Well, I'll be the first to admit that I am terrible at keeping this blog updated. Don't worry, my sister gives me a wonderful little guilt trip about the whole thing! But aside from that obvious fault of mine, I do have exciting news: I finally get to go back to Peru! TOMORROW!! Well, I'll be flying out tomorrow; I don't actually get there until Wednesday....but that's beside the point. Anyways, God has been SO good in bringing this all together! I just wanted to share with you all about how this came about =)
It's been almost 3 years since I first went to Peru. A group of 23 from my home church youth group went on a one week missions trip back in December of 2008. Just to give you a little bit of my background at that point, I was definitely going for the wrong reasons! There were so many things in my life that had my focus off God, I don't really know where to start! But...God gives more grace =) Even though I was living in hypocrisy & going on the trip for the sole purpose of escaping the Wisconsin winter, God had bigger plans. I've talked about this before on this blog, but for those of you who are only reading because I'm doing GSA this semester, this is for your benefit. Lol! Long story short, God used some difficult circumstances back home & some selfless people abroad to start changing my heart. When I got back home I broke up w/my boyfriend at the time; that relationship had been part of the reason for my spiritual nosedive, & I knew that was one of the biggest things that God wanted me to give up. Also over the next 6 months God just started giving me a love for His word & a desire to be changed into Christ's image. I went to Northland for 2 weeks of Leadership camp that summer & that really helped develop a foundation for spiritual growth.
Freshmen year at Northland I learned SO much! Which I guess is the whole point of paying an arm & a leg for college...but not just academically. There were so many people who invested into my life, & I am so thankful for them! At that time I was still praying about going back to Peru. I really wanted to go back with a better perspective. Hopefully with a less selfish attitude too! But God said no at that time. Instead of Peru, He opened up the opportunity for me to go to Haiti last summer after the earthquake hit. I was very excited, but God had some hard lessons He wanted to teach me. My family always accuses me of being adventurous to the point of recklessness at times. So I was pumped to be able to experience a culture completely different than my own while also having the amazing opportunity of serving alongside an incredible missionary family. When I got to Haiti, I was overwhelmed with culture shock the minute I stepped out of the airport onto the street. Before I even made it to our vehicle waiting nearby, 2 Haitian men tried to grab my arm & pull me into the crowd. The trip up the mountain to the Bower's home took 3 hours, even though it was only 30 miles away, just because of how bad the roads were. The property that the Bower's home, church, & school are on has an 8 foot brick fence surrounding it, due to the violence in the nearby town. While we were there, a young man was killed by voodoo, & as girls, none of us could even walk between the buildings without a guy accompanying us at all times....I HATED it there! The first three days were some of the most miserable that I can remember. I kept telling the Lord, "I know I told you I would go anywhere....but I could never live here! I could never, ever raise a family here." But again--He gives more grace! I had been studying Philippians that week, & the Lord used it to break me. Particularly chapter 3, in which Paul talks about all that his Jewish heritage had granted him, but that it is all less than nothing in comparison to knowing & serving Christ. For the rest of the trip, the Lord just gave me a joy in serving the Hatians that cannot be explained by anything other than God's all sufficient grace. It was SO hard to leave! I definitely cried. But something interesting happened on our last night there. I can't fully explain it, but the Lord just made it clear to me that He would make a way for me to return to Peru this year! I was pumped!
I was also confused, since I am a music major & study abroad was not an option at that time for my department, I had no idea how the Lord was planning on getting me to Peru. I started praying about changing my major so I could study abroad. That was a big "No." So now I knew that God wanted me to go to Peru, & also remain a music major....hmmmm. Next option, take a year off of school, go home & work for a while, take a month long trip, & come back to school as a music major. I started making plans, & I had talked to our head missions guy at Northland about it & he began talking through logistics with me. Three days after I had decided to take a year off & go, Northland made an announcement that they were changing the music program to allow majors to study abroad!! It was such a clear answer to prayer & I was immediately filled with peace! God truly does have everything under control if we will just trust! Not only to I get to go back to Peru for a whole semester, but I also get to stay with the wonderful missionary family that we stayed with during our trip back in '08. The Earnharts have a great ministry & I am so humbled that they are taking me into their home & allowing me to take part in the work God is doing there. I would definitely appreciate your prayers as I fly out tomorrow. Specifically that I would make my international connection in Lima. I will be updating again shortly with some more specific prayer requests. You can also check out the Earnhart's website if you would like to know more about their ministry or how you can best pray for their family. The address is: www.earnharts.org
Thank you so much for your prayers & for all of you who have been such an encouragement to me throughout this whole process. I look forward to sharing with you all about what God is doing throughout this semester. My goal is to update once a week, so if I go another month, make sure you send me an angry email or fb message or something. Haha! Peace out for now y'all!
(That y'all was in honor of my little Georgian roomie Miss Betsy Sue =)
P.S. Sorry this turned out so long. I always jabber after I haven't updated in awhile. If you actually made it through that whole thing, you deserve a prize....or at least some ice cream.