In exactly 48 days I will board a plane bound for Uganda, via London, with a change of planes in Nairobi, Kenya! To say I am excited would be a gross understatement! I am in absolute awe that the God of the Universe began weaving the tapestry of my life before the foundation of the world to include a call to and passion for missions. Oh, I certainly was not aware of His “behind-the-scenes” design. In fact, had anyone told me even 20 years ago that I would be serving on foreign soil anywhere as a missionary, I would have scoffed at the mere implication! How I remember the many times I bargained with God that I would do anything for anyone anywhere anytime…”just please don’t ever call me to be a missionary overseas! PLEASE!” Guess what! He did anyway! Isn’t that just like God?!?!?!
Tapestry weaving takes time. It is an arduous process, from the design layout to the intricate stitching of the pattern, to edge finishing…a slow, intentional, and deliberate process culminating in a lovely masterpiece. The artist has control; the threads only do what the artist guides them to do. Thus was the process of my calling to a passion for missions. All the while I was learning about Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong…and going to the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky as a student and later as a youth leader for mission trips…and teaching the GA’s at church…and listening to messages from our missionaries to Japan who attended our church…and thought I was bored listening to and teaching about this “bland” information, God was actually designing threads of desire within me to serve those less fortunate within my own city, state, country..and on to foreign lands. It could only be a God thing! I was oblivious; but God was working nonetheless! Just like our God, isn’t it?
I can trace the beginnings of this tapestry back to about age 12 (so about45 year ago), though I know the Lord began this good work in me the moment I was conceived. I heard…not much sunk in; I kept hearing and gleaned a bit of head knowledge; I taught it and, as I did, continued absorbing the information (God was working, but I didn’t know it!); I went on some trips to Appalachia (my friends in youth group were going, so I did not want to be left out); I returned later as a youth leader, slowly developing a love of those we were in contact with; I became a Mom, so for many years the process seemed to become dormant…oh, but my God wasn’t dormant! Like the EverReady Bunny He just kept going and going, working and working, planting and weaving within me; until one day I read that my church would be taking a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic for a week of building, feeding hungry children and loving on people! I KNEW that I HAD to go! I cannot tell you why or how I knew…I just knew that I knew! And…this from one who despises flying!
So I responded obediently to that call…and I have never been the same, nor have I ever looked back! This summer will be my 11th year to serve in the Dominican Republic with folks who have become my family! I love them SOOOO much and I always return home feeling much more blessed than I have BEEN a blessing! Some of it is hard manual labor; other parts involve loving on people…all of it requires being Jesus with skin on, to be a shining light in many dark places, where life is hard…and painful…and, at times, helpless, leaving many feeling hopeless! Our job is to show them that there is ALWAYS hope…ALWAYS~ in and through Jesus.
I cannot tell you when, but some time back I felt a stirring in my spirit to serve in Africa. Really, Lord?! AFRICA? YES, REALLY! Africa! I had no idea how, when or specifically where…but, again, I knew that I knew that I knew that I was to go to Africa and serve. In typical God-fashion He prompted me, at a school event, to speak to Tina and ask to meet with her to discuss her ministry (which, at that time, was in Latin American countries, inner city New York, Nashville, and Chicago)! Tina and I had children at the same school and knew who each other was; we spoke mostly when we saw each other on the beach in Destin, Florida on Spring Break each year with our children! I know! Crazy, right?
So, we met for coffee one morning, she told me about her ministry, invited me to co-lead a trip with her that summer to Chicago…that led to her asking my husband and I to serve on her Board of Directors…concurrent with her first trip to Uganda, which morphed into a strong call of the Lord on her heart to focus the ministry on Uganda…and the rest, as they say, is HIS-story! Tina has been living in Uganda since January, performing due diligence on our future plans, while we, as a Board, have been processing the information she has given us (many of our Board just returned from a visit there) and prayerfully and carefully seeking the Lord’s perfect will for H.E.A.L. Ministries (www.heal-ministries.org). I am counting down the days until it’s time to head out for that lllllllllllllllooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggg flight to Uganda (this for a lady who does not like flying! Really, God? Yes, really, Lisa)! We will be serving in many places, including the following:
Would you please join me in prayer for our journey~ for safety, health and for a spiritual experience for all of our team? Please also pray for our families who will be at home while we are away, that they will be safe and healthy, as well. And, would you please prayerfully consider becoming a monthly donor to our ministry (www.heal-ministries.org) as we begin this venture the Lord is calling us to?
Thank-you for reading this length email and for your faithfulness to love and support me by visiting my blog. I invite and encourage you to share a link to this blog post, as we want to spread the word about all the Lord is doing and desiring to do through H.E.A.L. Ministries.