove past the police with no issue. It was amazing how quickly God answered our prayers.

All of my experiences with prayer were a good reminder for me that God is a loving Father ready to give us what’s best, and whether we ask for what’s best or not, He will give us what’s good and we can trust Him.

The second part of James 5:13 is something I hadn’t thought about as much. It said that if someone was happy, they should sing songs of praise. Now I don’t know about you, but in America I usually only break into song in my car or shower, not around other people. But in Mozambique things are very different. People sang all the time, while working, playing and worshiping. It really inspired me to not just sing when I’m at church, but sing when I’m happy and praise God throughout the week. And instead of writing a story, I thought I’d share this short video I took. It’s of some girls singing and dancing enthusiastically at one of the worship services we got to be a part of.

I hope this post encouraged you to be more proactive in praying and praising too.

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Ten Things a Christian Should Try

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I’ve seen a lot of blog posts or quizzes where we’re told places we should see, things we should try, or something we have to experience before we die. There’s food, landscapes, movies, books. Just ask and you’ll get hundreds of suggestions of what you should do. But I was thinking about this the other day, and a lot of the suggestions you get of what to do before you die are… empty. You do them and it’s fun, or yummy or pretty. But then it’s over, and that’s it. I started thinking through what things can we do that have eternal significance, that actually make a difference. So I started making a list of suggestions I would make to other Christians of things they should ‘try’ and hopefully continue to do. Anyway, it’s not in any specific order, but if you’re following Jesus maybe you should try some of these things.

1. Give Sacrificially

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Or in more plain terms, give till it hurts. Try giving money or time or possessions not so you feel good about yourself or don’t feel guilty, but actually for someone else. Give in a way that is hard, maybe more than you think you can give. It’s surprising what can happen when you do, and how freeing it is. It can also help remind you that your security comes from God and not what you own.

2. Pray for Everything

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I mean this not in a greedy way but in actually praying for things even when they seem trivial or impossible. Like ask God to help you find your lost car keys or pray and ask Him to restore a broken friendship, or heal someone of cancer. I won’t promise that He will say yes to every request, but He knows best how to answer your prayers and He loves it when you ask Him. You may be surprised with how He answers.

3. Read the Whole Bible

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I know some people struggle with reading their Bible at all, or prefer to read favorite sections over and over. But I can honestly say reading the whole thing has been so good for me. Sometimes reading a passage that isn’t quoted often brings new insight to me, or a little surprise, and spending time in God’s word is so refreshing and good for me. It reminds me what is true and important and often puts my life’s problems in perspective.

4. Serve at Church

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Many people at least in America can view church as a place to get their needs met, to be taught, and encouraged and in some cases, entertained. But the Church is meant to be a body with everyone helping each other. Even if it’s passing out bulletins, or hanging out with children, if you get involved with a church and seek to serve and not just be served, there is so much blessing!

5. Share the Gospel

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Share the Gospel with a friend, a coworker, a neighbor or even a stranger. There’s nothing like telling someone about what has changed your life, made you who you are and given you hope and peace. Not only is it a command but it brings so much joy and purpose into your life when you step out and share the Good News that Jesus saves sinners.

6. Rest on the Sabbath

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I know it’s hard to stop, especially in this culture, but we all need a break and God gave us the command to rest for a reason. Actually taking a break, even from good things like work or serving others, is needed. Otherwise we get burned out. Plus, changing up our routine and taking a break can help us listen to God more easily.

7. Fast

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Or more specifically fast from something that’s hard to let go of. It may be food, but it could be your cell phone, or television, or internet. Take a break from something that controls you, let go of it and don’t let it dictate your life. Often when we let go of something that distracts us constantly, and consciously choose to ignore it, it is much easier for God to speak to us.

8. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

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This could be as simple as talking to a neighbor you hardly know, or driving to that part of town that you don’t like, or even going on a mission trip across seas. But the point is, when you follow God into uncomfortable situations, it forces you to rely on Him and not yourself. And it’s a constant reminder that it’s not about you but about God. And even though it’s uncomfortable, you don’t have to worry, because God’s in control, and you might find that it’s quite fun to see God work in your uncomfortable situation.

