I know it's been quite a while since I've last written. I think I'll re-vamp and try to keep this up more consistently. This particular blog is to share with you the heart I have experienced in traveling to Barranquilla, Colombia in the past week. I wrote this letter to than those who supported me, but I thought it might be nice to let the rest of you know how God totally rocked my world! Anyway, enjoy!
There are many moments in my life when I am so utterly in love with Jesus that I just can’t imagine falling for Him more. This was my exact feeling before I left for Barranquilla Columbia on October 19. Yet here I am another day in, more in love, in awe of our glorious Savior.
I signed up for this trip last spring in hopes of an amazing experience knowing little about where I was going, what I’d be doing, or who I’d be going with. Most of the people I talked to thought I was crazy, yet the peace I had from the beginning about the unknown was assurance that it was good OR that they, in fact, were right. From the day I decided to go, the provision I saw from God daily through things that were so far out of my control gave me the confidence to continue on. For this is something I’ve learned over the last year—should we remain comfortable and in areas where we don’t have to wait expectantly for God to pull through, our faith is tested less. I can say with more assurance than ever before that we serve a living God who uses us for His glory despite what little we have to bring to the table. After watching Him act in the moments of preparation, it was time to see Him act in the moments of action.
The first moment of action was meeting my team in Miami. Despite my outgoing, attention-loving personality, I am initially a fairly shy person. This part of the trip had my stomach in knots. I look back and laugh because of how wonderfully I was blessed by each one of my team members. Normally, I am usually the encourager, but on this trip I constantly found myself engrossed in affirmation from those surrounding me. The love and passion they showed was unreal. I have now officially met two of the coolest Australian’s, someone who loves dancing more than I, and so many people from Colorado I don’t know what to do with myself. For all of these people, I am indubitably thankful.
Upon the arrival to Barranquilla, our newly acquainted team was greeted with lots of music and open arms from the Columbian group. We had a nice, hour-long bus ride to spend meeting our fearless Columbian leaders and spending some time getting to know each other even more.
Saturday and Sunday were full of project visits. Never have I been so certain that the money I give each month goes to the glorification of kingdom far greater than I can imagine. The projects were so welcoming, so full of hospitality. Our team was able to see what exactly Compassion stood for, the values, and the action it takes. We spent the majority of these two days serving, learning, and loving. I was able to meet some beautiful kids, and I received more hugs and kisses (even a nice kiss to my hair, which was a HUGE attention grabber) than I imagined possible.
The project time was accompanied by visits to two local houses from two different project areas. This is probably one of the most heart wrenching situations I experienced. I was expecting poverty; I’ve seen pictures of what that looks like. But when the sense of sight is then accompanied with the sense of sound, touch, and smell, things become more vivid. The children showing us their homes were so proud and excited to welcome us in and let us experience what it is they experience. Amidst those homes is where God slapped me across the face. How often I get so caught up in my house looking seemingly perfect that I forget to offer what the house itself is there for—hospitality. The pride they had in the little they had made me realize how undeniably selfish I can be, and how thankful I am for His grace.
Monday was easily one of the most memorable days of my life. This was the day I finally met Angie, my sassy little sponsored child. It was such a blessing to go from her initial statement, “I don’t like to talk much,” to her bossing me around at the end of the day AND the silly picture to accompany. It’s amazing what one-day of bonding through tag, pool games, and writing our names in the sand of the beach can do for a relationship. I can honestly say that this day was so full of joy and life that I can hardly articulate neither the amount of love I feel for my sweet girl nor the appreciation I feel for all who made this day possible. My heart is so deeply thankful for those who prayed for my journey, those who offered encouragement, those of Compassion International who did all of the organizing, planning, leading, and especially to Him who even made this whole journey possible—how my heart longs to offer gratitude to you all, yet I cannot even fathom how to elaborate your worth!
Upon returning to Kansas, my heart is so heavy with the “What Now?” feeling. How can I take my new passions and experiences that God has taught me in these last few months and use it to glorify His kingdom right now? John 3:30 simply says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This verse is one I cling to daily to encourage me to take captive each moment through loving and encouraging those around me--aiming daily to decrease my selfish pride and broken love in order to love more perfectly and selflessly for His glory. Thanks again for your prayer and support in all of the various ways.
Te Quiero Mucho Amigos
The Lone Woolf
Continue to pray for a content, excited heart for where I am now. Pray for opportunities for me to serve passionately whether in Wichita, Columbia, or somewhere unimaginable. Pray that in sharing my experiences that my words fall on deaf ears and His come to life. Lastly, pray that God continue moving in Columbia to allow the beauty of the country to regain the main focus.