Friday, June 29, 2012

Wind in the grasses

Like wind in the grasses, 
Like stars in the night,
Like planets in orbit,
Like channels of light,
Like sunsets red splendor, 
Like ocean's blue wave,
is the glory of trusting
the God who can save.

It's a lovely feeling. Really. 

To know that the God in whom you put your trust--albeit shakingly--will come through.

On Wednesday, my phone rang. It startled me. I never get phone calls at work. 

And when I do, it's someone looking specifically for me, or someone who dialed in the wrong extension number. 

I answered it. It was my mom. 

"Hello?" I wondered why she had called.

"Hi! Do you love Jesus?" 


"Do you trust Him with all your heart?"

"Uh huh....?"

"And lean not unto thine own understanding?"


"In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall...?"

"Direct your path," I finished. "What in the world are you talking about?"

"An anonymous donor made a deposit into your checking account for your trip to Thailand. There's no signature, but they sent a little card. It's a thank you card and this is what it says..."

She read me the contents. 

"I have the bank statement here, with the card. Again, no signature--it just went through the Portland banking system. The statement--is for $1300!"


I fell backwards in my chair, unable to even think properly. Trying to comprehend what had just happened, I finished my conversation with my mom and then hung up the phone. The full realization washed over me then.

My plane ticket...and the expenses for my VISA... were covered. I didn't need to worry about it any more. In one swipe, those two problems had been cleared off my board by the loving providence of God and the gift of some precious soul who I couldn't even thank properly because I didn't know who they were. 

Days later, I still haven't understood it fully. 

The day before that happened, one of my friends at prayer meeting asked me how fundraising was going. With a sigh and a heavy heart, I'd had to tell her, "Slow." I had nothing else to say. I was wondering if God was really going to make me wait til the very last moment possible. 

And then, with a flash-flood of benevolence and mercy...with a tidal wave of love....with the gift of one... God proved that He still is there. 

He's looking out for my interests.

He's not given up on me. 

Not forsaken me. 

And He's got a work for me to do in Thailand. 

Donations continue to trickle in. I heard of another just this morning. God is good--and so are those who are allowing Him to work through them.

To "anonymous" I would say that you will never know how precious your gift is to me. Not only because you've placed me way farther ahead in my fundraising than I ever expected to be, but because that gift came at such a time as strengthened my weak faith and is compelling me to press still higher in my requests and my trust. I don't know who you are, but I want you to know that whether you meant to or not, you have unlocked a padlock to the chains that have bound my faith inside. You can never know how much gratitude is in my heart because of you--God grant that in Heaven I'll be able to tell you.

Sometimes, it comes like a bolt of lightning. We hear the rumble of thunder, see the promising clouds, and know that a shock awaits us.

But at other times, it comes gently. No one expects it. It ripples through the outer edges of our lives, and then comes careening across the wide spaces to impact us with a blast so hard and so unexpected that it knocks us off our feet.

Sometimes, it comes like wind in the grasses.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lord's Ways

I remember sending off that first email to Sharon, and then sitting back and thinking logically about the whole thing. And that's when I had this conversation with myself that ran something like so:

You know what's going to happen, Heidi.

No, I don't. What?

God is going to bring you right down to the wire on this. A few months before you'll have to leave, He'll make it absolutely apparent that you're supposed to go, and you'll have to cling to Him for all you're worth in order to have the faith to make it to Sunshine Orchards. That's what.

No way. God wouldn't do that to me. 

As I sit in front of my computer, months after that argument with myself, I have to shake my head.

The Lord's ways certainly are not our own.

But yes; in other words...

I just knew this would happen.

In all seriousness and theory, I'll be leaving for Thailand in two months. (With the exception of a few days on either end.) TWO MONTHS. That's not very far away. And with lots of things still to do, I'm starting to feel a little bit like Moses in front of the Red Sea: children of Israel behind him, screaming in fear; the sea in front, the mountains on either side, and Pharaoh's army closing in. It's not a pretty scene.

I visited home this last weekend; just returned to YD yesterday. On my way over, I was listening to Pilgrim's Progress--the second half, about Christiana. It's a wonderful story, with lots of lessons and beautiful representations of our lives as Christians. Yet, this time, something very specific stuck out to me.

It was a calm scene: Gaius, Old Honest, and Greatheart are all sitting up late around the fire, after a long day of wedding festivities for James and Phoebe, and Matthew and Mercy. Old Honest begins to nod, but Greatheart wakes him up with a riddle to be solved. The three men fall to talking of faith... and this is where my ears suddenly heard something I'd never caught before. My brain wrapped itself around something that I hadn't understood before.

Gaius is repeating Old Honest's answer to the riddle, in words "simple enough for a child to understand." As he is speaking, Honest pops up with a question: "But suppose he does not feel like it?" Gaius, with sage wisdom, replies, "He does not have to feel like it; he just has to do it." He then proceeds to say (in paraphrase) that when a boy or girl gives his heart to the Lord and begins a life of faith and submission, that the child does not need to wait to feel like he believes--he can just choose to believe; to have faith; and that's really what it's all about.

