I would like to first point out that when I say “last night” throughout this blog, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was last night. I wrote this over the course of almost an entire week, therefore, the timeline is not accurate and I didn’t feel the need to change anything TO make it accurate, because really, the day that everything happens on holds little importance.
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” -Matthew 16: 24-28
“Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors or wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end s still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” -Matthew 24: 4-14
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…” -Genesis 12:1-4
“I will go
I will go
I will go, Lord, send me
To the world, to the lost..
To the poor and hungry..
Take everything I am.. I’m clay within Your hands..
I will go, I will go.. Send me..”
-I Will Go – Starfield
“We cry out for you love to revive us
Cry out.. for your love to defend us
Cry out.. for your mercy to keep us..
Lead us until you return..
Oh Great and Mighty One..
With one desire we come..
That you would reign, that you would reign in us..
We’re offering up our lives..
A living sacrifice..
That you, would reign,
That you would reign in us..
So reign, please reign, in us.
Come purify our hearts..
We need your touch..
Come cleanse us like a flood..
And send us out..
So the world may know you reign..
You reign in us..”
- Reign In Us – Starfield
God has spoken, and I’ve come to realize I can’t ignore what He has said to me. As of last night, God made it unmistakably clear that I am to go to China. I don’t know when, I don’t (completely) know why.. And I’m not 100% sure for how long.. But I have to go. I do know that part of the reason I’m going is to teach, and I also know I’ll most likely be there for a longer period of time – meaning multiple years. I don’t think it would be for more than five, but hey, I’m not entirely sure about the whole thing.
Biggest lesson learned this week?: If you truly “pray without ceasing,” God WILL answer. He said He would, yes, but when you start to see it in your own life, it kinda makes you doubt God’s presence in your life a whooole lot less. My junior year of high school, my youth group started praying that God would send workers out into the field..
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” -Luke 10:2
We were challenged by Tommy Oaks (if you have never heard him speak, I pity you; he’s a phenomenal speaker!) to pray every day for a year. We did very well with this charge, not just for a year, but through my senior year as well. We prayed that God would send whoever it was that needed to go, whether that be any of us or not. I prayed outside the youth group for God to send me if he wanted me to go. I had every intention of doing missions trips in college, so I started praying about where to go. My only stipulation was for God to never send me to China. I’d go anywhere except China. I don’t know why, but the culture has never really appealed to me all that much. I knew at the time that the country was in desperate need of Christ, but.. I guess I just didn’t want to. So time went on.. We continued praying.. I continued praying.. Nothin’. No big deal.. That’s cool. Go didn’t want me to go anywhere specific, so I just said I’d choose somewhere that I thought I’d like to check out and do it that way. No harm in that, right? So first semester (this year) hits.. I’m in American Education one morning and Dr. Elsberry asked a woman who teaches at a school in China to come in and talk with us about ISC (I can’t remember what it stands for, sorry). It’s a school over in China that is taught by American teachers. Long story short, I became very interested, but it was in China. Eeeeh. Not my first choice, remember? I kept the brochure and really started to think it over and tossed it into my prayer life every now & then, just in case something were to ever come of it. I brought it up to Mom when I was home later on that semester, and I got the response I was expecting: “You’re crazy if you think your father and I are going to support something like that.” After much debate, it was quite clear that she completely saw my side of things and recognized that she was being selfish wanting to keep her daughter in the country. I understood. She doesn’t understand that I have to listen to the call of God – He takes first place over everyone and everything in my life. So with that said, it was dropped. I continued to think about it and pray every now and then.. And then last night came..
I was in night chapel alone.. Most of my friends were busy. No big deal, we all know I don’t mind being independent. The speaker was the guy who is leading the Swaziland trip this summer. He talked about his work in the missions field, obviously, but the end was the important part. He had four books sitting up front, and he told us what they were for. When people decided to go into the missions field, they would sign their name, and oftentimes, they would take their coffins with them, because they knew they wouldn’t be returning (Cool. Freaky, but cool). He proceeded to tell us that if we knew that we were being called to reach the unreached, then come sign the book. Whether we would be doing this for the rest of our lives, for a week, and whether we would go tomorrow, in a year, or if we would wait twenty years, whatever. Come sign. Well, I’ve known for a long time that God without doubt wants me to go and reach the unreached. I’ve known that since I was 13. However, I had no clue as to how long this would last for, where I would go, etc etc. The music started playing and I went down front to sign. I figured it was only my signature that I would be signing, but oh of course not; there was also a spot for the country. I, out of no where, write China. China had been on my mind that night a LOT, and I wanted to write New Zealand (I’ve always wanted to go), but my mind knew that wasn’t correct, and my hand wouldn’t even write it. I wrote China. As I walked back, I said a mini-prayer, “Okay, if you want me there, then I’ll go. Just let me know if that was legit or if it came out of no where.” I headed back to my room and changed my status to “Uh oh” on Facebook. Parker IM’s me and says, “What’s ‘uh oh?’”
