In about six hours, I'll be up-up-and-away. My destination is Alaska, and our mission is to build houses. The truth is, I still can't believe I'm doing this; ever since our youth group mentioned it, I wasn't certain whether or not I would go. The journey towards this moment was far more then I could have imagined, when after days of indecision, I finally decided in my heart and mind to go.
Growing up, I always heard stories about God's provision and miracles, but I never had a story of my own. With college looming closely in the distance, I wasn't sure if I'd have enough time or money to enjoy the trip. Oddly enough, I didn't worry half as much for the first six months of fundraising as worrywart-me is generally inclined to. I thought I was pretty close to paying off the trip, when I learned that I was only halfway to the goal of $2000. At that point, my confidence that I was going to pay off the trip fully through my own work and fundraising shrunk considerably. My realistic side kicked in: Mom and Dad can help me pay off the trip and maybe some graduation cards will fill in the gaps. But my insides cringed at the thought; this wasn't how I'd wanted it to go down. God was supposed to provide for the trip, not Mom and Dad. I knew and believe now that God wanted me to go on this mission trip, and there was a strong peace inside me -- a well spring of hope that I knew didn't come from my own selfish wants.
After a series of wonderful events, my church did a garage sale for me, and I was now only about $500 away from the goal. At that point, I figured we could pay the trip off without feeling too bad about it, but God had a different plan. In the last two weeks before the trip, miracles happened. I received jobs from people I'd never met before in my entire life. I ended up staying with a lady who had Alzheimer's, doing yard work, and helping a lady move (we cleared out a 40 foot container full of stuff!). It was all physically and emotionally stressful, but I could see God's hand preparing me for the mission trip through the work I was being offered. Afterwards, I was so close to the final goal. I could fill in the last few gaps! But God never does anything halfway (like I always do). At my final Sunday at church before the trip, there was an outpouring of donations, and the trip's now completely paid off. I still can't believe it.
Let's just say it didn't happen the way I had planned. Circumstances failed me, people failed me, and I failed myself, but through it all God showed himself more faithful then I could ever deserve. This journey was not only a miraculous story for myself, but a very humbling one. I realize how undeserving I am of God's mercy and love and provision, and it fills me up with a thankfulness that's hard to describe.
So here I am, only five hours to go until we're flying off and away. The best part? This journey's only started. Alaska here I come!
P.S. I'll be back in a little over a week! Please enjoy the guest posters! There are a few surprises coming your way.