I don’t even know where to start to talk about Israel. Finding the right words to describe my experience is difficult. I will do my best to tell you how I got to Israel.
I am forever changed by my experience there and for what happened in my life leading up to the trip.
I have been dealing with going on mission trips for some time now. Our church has missionaries who have been called to Haiti and go on mission trips there often. I wanted to go to Haiti but I knew my husband would never be okay with that. He told me that he never wanted me to go there because it can be unsafe. I had a burning for going on a trip but I tried ignoring it. I remember being in church in October of 2016 and God spoke to me and I could ignore it no longer. I said God give me confirmation that you want me to be a missionary. I don’t need a sign I want confirmation. (Judges 6:37 “Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.”)
Doing your calling and going on mission trips were mentioned many times in the serivce. I said okay God. I’ll go to the next place someone talks about going to. My Pastor had Brother Mark Bradley talk about Israel and if you wanted to be a part of the team to see him. I said okay God I’ll go to Israel. I went to the alter and told God I’ll go wherever you call me and on the way back told Mark I needed to talk to him about Israel.
The next day I emailed the gentlemen in charge of the trip and said I wanted to go. I was told that the trip would cost around $3500. I told my boss at a job I’d been at for 1 month. I knew there may be some unpaid days but I said I have to go. My boss is a Christian man and he understood and supported it.
I never worried about the money. I knew if God wanted me to go, he would provide the funds. People found out and started giving me checks and sending money to my mission fund. I sent a letter out about a month out from going…it just never seemed to work put for me to send the letters any earlier. I needed about $1500 more when I sent the letters out. Within a week of sending the letters out, I was fully funded and then some.
I knew that this was real and I was going.
Satan knew I was going too. He used close family members to try and get me to not go. My husband was very against me going because he was worried about me. He felt that it was dangerous to go to Israel. He was afraid. I felt like I had no support at home. Several times I almost emailed the team leader and said I wasn’t going to go. I knew that God wanted me to go and that I needed to go because that is what I was called to do. (I listened to Lauren Daigle’s Trust in You a lot! I also relied on Proverbs 3:5)
I looked up songs about being called as a missionary. I found Kari Jobe’s The Cause of Christ and it was a song I listened to every day. I was worried that I might die on my trip. You hear so many lies about Israel in the media and was listening to what my husband was saying. I was willing to die for the cause of Christ if need be. I was going no matter what. I also listened to Oceans by Hillsong. Those 2 songs were MY songs for my trip.
Monday May 29, 2017
The Monday before I left on Wednesday, my Daddy got a call that my Papaw was asleep and wasn’t waking up. We were all eating and celebrating Memorial Day and celebrating before I left on my trip when he got the call. I talked to him privately and he said that Papaw wasn’t doing well and that he was dying. I cried and said I didn’t want him to die when I was gone. Daddy told me that Papaw would want me to go. I had to go no matter what. I said okay.
Tuesday May 30, 2017
I went to the nursing home on Tuesday at lunch and held my Papaw’s beautiful hands and told him I loved him. I thanked him for the Christian raising he gave my Father. I thanked him for praying for me. I told him that I was going on a mission trip and I was leaving the next day. I told him goodbye for now, but one day I’ll see you in Heaven! I kissed him and left.
Tuesday evening I began to get nervous as I packed my suitcase for my trip. Satan started in on me. I began to be afraid that the group wouldn’t like me and that I would be feel left out because they were a family and I was an “outsider”. I was worried I’d be miserable for 2 weeks. I was worried about being alone. I realized what was going on and I said not today Satan! I quickly told him to leave with those lies in the name of Jesus.
Wednesday May 31, 2017
I got up Wednesday morning and got ready to go. I went to breakfast with my husband at our favorite place, Waffle House! My nerves were on full alert! I was shaking from being nervous and being excited. My Uncle Norm sent me a text and told me to be a world changer! It gave me such strength.
My husband and I went to my parents. He and my parents were taking me to the airport. We were all in the kitchen with my Aunt Donna and Uncle Keith from Kentucky and my cousin Jeni and her little girl Rylee. My Dad got a text. My Papaw passed away about 10-15 mins before I had to leave to go to the airport.
I didn’t cry. I was shocked that he went so quickly and knew I had to be strong and go.
My parents and my husband went into the airport with me. They went with me as far as they could and watched me go through security and then waved goodbye. As soon as they couldn’t see me I cried. I was so emotional. I was sad, scared and overjoyed all at once. I composed myself and took my bookbag and carry on and walked to the terminal.
I found my terminal and took a seat. I watched a family say goodbye to a youngman going into the service. His parents, sister and grandparents were all there saying goodbye to him. I watched as they said goodbye and hugged and cried. After he go on the plane the entire family went to the window and watched the plane leave. They went to the other window and watched it take off. It reminded me how important family is and I knew that no matter how alone and scared I felt at that moment that I couldn’t let fear dictate my life. My favorite childhood verse, the first verse I ever memorized, came flooding back to me. Pslams 56:3 “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.”
I prayed and thanked God for the calling, the opportunity and for giving me strength. I thanked him for my Papaw and my family who was praying for me.
I was flying to Chicago by myself. They called for my flight to board and I boarded the plane. I found my seat and found myself smiling from ear to ear. I was actually doing this. I was finally not allowing fear to keep me from doing what God wanted me to do. I plugged in my earbuds as the plane took off and the song Brave by Bethel came on and I suddenly felt very brave. I knew that all the heartache and trials it took to get me to that point was worth it. Satan knew that this trip would change me and take me closer to God. He did everything in his power to try to stop me. I refused to let him.
I got to Chicago and panicked because I had no idea where the connecting flight’s terminal was. I had to compose myself in the bathroom and then I called the team leader Bill. I was actually pretty much right next to the terminal… Go figure!
I met everyone and they were so nice and welcoming! I knew it was going to be an amazing trip and that God had brought us all together for a reason. I still think of the team often and pray for them. I have such an admiration and love for the team.
We boarded the plane and took off to Toronto, Canada. We landed and didn’t have long before we boarded the flight for Tel Aviv, Israel. I grabbed a bite to eat and then it was time to go! I watched so many movies on the way to Israel and was able to get a few hours of sleep in before we landed. The plane food was really good to btw. AirCanada’s food is yummy!
Thursday June 1, 2017
We landed in Israel at around 10am. They are 7 hours ahead of Ohio. I was so excited! We went through security and had to get our passports checked since we were foreigners. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it through. We met Moshe and found our rental vehicle and took off to his home.
If I could tell you anything about this trip, it would be this – Obedience is better than sacrifice. Do what God has called you to do no matter who goes against you. Do what God calls you to do no matter how scared you are. Do what God calls you to do because when you actually do it… you will never find a greater joy, happiness or feel closer to God.
I will post more about the actual mission trip in Israel tomorrow. I wanted to give you the back story so you can understand where I was spiritually and mentally.
I had the most amazing experience. I want to go back. I fell in love with Israel and the people there. I loved the missionary family we stayed with and their congregation. I met some people who have left an imprint on my heart. I know this is just the beginning for me.
Love in Christ,