Have you ever said YES to something and then after a little while, you start to think... wait- what in the world did I just sign up for?!
So that’s exactly what happened to me with this mission trip.
I said YES to the opportunity, and then the very next morning felt terrified and unsure of what I’d just signed up for. My childlike joy, my ecstatic YES, was robbed in less than 24 hours.
As this blog post title alludes to (a phrase I heard about at the Behave conference, by the way!) I was so so excited when I initially said YES (was on a high… kind of like how life feels like on a weekend ; ) , but then felt like I rammed into a ton of bricks when I woke up the next morning. I was terrified of what I said yes to and was consumed with doubt.
And this is the story of what all happened and how God took over…
So earlier this year, in mid-January, I received an email from a leader at my church. She explained that was a group traveling to Puerto Rico in March for a mission trip, and there were three spots still available to join them. And it would be FREE to go. Yes, that’s right. Flights and all expenses covered. For seven days.
I called my husband right away and asked if he might be interested and what did he think? He immediately said yes. : ) And within less than five minutes, God so beautifully orchestrated my second mission trip and my husband’s first.
(And by the way... I had been annoyed for so long that I just hadn’t felt God move with ease in my life in a while. People would share stories about life changes effortlessly falling into place and it frustrated me! I was bothered that I didn’t see that happening in my own life. But boy did He deliver with this mission trip falling into place.)
So you might be a bit confused by now, haha. You had the opportunity to go with your husband and church on a mission trip to Puerto Rico for FREE! How was that hard for you?!? (Fair question, my friends.)
So here’s the backstory : )
Last fall, in October/November, God began stirring in my heart the idea that missions work was on the horizon. And you know what? That made me crazy uncomfortable.
Yes it’s embarrassing to admit but it’s true. When I was in college, I traveled on a missions trip to Lima, Peru. And it was really hard! I was pretty disappointed in myself because I felt that what I remembered most was how uncomfortable I was the whole time I was there. And I seriously questioned how helpful it even was, as we “just” spent time being with people that we couldn’t really even communicate with (due to a language barrier) and didn’t even help that much besides doing a little bit of painting (any high achieving Enneagram 3’s out there that can relate?). It just didn’t feel productive, and that felt highly uncomfortable.
So I had that experience coupled with a memory of serving while in high school, sweating profusely and feeling suffocated by paint fumes while painting a Habitat for Humanity house in the oppressive Florida summertime heat and intense humidity- it was brutal. And because of that experience seared into my memory, I counted myself out on anything related to that type of work again… I thought nope, no thanks, it’s not for me. Happy to help out in another way but not through service work, sorry.
Yes... I’m totally calling myself out here. And yes it feels a bit (or a LOT) awkward. I don’t want to be known for those memories and it’s a little bit painful and a whole lot embarrassing to share them, but I want to do it anyway in case you might just be feeling the same way.
So fast forward to this January... the mission trip that I had signed up for… well it was a service one. (which I totally didn’t even think about until days later… I’m an idealist friends - the positive can stand out most for me & then I face the facts later. But yes- I wouldn’t simply be spending time with people or sharing about God & His love, but I would be doing manual labor. In the heat. (Y’all I don’t even like sitting on the beach doing NOTHING if it’s hot! It’s true, haha.)
So… that’s where I was. I had said YES to this trip and then two memories of some rough past service experiences took up my brain space in a big way. And I began to strongly consider backing out on the trip. My fear and doubt occupied an unbelievable amount of brain space for quite some time.
But God. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
As mentioned earlier, God started showing me in the fall that a mission trip might be in my future. I’m so grateful He laid this on my heart months ahead of time… as you know, I needed all the preparation I could get to prepare for what would be both a mental and physical challenge.
Then, in addition to that, my husband had shared on several occasions last year how he felt compelled to participate in a mission trip.. And I thought, good for you not for me! But- God had planted the seed in him and he bravely shared the desire with me.
And on top of all of that... I started to repeatedly see the 9:11 on the clock in the mornings and evenings- which really bothered me. Previously, I would always see the numbers 11:11 and that began to drastically slow and 9:11 took its place. And I hated it. A sweet friend suggested to look at scripture to see if maybe this connected to a bible passage God wanted to speak to me.
And so one day in January, my husband and I read through the scripture and surrounding scripture of every chapter 9 verse 11 in the Bible. And 1 Corinthians 9:11 especially stood out, “If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?” I felt that God was calling out that He had poured into me for quite some time now and that it was now time for me to give back.
So I had sweet nudges from Him and witnessed a couple ways that others worked through Him, and would love to share a few really sweet instances with you.
The first one was at the Behave women’s conference (which was SO good- definitely go read the blog post on Behave if you haven’t already!).
Behave was a two day conference- we met on Friday evening and Saturday morning. At the end of day one on Friday, we were invited to the altar to be prayed over. And friends, up until a couple years ago, this was NOT something that I would elect to do. I thought it would feel weird and uncomfortable and scary. And boy was I missing out. (Praise God that He took that hesitation from me and I pray He takes it from you too if you are hesitant to ask for prayer!) So on that Friday night I went up to the altar to receive prayer.
I shared that there was a mission trip coming up and that I wasn’t certain I was called or equipped to go. One of the prayer leaders, Maria, prayed such a beautiful prayer over me and it was so incredibly sweet, tender, and empowering. I immediately felt hope and a little more lightness. (Girlfriend knows how to PRAY!)
Fast forward to the next day, part 2 of the Behave conference. We were listening to a panel speak and share when one of the panelists, Katey, paused as the host (Diana) was getting ready to ask another question. Katey said she felt the Holy Spirit on the move last night and that morning and she had something He was prompting her to say. She said that, “if there was someone in the room who felt that they were supposed to go on an international missions trip, that they absolutely should do it, even if they don’t equipped.”
Come ON! (Side note: I recognize that Puerto Rico isn’t international per se, but let tell you- I’m pretty sure that was meant especially for me!). As Katy shared these words that the Lord gave her, Maria (who prayed for me on Friday) & I locked eyes in complete awe and amazement. And of course I hugged Katey and thanked her as I was pretty sure God had her hand deliver that message to me <3
Ok so then in addition to all of that… remember I shared with you how I’d gone on a mission trip to Peru years ago but even so, felt that it was not for me?
Well first off, when I went to read my journals from the trip to Peru, I saw that this trip to Puerto Rico would be EXACTLY eleven years to the day of the last mission trip (what?!?). There was definitely some comfort in that.
So I got to thinking that my first trip just wasn’t good. I didn’t experience God like I hoped I might and questioned whether I even had an impact. I was wondering why do it again? What would be different?
But God so sweetly made clear a specific example in the Bible where surrendering to Him (even when you think you know the answer- ha!)... even when I’ve tried something and think I know the answer… would prove fruitful. Maybe you’re familiar with this scripture:
“Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." (Luke 5:5)
God showed me scripture in various sermons and studies I was completing (does He do that with you, too? Like you’ll see or hear the same message again & again & again at times?) Yes- God made it very clear… I stubbornly thought well, I’d gone on a mission trip before, didn’t see results and was done. But God said trust me… try one more time… and guess what? I did and I did experience fruit.
And it was beautiful.
Part two (Why You Should Go on a Missions Trip (From Someone Who Almost Said No to the Experience) to come soon!
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