Photo Credit: Hope House Press, Unsplash
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
(Proverbs 19:21, NIV)
It all started a couple of months ago, on a sunny Sunday morning in May. Josh and I had split up after the morning service to chat with friends, and as we met back up to walk into our class room for Sunday school he casually asked, “Want to go to Haiti in August?” I thought he was joking.
That afternoon I quickly realized that this was no joke, and that if we wanted to go we would have to give our answer soon-- within the next few days, in fact.
By Monday morning we’d given our answer, and while I felt peace about the decision itself, I was still struggling. I like to be prepared, and from all outward appearances, we weren’t prepared for this. We would be leaving our two small children to go to a third-world country we’d never been to, and whose political stability was in a state of constant uncertainty. Out of the nine other people on the team, I only knew two; I didn’t think we were financially prepared to take a trip like this; and it was going to be during the hottest season of the year.
I tried to rationalize my fears by telling myself we hadn’t prayed about it very much.. I mean, everything was happening so quickly, we’d hardly had time! Deep down, however, I knew that wasn’t the problem. Please don’t misunderstand me here. As a Christian, prayer should be fundamental to any decision we make, but in this case I was using prayer as an excuse to delay fully surrendering to what I already knew God wanted me to do. He wanted me to take this step of faith, but I didn’t want to let go of my comfort zone and desire to control. I had to fully surrender to anything He asked, even if it meant traveling thousands of miles away to a country I’d never been to, with a group of people I hardly knew.
By Tuesday our plane tickets had been purchased, and thus commenced the beginning of a whirlwind of passport paperwork, online training, and meetings as we prepared to go on a one week trip to Haiti to build a playground at a local orphanage and love on the children that live there. As we checked off each box, God was checking off boxes of His own.
Back in January, my parents had planned a week-long vacation with us, and as I began to look at the dates we would be gone on our trip, I realized that they coincided perfectly with the dates my parents would already be visiting. They graciously agreed to take the kids back to Ohio with them while we were gone, and we wouldn’t have to worry about leaving at 4:00 a.m. God checked the childcare box way back in January, before we even knew about Haiti.
We obviously hadn’t planned in advance for this trip, so paying for it seemed rather daunting. Within weeks, God graciously provided a large amount of funding for our trip through friends and family, who had simply heard that we were going to Haiti, and wanted to help.
Once I finally surrendered fully to what God was asking me to do, He began to show me what He is capable of-- “infinitely more than all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). As I stood in awe of His provision with thankfulness, I had no idea that this was just the beginning. What He was going to teach me, thousands of miles away from home, was about to change my life.