after mid-project retreat
Before arriving here in the Philippines I wrote to my support team about how I was afraid of what God would ask of me on this trip. I was prepared to give up material comforts, a summer internship and time to sit around recovering from a long semester, but I knew something more was waiting. I knew surrendering control could not be the end-all of this entire trip.
This past weekend our entire team left our sites for Batangas where we were able to swim in the ocean and play volleyball on the beach. During free time I spent a little time alone in prayer and began to realize that I wasn’t truly leaning into God. I was not truly pressing into his soul and I remembered what I had feared since the beginning – what He would ask of me. So, I stopped to ask that God would be there with me, that he would speak of his nearness and love for me and this world. And he answered.
The next passage in my reading plan was in Exodus 40 as Aaron and the priests are anointed and the presence of God is with the Israelites like a cloud. Another passage in John 21 made me realize that like Peter I might be more concerned about others’ calling instead of my own. The last one wrecked me just a little as I found myself in Philippians 4, as verse 4 reads, “The Lord is near.” As I received these verses I stopped to realize the fear was gone. In those moments surrounded by his voice and love, I was no longer afraid what He had to say to me. I felt ready to be sent as Abraham was sent into a land God would show him.
What is this crazy journey, God? What are you doing in my heart that I would feel so at home, at peace, and would hear you whisper, “You were made for this.” Made for what, God? This country? The community? Mission work?
I don’t know how long I’ve been wondering if I am called into long-term ministry. But the closer our departure grows, the more I recognize that short-term mission trips do not embody the work of God. He is a long term God, and that does not make me a short-term servant. So what do I do with this short-term experience? Every part of me knows that this is not a season. This state of being God has brought me into is not leaving any time soon. It goes deeper than the memories, the fun, the images of crowded jeepneys, and the smog in my lungs and the laughter in the streets. It goes deeper than me learning more of the United States’ multinational reach, the workers who are poorly compensated and the consumerism impressed upon people who cannot afford their next meal. Something is right in front of me. I’m not quiet sure what, but I pray that I would continue fearlessly face it, and that God would be the source of my courage.