Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Story

It was approximately 6 1/2 years ago when I went on my first mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. While I was there, I began to develop a deep love for the people - a love that I could not let go when I came back home.
2 years later, I made a return to Juarez. I cannot put to words the joy I experienced having the opportunity to see the people - the friends - that I had made my first time there. Reconnecting and building onto relationships that had already begun, I was beginning to feel at home and felt a strong bond to Juarez and it's people.
After my second trip there, things began to get bad in Juarez and it became a very dangerous city. Because of the danger, I was unable to return for another 2 years. During those years, God burdened my heart for the people in Juarez and what they were experiencing. When I was able to return, I was heartbroken at the realization that many of families that I had connected with had fled the area due to the danger and violence and were not coming back. I missed them greatly... I still do... but was happy they were able to escape from the danger. It was on this 3rd trip that I began to have conversations with the pastors down in Juarez about me possibly doing a long-term mission trip there and dreaming about what that would look like.

8 months later I had the opportunity to return to Juarez again for my 4th trip. This trip was probably the hardest trip on me emotionally. God began confirming his call for me in Juarez through different people and situations. In this place that began to feel like home, I did not want to leave. And leaving was a big struggle as I stood on a mountainside in El Paso overlooking Juarez and tears drenched my face. Knowing that I was going to return again was probably the only thing that got me on the plane to return home.
Over the next year I began to pray quite possibly more than I have ever prayed in my life for guidance and direction on how to begin this journey. I began to have conversations with the necessary people that I knew would assist me along the way. Last August I made my 5th trip back to Juarez with a dear friend of mine, a few days before our team was scheduled to arrive. We helped the pastors prepare for the team's arrival and I took advantage of the extra time to sit and have the necessary planning discussions for what my future would look like in Juarez. These were encouraging and overwhelming conversations as the reality  began to set in that this dream that God had planted in my heart over the years was becoming a reality. This trip was also special because my family was a part of the team. I had asked them if they would be willing to come and experience for themselves my home away from home. By the end of the trip, they understood why I love Juarez so much (and I think it gave them so much more comfort knowing where I will be and who I will be working with).
And now I find myself here. Trying my hardest to balance my life and take care of the logistics that go in to planning my year away. I just finished addressing all of my support letters and will be sending those out tomorrow. My gigantic to-do list is finally getting smaller which is encouraging to see. When I think about how I am leaving in less than 5 months, I get overwhelmed. But when I sit and process through the journey that God has me on and what has led me here, I cannot help but be in awe of how great He is. I'm excited for this next chapter of my life.
Here is what my year in Mexico will look like:
I will be living in Juarez from June 2014 to June 2015. I will be driving down so that I have my car to get me around. I will live in the dorms that teams come and stay in, which is right next to one of the churches that I will be helping with. Much of my time will be spent working  with the young women and youth in the area. I will also be assisting the churches with whatever they need help with and assisting teams as they come down.
Will you join me in praying as I continue to prepare for my trip?
Pray that I am able to raise all of my funds.
Pray for better time management skills as I am struggling to balance my life between work and Mexico stuff and several other things that require my time.
Pray for my spiritual walk and that I will continue to be in tune with the Spirit leading up to the trip, as well as while I am there.
Pray for my Spanish skills. I am nowhere close to where I need to be when it comes to speaking Spanish right now, and I kind of need to be able to communicate while I am there :)
Pray for continued guidance and direction by the Spirit, and for a spirit of obedience from me.


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