9. Care for the Poor

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Jesus constantly told us to care for the poor, but it’s easy to forget. However, what if you actually did it? What if you packed extra water bottles in the car to pass out to the homeless, or spent a day serving at a soup kitchen? There is great blessing in obeying Jesus and caring for what He cares about. Why not try and see what He does?

10. Worship God

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Worship everywhere, not just at church. For me singing is a way to worship God and I can do it by myself in my room, or along with the radio as I’m driving, but it always reminds me of what’s important, who God is and who I am and I need that reminder more than just on Sunday mornings. Maybe you’re not a singer and staring up at a night sky, or at a beautiful sunset inspires you to praise God for His handiwork. But no matter what your preference, take time to worship God, and refocus on Him.

Well there’s my list, I hope you get a chance to try some of these, or do them again if you’ve already done them. But more than that, I hope you grow closer to God through them and become more like Jesus, because that will last through eternity.

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Knowing God’s Will

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I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s will recently and how a person knows what God wants them to do, or what His will is. I’ve had a few conversations about it recently and this past weekend seemed to give me a perfect illustration, so I thought I’d write about it. I know there are a lot of Christians that struggle with this and I admit, I have too. And I’m still not great at it, but I think I can give a few helpful suggestions to those who are struggling with how to hear from God. And maybe through my experience, you can get a better idea of what listening to God and doing His will can look like.

So here it goes. This past weekend I came upon one of those decisions. I’m sure we’ve all been there. An opportunity presented itself and I had to choose to say yes, or no. Which was the right answer? What did God want me to do? What was His will? It might help, if you knew what the actual decision was about, so I’ll tell you. I was invited to go to the Passion Conference in Houston. I have heard about the young adult conference, with all it’s big name pastors and worship leaders gathering to encourage 18-25 year-olds. And honestly, I had always wanted to go. I’ve loved many of the books these pastors have written and sung along to the radio with a lot of the bands that would be performing. And the conference was all about God and Jesus and being passionate about your faith. So God would obviously want me to go… right?

Well it wasn’t that simple. I thought about it, prayed about it, and talked to other Christians I trusted about it. (Hint, this is a good way to determine what God’s will is.) And I came to a realization.

Here are the reasons I had for why I should go:

-I’ve always wanted to go to Passion.

-I’m 24, this may be my last chance.

-I really like Francis Chan.

-I could really grow in my faith.

-Maybe this will help prepare me to be used by God.

Now these aren’t bad things, but can you spot the pattern? I, me, my, the language is all self centered. Now compare this list of why I wanted to go, to why I wanted to stay.

Why I should stay:

-My small group needs me to help set up the church on Friday and if I go to the conference, I couldn’t help them.

-I’ve made a commitment to be at church on Sunday, and help lead the Jr High girls group. There’s only one girl leader, and if I’m not there, there won’t be any.

-I promised to help plan a Superbowl Party for the youth group, and if I’m gone all weekend, even if I make it to the party, I won’t be much help and will really put the other person planning it in a bind.

I knew that I could ask all of these people to let me off the hook. After all, an opportunity like this doesn’t come up very often. They’d understand. But what would God think? What is following Jesus really about anyway? Is it about learning more about Him? Is it about praising Him with lots of other believers? Is it about getting spiritual highs? Or is it about being faithful in the tasks He’s given you to do, not matter how mundane, or unexciting they are?

The more I thought about it, the more I felt like going to the Passion Conference would be all about me, doing what I wanted no matter how it affected others. And me staying, and fulfilling my promises was really what would honor God. And I told myself, “I don’t need to go to a conference to follow Jesus. I can follow Him and glorify Him right here, where He’s put me.”