“Well.. when you pray for God to send workers out into the field, he does. And he’ll send you.”
“What happened and where are you going?”
“Well.. It’s an interesting story..”
“Okay.. but if you say China, I’m going to laugh.”
“Uuuuh… um… Parker… How did you know that?!?!?!”
“PARKER! How in the world did you know that?!”
“I stopped in front of the ‘Teach in China’ table about two weeks ago, and when I did, you automatically came to mind. It was one of those moments where I knew the thoughts weren’t my own. I prayed about it, and God said, ‘She’s goin’ to China, and she’ll be there a while.”
What I’d like to point out is the fact that I had never, ever, ever mentioned China to anyone other than my mom when I first brought it up to her. Parker had no clue I was planning on this. No one knew. I kept it to myself because it was a pretty huge decision and I haven’t wanted the influence of others on this particular decision, that way when I DID decide, I knew that it would be my own and no one else’s. Granted, a lot can change in four years of college (yes, I know, A LOT), but anyone who knows me also knows I’m a plan-aheader. =P
So,oOkay God.. got the picture. I’ll go! Well, Parker then proceeds to tell me that a friend of his back home had also known this. This friend doesn’t know me. It’s one of Parker’s best friends, but she didn’t know me. Again, kay God.. Got it. I’m goin’. =P
On Friday afternoon when I returned to campus from my practicum, I decided I was going to spend a little time with God prior to the impromptu Chorale rehearsal. I was looking for specific verses, mainly the Matthew 24 section that I mentioned above. That passage then led me to the others, so on and so forth. Continuing on, Saturday night after spending the night in our host home (which was wonderful.. oh yeah, first Chorale tour was this weekend), Ellen, Sally, and I headed upstairs for the night. I was journaling and reading the Bible again, and I did something I sometimes do when I have no specific topic or, for lack of better words, purpose, I’m looking to read into. I will randomly open up my Bible in hopes that God will speak. Now I know that that isn’t a good attitude to have. However, I don’t rely on things like that to further my spiritual life. Anyway.. I crossed my fingers and opened the book.. and I opened automatically to Mark 13. If you get the chance, go read Mark 13. It’s almost the exact same as Matthew 24. What’s different is the type of persecution described. As I lay there thinking about the two different passages, I started to I guess sort of overanalyze a little. Is God trying to tell me something? He’s told me that I’m to go to one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians, so is persecution a possibility? Clearly! Another worry of mine has always been what I’m supposed to say should I ever be thrown in front of people who are asking about my faith, who are tearing my faith to shreds, telling me I’m wrong, and spitting in my face about my God. I don’t have to worry; I’m relying on the Spirit for what it is I need to say. I know that I’ll be taken care of, and should it come to the extreme of persecution, then so be it. With that said, I’ll admit it – I am scared haaaalf to death. I know I shouldn’t be, but I still am. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought, “Oh, wow, I’m guessing God’s hand was all over that one..”, such as coming to IWU. Looking back over this school year, it is extremely obvious that I made the decision in colleges that God wanted me to make. However, it’s been rare that I’ve thought, “This is definitely what I have to do” when I get the Nudge to. I am, beyond a shadow of a doubt, supposed to be in China.
I brought this up to my parents (this is the second time I’ve brought it up with Mom, remember) when they came on Monday to take me out to dinner. I, unfortunately, didn’t have the gall to say, “Oh hey, by the way guys, God spoke and said ‘Go to China.’” I just reaffirmed to Mom (and broke the news to Dad) that I was relatively positive that I would end up in China. They asked a few questions, and I’m hoping they understood that I’m serious about this. I’m not sure if they’ll think I’m crazy or not for telling them that God is the one who made this decision, but in all honesty, I need to buck up and not care. The verse about turning against your mother and father because of Christ just came to mind, and it’s true. I have to follow God before everyone else. Maybe this will open up the door to my witnessing to Dad..
Well, that’s the story for the most part. As of now, I’m continuing to seek God. If you think about it, you might shoot up a prayer or two every now and then about this. I’m trying to find a way to get to China for a week this summer. Really, the only issue is finding someone over there who I can trust to stay with. I’m currently waiting to see if Dave can find anyone associated with our church or something like that, but if that doesn’t work, I have some Plan B’s & C’s (and D’s haha) in mind.
Yup. Okay. There it is. I have homework to do, but I’m going to try to get another blog up by the weekend maybe??!? Who knows.. =P