When the excitement fades
When God clearly asked me to spread His love internationally instead of going to college as planned, I won’t deny that there was anything but excitement running through my veins. One more year of high school, I thought. Then I am getting on a plane to only God knows where to tell only God knows who that Jesus loves them! God filled me with excitement and joy, and I couldn’t help but overflow with these emotions.
Fast forward past high school graduation and months of fundraising, and I found myself hugging the most important people in my life goodbye. Boarding a plane for Santiago, Chile where I would serve God with OM for the next two years of my life, the excitement to travel, learn and share about Jesus had only increased with time and I could hardly contain myself.
Landing in Santiago, I had some time alone in the airport before heading to the OM Chile base. I journaled my thoughts and reflected on the crazy journey God had led me on. I had just arrived in a foreign country with no language, no money, no family, no friends, and no idea what I was even supposed to be doing. My heart raced, and I could not wait to get started!
The first six months I participated in OM Chile’s Intensive Missions Training (IMT). It was an incredible experience led completely by God. The eight other participants and I lived together, studied together and served together. These strangers soon transformed from classmates to friends and from housemates to family.
My days were full of fellowship, evangelism, studying God’s word and learning a new language. I could see the blessings God was pouring out on me each day as He allowed me to learn fast and love deeply.
So that’s it. In six months I had gone from arriving with nothing to God providing everything. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful story to say that nothing ever went wrong or that living 5,000 miles away from everything familiar never lost its excitement?
That would have been an incredible story, but that isn’t the story God wrote for my Chile missions experience.
In July my eight housemates and I graduated from IMT and within a week they were all on their way back to their home countries. The house ached with silence as the beds were stripped and the closet hangers hung bare. I looked around the house once full of my international brothers and sisters in Christ and couldn’t help but feel a little lonely. Just two weeks later my boyfriend and I decided to end our relationship after three amazing years together.
The weeks that followed approached on unbearable. Every morning it became a battle to get out of bed. I couldn’t pour out love and healing to the people I ministered to while I was feeling alone and broken. So many loved ones from home reached out, asking me how I was and offering me advice. I couldn’t even bring myself to read most of the messages, much less respond. I became dead to the world for about a month, as I tried to forget about my situation and focus on just getting through the next task. Just get out of bed. Just take a shower. Just go to work.
For nearly a month it was too hard pray. The thought of being completely honest with someone (God) was daunting, and the hot tears would already start streaming down my face within the “Dear Father."
Romans 8:26 became sweet words of peace during those weeks.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
The question was asked to me by a friend: “If you would have known what you know now when God called you to leave home, would you have left?”
I pondered her question. “I don’t know.” I was shocked at my own response! My excitement for missions was gone. My excitement for everything was gone.
I had gone from arriving with nothing, to God providing everything, to feeling like I had been stripped of it all all over again. I felt alone; like no one understood, until Jesus’ still soft voice broke through the silence. “I understand,” He said. “I understand singleness. I understand begging God for another way and God not responding the way you want. I understand God’s silence. I understand being far from the ones you love. I understand being misunderstood. I understand you.”
It has now been a couple months since the house was left empty and the relationship ended, and I can tell you that I have never felt more loved, heard and understood by the Father in my life. I don’t know what He has up His sleeve for the rest of my life, but He has filled me once more with His joy and His excitement for the journey.