Now I don’t want you to get the impression that the Passion Conference is wrong or not needed. Lots of people go and it has changed their lives and helped them grow. But in this situation, it wasn’t God’s will for me. So I stayed, and I helped at my home church and, I’m glad I did. In the sermon on Sunday, my pastor said that it’s hard to be certain about God’s will. The whole point of following God is being close to Him, not knowing what to do. But he did say there was one thing you can be certain about when it comes to God’s will. God’s will is always for you to die… to self. And looking back on my decision, I can say that is what I did. And my decision led to some really great things happening. I was able to connect with two friends about service opportunities in the future, I was able to disciple young middle schoolers and spend quality time with them. And thankfully, I was able to be with my family when we heard the news that my grandpa had passed away.

So, I hope this story helped with learning how to listen to God and do His will. If you’ve been struggling with a decision, my suggestions would be:

-Do what you know is right.

-Do what is unselfish.

-Pray.

-And ask friends and family for their perspective.

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Lessons from Haiti: A day of frustrations

So I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts about my mission trip to Haiti. I know it’s not what I usually write about on this blog, but I figure I can tell some fun stories, and who knows, it may turn into a novel or book someday. I’m going to break up each day of the trip into a blog post and hopefully come up with one lesson that I learned on each day of the trip.

So feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or any of your own stories or lessons you’ve learned from your own adventures.

Haiti airport

Day 1: A Day of Frustrations

Early Friday morning I set off to the airport to meet the group of 15 people headed for Haiti. But right off the bat, I was hit with distractions, or frustrations really. I hadn’t slept well the night before the trip, or really the whole week leading up to it. In addition, my sister had woken me up, due to a panic attack in the middle of the night. So I was… not rested. In addition, I’m a very time-oriented person, so when I was unable to get to the airport at 8:00 am, and in fact was the last of the group to arrive, I found my attitude about the trip as a whole taking a turn for the worse.

After hugging loved ones goodbye, we set off to check in at the baggage check. And then another unforeseen event occurred, our connecting flight to Florida, leaving from Dallas, was said to be delayed and we were told we would have to take a later flight. This would mean that instead of getting into Florida in time for some dinner and chill time, we wouldn’t get in till 9:30, and probably wouldn’t get to our hotel till after 10pm.

This frustrating stream of events was getting under my skin, but I took a minute to relax and reminded myself that none of this should be unexpected. Mission trips are rarely a smooth process. I released my anger to God and went on with the group, passing through security and making it safely to Dallas for our connecting flight.

When we landed in Dallas, I was surprised and excited to find out that the original flight we were supposed to take was not delayed after all and that our group was in the process of being transferred back to our original flight. Things were looking up, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I grabbed some girls from our group and just stopped to pray. In the middle of the airport we gave the whole situation into the Lord’s hands, and asked Him to show up.

After that moment, I stopped worrying. And God did show up! Our flight was switched without any more hassle, and our whole group made it to Florida in good spirits.

However, the day was not over, and God provided one more lesson in providence before it came to an end. I know it sounds a little weird for a group on a “mission trip” to go out to a fancy restaurant, but we did. We went to the Cheesecake Factory of all places. I’d only been once before in my life, so this was a big treat. However, going to any restaurant on a Friday night with 15 people means a long wait. And I mean a LONG wait. We were told it would take about an hour, but when that hour turned into two hours, all of us were experiencing some impatience.

Now I know this is a mission trip, and I should be expecting the unexpected, but we were still in America. We weren’t in Haiti at all, and this was difficult. We were all starving by this point, one team member even said he was close to “angry bear mode.” But still we were waiting. I started getting anxious thoughts about not getting enough rest for the morning, or maybe even the restaurant closing before we could get something to eat.

And that’s when we did it, finally… it really shouldn’t have taken us this long. We prayed. We asked God to open up the tables so we could eat. It’s amazing what God will do, once you actually stop to ask Him for something. Within minutes the tables were clear and we were being seated.

And that’s the lesson I learned from day 1: Come to God with your problems, and don’t try to handle them alone. Suddenly you’ll find that your frustrations will become glimpses of God at work.

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