In the past year or so, I’ve spent a lot of time “announcing” things.
Go ahead, ask me bluntly: Emily, do you love the drama? Is life just too tame for you? Are you obsessed with yourself? Is it just that you can’t bear life without a big to-do?
Answer: No. To all those questions! Really!
But things seem to happen anyway. With those disclaimers, I must tell you some difficult news.
For those of you who haven’t heard yet, my friend and partner to Ireland (Lauren S.) has decided that HOPE61is not where she should be. Because OMS personnel is few and far between in the Republic of Ireland, I cannot go without at least knowing a partner would be there soon. This was a decision by OMS for my well-being and I trust them. Therefore I can’t go to Ireland.
Before I explain further, I want to make it clear that there are no hard feelings between me and Lauren. I know what it’s like to be unsure of what God is asking you to do. She is an important part of my prayer support & I am praying for her, that she know clearly what she should do next with her life. I am excited to see what good plan God has for her life. (Love you, dear friend!)
So – I’m not going to Ireland right now. What will I do? I prayed with my best friend over this, and others on my prayer support team also prayed that we’d know what to do. We even prayed God would suddenly provide another partner. But God didn’t say much to me as I prayed. Not that He wasn’t indicating a direction I should go, He just wasn’t loud about it, like when He called me to Europe, justice, or missions in general. After talking with Joyce, it seems like the wisest thing to do is go to the Philippines with Lauren B. We will be there for just one year, gain field experience for the anti-trafficking work HOPE61 wants to do, and then hopefully God will provide a partner for me to go to Ireland and provide Lauren B. what she needs to (I think this is what she’s aiming for) serve with HOPE61 in Africa.
I know, I know! Didn’t I start off being assigned to the Philippines for 2 years? Then I knew it wasn’t right? Then God miraculously provided the way to Europe, my heart’s desire? Then He provided a partner? And lots of supportive people?
…then He took it away?
Joyce reminded me of Paul in the Bible, how he was given a burden for Philipi but was turned away three times by the Holy Spirit. Eventually, he did go there. The Philippian church was a huge encouragement to him, even as he taught them. But it was all done in God’s timing. I am choosing to trust that God is taking me to Europe in His timing. Whenever that is (hopefully in just another year), it will be right.
Joyce also reminded me that the OMS director of Europe has said he’d be even more comfortable with me working in Europe after I’ve had the Philippines experience. And the possibility of me being able, eventually, to go into Italy is even greater. (Incase you weren’t aware, Italy is not part of OMS’s work yet, but is a place I know God will one day take me into.) So, you know – God is the grand weaver.
Can I tell you something else?
When Joyce first told me that I wouldn’t be able to go to Ireland when I planned, after we hung up, I felt my vulnerability keenly. Really. I felt my vulnerability. It was so strong I could almost touch it and I knew that it was the perfect time for spiritual warfare against me. Satan could really have used that moment to turn my heart in bitterness toward God. I had to praise God aloud and many times. God gave me a clear image in my mind of the Israelites. I saw them in the desert. I saw faces of many races and times in history – and in my heart God reminded me that every single person in all of time has been created and loved by Him. He’s known who they are and He’s planned out their days. The same goes for me. He reminded me He loves me intimately.
Once I took this in, I moved to another room and started to do some paperwork. I was praying in the back of my mind and like a lightning bolt God gave me a gift. It was perspective.
Satan is fighting, right now, for Ireland. We’re taught that spiritual warfare goes on every day in every place, but suddenly it was more personal. Ireland is in an interesting place spiritually. Evangelical pastors have asked for missionaries to come to their country and work; they’ve said their country is in a spiritual famine, and it’s dark.
“We need leaders from our own people, but we need people to come and train and plant churches.” they’ve said. “We believe there could be revival.”
Revival is no joke. That is a fierce and beautiful possibility, one that matters in the eternal sense. And I believe Satan is fighting that possibility at this very moment. I believe that human trafficking education and prevention could do even more than rescue the physically enslaved; it could free their souls and be something that moves Irish Christians to spiritual fervor!
Even more than before, I care for this country and continent. Earlier this month my friend Colleen (from Houghton) went to Ireland with OMS’s church planting ministry. Please pray, right this moment, for their team. They will be there one year.
All of this to say:
I’m going to the Philippines for one year and the only way I’ll be able to go to Ireland afterwards is if I have a partner so please –
brothers and sisters in the Lord, I implore you to pray with all your heart that God will even at this second begin to move someone’s heart to partner with me! The urgency I feel for the trafficked and for the Irish…it’s so strong I can barely express it.
The great thing about the Philippines is that:
1. God has a plan for me and Lauren B. in that place & we will learn a tremendous amount.
2. We only need summer clothes/everything fits in ONE suitcase, a carryon, and my purse!
3. The amount I need to fundraise is much less. I need just $10,000 more! I am, roughly, 70% funded!
4. Pray that I will continue to strive for a faithful & good attitude. Truth: it’s hard.
God is good. He has given my heart the burden & desire to do this work in Europe & I do believe that He will fulfill that in time.
*Southern Baptist preacher voice*