Years ago, probably pretty close to 10 years ago, I attended the Joyce Meyer’s Women’s conference in St. Louis. It was an amazing time of worship and drawing close to the Lord. It was also the first time my heart and eyes were truly opened to “the least of these”. We watched a video JM ministries had made while serving in India. Children, living or rather trying to survive, in a garbage dump. Some of them had found cardboard to lean together to make a home and they spent their days digging through the trash looking for something metal they could sell. The trash they were living in, walking in and digging through, looked like something more along the lines of what we would see in a septic tank. Their trash is truly trash. I remembered being heartbroken, overwhelmed and floored. How did I not know that children were living this way? They said something at the end of the video that has stuck in my mind, they didn’t show us everything, they had “softened” the video, they said the majority of Americans, when confronted with the reality of the desperate needs, when shown the heartbreaking reality of poverty, we shut down, instead of responding. We simply can’t handle the desperate truth. I remember thinking as the images of the children in the dump rolled through my mind, that it is worse than that, there are babies, living worse than what I just saw. And I was overwhelmed.
I asked God at that moment to help me not turn away from need. To keep my mind and heart open, seeking and searching for the least of these. I knew in that moment, at that conference, and all the years since that I would go to India.
Last year, 2013 was a tough year for me. My kids graduated High School and went to college. While I am beyond proud of who they are and what they are doing with their lives, I lost my way for a few months (ok, maybe a lot of months). I was 19 years old when I had Anthony, so my life has been being his mama, I have loved being his mama. Then the Lord brought us Bekah Jane and the two of them have made our home so full of live, love and joy and now here I was trying to figure out what a mama does if she isn’t being a mama. I remember one morning waking up and realizing how many years I had left to be alive (none of us know our days, I was just guessing) and then asking God what I was supposed to do with all those years. I was sad and angry at God. I told Him that morning that I was perfectly ok if my time on earth was done. Fortunately, His plans are always greater than ours. Late in 2013 I had a conversation with Barry Morton (my pastor and my boss) we were planning some things for 2014 and I had a moment (or several moments) of panic, there was no way I could survive another year like 2013, but as I flipped through calendar months, I saw everything being just as it was and had been. I knew in that moment that I had to make decisions and choices that were not like the ones I had been making, I looked at Barry and said only thing that came to my mind, I have to go on a mission trip.
I began looking for a trip to go on, an organization to travel and work with and couldn’t find one that seem to fit what I was looking for. This was also about the time that I knew something was wrong medically. 2014 rolled around and I hadn’t found a mission trip, I became a CASA (which you should do!) and I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. My heart was healing and I was adjusting to my empty nest. The beginning of 2014 was mostly spent learning this new life and I asked God to show me what He would have for me, I was going to stop looking and creating on my own, and seek His plan instead.
During a particularly nasty flair up of this auto-immune disorder I was struggling with a lot of pain and fatigue. One Saturday I had planned to get a pedicure, but I was feeling really rough that day, yet, David kept encouraging me to go. I took my Kindle so I could read and zone out while I was there. My pedicure had just begun when water began flowing out of the tub and all over the floor. They had to move me, and they moved me to the chair that was right next to the only other person in the shop. I turned my shoulder and put my kindle in my face so everyone would know I wasn’t there to chat. A few moments later the lady sitting next to me told me she was leaving the next day for a mission trip. I very begrudgingly put my kindle down and engaged in conversation. She told me all about the trips she had been on, the ministry her and her husband started over 30 years ago and as I began to truly hear her, I felt the Lord tell me this was a purposed meeting. She began telling me about their ministry in India. I said to her that I had been looking for a mission trip and I had always known I would go to India. She looked at me, smiled and said, “Rebecca, I think the Lord broke your chair, He meant for us to talk”. As she left she told me she looked forward to going on a mission with me and expected I would be praying for her while she was on her trip. I remembering smiling and thanking God that He is bigger than my stubborn heart!
Shortly after I sat in my prayer garden, still struggling with the pain and fatigue and I told God that all the things He had lined up before me weren’t going to work because I am sick now. How can I go to India when I have no idea when the pain and fatigue will strike? He reminded me that while the diagnosis is new to me, it isn’t to Him and that my responsibility is to be obedient to what He ask me to do, He is the one who supplies all that I need to accomplish His will.
So, India?! Yes, India. I am excited and nervous and in awe of how God purposes and plans things for us, we just have to say yes. I will be traveling with other Momentum church staff and partners, James McCauley, Nicole and Pat Walton and Debbie Simmons and we are joining TCWM for their 34th mission trip to India. We will participate in ministry to children, women, evangelism and medical missions. For me the most important thing I will be doing there is reflecting Christ. He has shown me great love, mercy and tenderness. He has shown me that I have value to Him, not because of what I do or don’t do, not because of what I have or don’t have, not because of where I have been or where I am going, but because I am His, His daughter, who He loves. I want to go and reflect Him, to prayerfully help someone see and know the very thing that gives me life can give them life. I want to reflect His love for them, for us. I know when I leave India, the world will not be saved, children will still live in garbage dumps, women will still have little to no value, hundreds of people will still suffer under a caste system that “doesn’t exist anymore”, but prayerfully when I leave, I will leave behind the love that Jesus has lavished upon me, because I was faithful to love even when it doesn’t make sense.
So, yea, India.
Would love for you to help us go to India and we need your prayers! I have a Fundly account here: https://fundly.com/rebecca-s-momentum-india-mission, you can financially support me there as well as let me know that you are praying for us. We are hosting a 5k :Momentum on a Mission and you can order a T-shirt for $20.00 this will be on the front:
Looking forward to experience all that God has in store for us! Thank you for partnering with us!!