2 weeks ago I blogged from my room for the weekend, a room all the way over in Greenwood, IN, at One Mission Society’s headquarters. We’d just had the first session on a Friday night and I said how excited I was for what would happen. I said how I’d gone to the One weekend retreat just praying for some vague direction from God, trusting He’d brought me there for a reason.
LITTLE DID I KNOW…
On Saturday morning I was feeling discouraged because my focus during intercessory prayer had been all over the place. I’d spent most of the time fighting, asking God to help me to focus on Him & those I was praying for. Immediately after, Joyce Oden (OMS’s director of Hope 61, the anti-trafficking department) came to me and said she’d heard good things about my writing & wanted me to consider interning this summer in the Communications department. Well, I was shocked but flattered and excited. I knew that Communications isn’t where my passion lies, but I was so grateful to God for the opportunity that I just thanked Him! I decided to pray about it & decide in a few days.
That afternoon, one of our activities was to draw a picture of where or what we felt, at that point in our lives, God was calling us to. They handed out huge sheets of paper & piles of markers. Well, I’m not much of an artist so I used my stick figure skills to draw a stick-figure Emily, being called by God. In her/my thought bubble I wrote the word “JUSTICE” and drew stick-figure slaves & other things portraying freedom & justice. Joyce was watching me present my picture to my table, and when I finished she came up to me and said, “You need to work for me.”
WOAH. Justice & anti-human trafficking are some of the great passions of my heart, but I hadn’t told this to Joyce because I knew she got so many inquiries about the program. I never figured she’d want me to work with her. But God knows our own hearts & the timing of our lives better than we do! Joyce asked me to pray about interning with her that summer instead of Communications.
“If you work in communications this summer but know what’s going on at Hope61, and you’re not a part of it, I think it will bother you. There’s a reason you drew this as your calling.” That day I prayed. That evening Robin, a very sweet missionary lady who works with OMS, prayed with me. We asked God to give me some direction within the next week or so…
THE NEXT DAY
Joyce came to me after breakfast & asked if I could give her an answer. “I don’t want to push you, but I’m trying to give Houghton students first priority. Can you give me a definite yes or no?”
Somewhere out of me a “YES.” burst out & amid my surprise I was at peace, and joyous. That lasted less than a minute before I received one of the biggest shocks. Joyce told me that Colleen, another girl on the conference from Houghton, had committed to working for OMS for a year. Hope61 creates materials that missionaries take to churches abroad to train the nationals how to use them, eventually leaving things in their hands & passing on the information. This is what Colleen would do. Joyce told me that the time had been extended to 2 years. I nodded my head. I smiled. I was thrilled for Colleen!
Suddenly Joyce said, “I think you should go with her.”
WHAT? What is going on, God?? Joyce explained more, I asked a few questions. I told her I had to pray. My heart was hesitantly joyful. This is huge…this is amazing…this is confusing…this cannot be real life…?…!
On Sunday before we left, I confirmed with Joyce & her husband Bill that I would defiitely intern with them that summer, but I had to consider more the 2 year commitment. I watched her scratch off “2 year” by my name on her list of interest, & put a question mark. I felt funny. I felt like I shouldn’t be rash. I felt a little dissatisfied.
We left Greenwood in high spirits after nothing short of miracles, answers to prayer, & an experience that I can only describe as
“I met Jesus all over again.”
I spent Sunday, Monday, & most of Tuesday in prayer, asking others to pray with and for me about my decision. I had dinner with Colleen, who assured me that she thought I would say yes. : ) Through a series of wonderful events, I was literally handed the verse in Philippians 4 that says we should be anxious for nothing, pray for everything; tell God was we need & thank Him for what He’s done…and He will give us peace. Even as I was thanking him, He told me GO, and truly, there was peace.
I sat on my bed with my cell phone in one hand & Joyce’s business card in the other. I looked at my bedroom walls, covered in leaves, buttons, & maps of India, Switzerland, African elephants & Italian streets. “The Girl with the Pearl Earring.” A poster reminding me to pray for the persecuted church… And I whispered aloud, “My life will never be the same.”
So yes. Thanks be to God, I have a plan for the 2 years after graduation! Colleen & I are waiting to hear about where we’ll be sent for sure. Joyce has a meeting next week that should determine it. There was talk between Africa & Asia, and I personally I’m leaning toward Africa. But we’ll see. I’m just praying & asking to be willing, no matter where I’m sent.
There is more to say, how God fulfilled specific promises He’d made to me through this job as a missionary for Him, about how I’m realizing how utterly human I am & how I don’t deserve to go…but He makes me worthy & He gives me his righteous right hand to hold, & His holy name to claim; but I will leave you for now. Just know – we serve a great God!