I seriously had to stop and think about that for a moment. Anything else was forgotten for a moment, and I sat, spell-bound, listening as Gaius continued on. The scene soon ended, and then they were battling with Slaygood. But the force of what had been said still floated around the interior of my car, and was in the process of making indellible footprints on my brain.

See, all my life, I've thought that to have faith, I have to be full of this feeling of trust and belief. If I have faith, I won't be scared; and I certainly won't have to say "I'm just going to choose with my brain" and not actually feel it.

Gaius, in those few words, threw down every stronghold and every barrier to true faith that I had been encompassed by for years.

And yet, those few moments in my car, speeding down the road towards home, have begun to change my outlook on life... and my take on faith.

I can choose... I don't have to wait to feel it. I don't have to feel like it. I just have to do it.

So, the departure date for Thailand is creeping ever closer.

I have two months.

Alot of fundraising, alot of legal procedures, and alot of prayer.

But God is already answering prayers.

Just this last weekend, my prayer for a computer to keep in touch with home has been answered. A family friend from church has offered to supply me with one... Something I neither expected, nor can thank them enough for. I can only smile.

One worry down. And I know He'll be taking care of all the others. No, I may not feel like it... But I'm choosing to believe it.

Faith. That elusive concept. Suddenly made real by a man in a story who isn't even real himself.

Again, the Lord's ways are certainly not our own.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fulfilling the Commission

Whoever you may be, the blog you are either reading or have subscribed to is nothing but a mere drop in the bucket as far as missionary blogs go. Mine will be different from the next, sure, but with all the blogs out there, who really needs to be subscribed to another one and keep up on someone who decides to go globe-trotting for the Lord?

Well, you maybe.

I would encourage you, however, to really think before subscribing to this blog. While I'm gone, I'd like to be able to look over at that sidebar and see my followers and know that they're really going to be reading my posts, praying for the requests, and rejoicing in the triumphs. It'd be sad to think that half the subscribed names weren't praying, watching, laughing, crying, smiling, and rejoicing... So I ask you to think seriously about clicking 'subscribe'.

This blog has been started because of a new adventure looming on my horizon. In fact, wheels are already beginning to turn. I've been waiting, praying, agonizing and crying to God for an answer on this question for months now--and He's given me an answer.


Last Thursday, I recieved an email early in the morning. From Harvey Steck, principal of Sunshine Orchards, a learning center/school in Thailand. The title of the email was "Can you come?"

The rest is history.

Ages ago, my friend Sharon Steck posted on Facebook that she and her family were going to be coming back to the States for a VISA renewal in July, and then leaving again in September. I got excited--I'd be able to see Hannah and Sharon, who I missed terribly... But something else presented itself to me.

And I laughed it off at first.

You see, I've been interning at Young Disciple Ministries for the last 10 months now, and my internship is up in September. I was wondering what I would do afterwards... And then Sharon's posted blasted its way onto my news feed.

And an idea was born.

Why couldn't I go back to Thailand with them?

I classified myself as crazy and relegated my imagination to a backseat. Not happening.

Yet the idea wouldn't leave me alone. It pressed on me all the time, til finally I had a talk with one of my friends. They suggested I send an email--after all, it couldn't hurt to ask if I'd be needed.

So I did.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

You get the idea.

After what seemed to be half of forever, Sharon emailed me back. And she was excited. I'd almost never seen a more excited email in my life. The message was clear: YES, we could use your help. YES. YES. YES!!

Well, I thought. And prayed. And struggled. And talked. And finally, I filled out my application and emailed it off.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Yes, that long. I waited months, knowing that those processing my application were incredibly busy, but wondering if the long silence was a closed door. Countless prayers wended their way heavenward as the months slipped past; while I talked more, prayed more, thought more. Time was coming right down to it--Id need to get a VISA, funds for a ticket and other essentials, and there were a lot of things that needed to happen. And I still had no answer.

Then last Thursday happened. I'm accepted... and I've accepted the acceptance.

Some months ago, I wrote up the bare bones of a fundraising letter, just in case they accepted me and I would need it. I have a few details I'm waiting on yet, but it's going to be sent out. For real. It's happening.

I'm going to need to apply for a VISA real soon. All the stuff that will go into that could take months, but God knows exactly how to make things work so it won't take long at all. It's HAPPENING....

God only knows what lies between now and the time I step onto the plane headed across the ocean for another land, another culture. But I trust He has it under control... After all, He called; He will supply.

For you, I would say that I covet your prayers. Things are going to take off at an amazing rate, and God is going to perform so many miracles... and yet, being a missionary is scary. Leaving everything you know, to live in a place thousands of miles away, in a country where people speak a different language, is scary... Very much so. And yet, it's thrilling. It gives you shivers of excitement... A deep sense of adventure and new experiences fills everything in you.

However, it won't be easy. It's going to be hard. As someone told me not long ago, it'll likely be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. And I believe it....

I also know that I'm not qualified to do something like this. I feel totally inadequate. Fears of failing, of not measuring up, of being useless and a burden have come and gone from my thoughts--yet I know that it is only if I'm completely empty of self that the Lord can do the work in me He needs to. In my weakness, He is strong.

So. Off to the horizon. Walking with the Lord... Trusting in His Word. And believing His promises.

And fulfilling the commission: "Go ye into all the world."

Are you with me?