Have you ever been so overwhelmed that all you wanted to do was escape? For me, the month of June was exactly that. Hence, the reason my June update is going out in July. This past month has been one of those months I thought I wasn’t going to make it through. It started with planning a mission trip to South Asia. If you’ve ever been on a short-term trip, take time to thank the person who planned it. I have a new found appreciation for those who are working behind the scenes to make sure short-term trips run smoothly.
With most of our SGWM team leaving for a mission’s trip to South Asia, it left only Joel and me to hold down the fort at the SGWM office. Joel, if you don’t know, is our “communications guy” at SGWM. He does everything from finance to Facebook updates, to writing blogs for SGWM. Without him, the SGWM office wouldn’t be the same. He’s married to Amy, one of the sweetest ladies I know and he has three adorable kids, that not only pray for me but also for the Roma people in Croatia. (Parenting goals!) Joel left his job and now has to raise financial support to work at SGWM. He left his comfort zone to work with and serve missionaries all over the world! Pray for the Garcia Family as they continue to live each day by faith. With the team serving in South Asia, everything that normally gets done with a team of 5 needed to get done with a team of two. However, the Lord showed Joel and me so much grace while the team was gone. The SGWM office didn’t burn down and the best part is that we had 8 new missionary applicants in that two week period. The Lord is stirring up people for the nations and I am so humbled I get to be a part of it.
While the team was gone in South Asia, my sister was hospitalized. My family took her into the ER thinking that she was going to be released the same day but instead the ER doctor decided to admit her. We spent a couple of days in the hospital before the surgeon, assigned to her, decided that she needed to have surgery. My family as a whole was exhausted, overwhelmed and scared all at once. Because my sister has down syndrome the chance of her surviving a surgery is significantly less than if I were to go in and have surgery. My entire family, parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts, and uncles spent Father’s Day in a hospital room waiting for her to get out of surgery. By God’s grace, the surgery went well and she is now recovering. To throw another kindle to the flame, while my sister was in the hospital I was preparing to start teaching at Voice of Refugees. My sister had surgery on Sunday; my first class was on Monday. I walked into my classroom on Monday exhausted from spending the entire weekend at the hospital, emotionally drained from thinking that I was going to lose my sister, and completely unprepared for teaching the group that I was assigned to. It was God’s grace that got me through the first day.
Working at Voice of Refugees (VOR) has been the biggest blessing! Just a couple of years ago, I was one of those people who didn’t want to receive refugees into the USA. Needless to say, the Lord has been working on my heart. A few months ago, I served at VOR for the Women’s Refugee Day. We served the ladies by pampering them and by letting them know that God, their Creator, loves them. I loved every second of it! The Lord gave me the boldness to share with Muslim ladies about Jesus. Little did I know that Women’s Refugee day would lead to teaching kids at VOR for the summer. I work with kids ranging from kinder to fourth grade. I have about 20 kids in my class, 10 which come from a Christian home and 10 which come from a Muslim home. Each day we practice reading, writing, art, science, pe, and then we do circle time. It’s during circle time that I have the privilege of sharing Bible stories with the kids and let me just say God is planting seeds in their hearts and I am blown away by the way He is already working in their hearts. I have kids asking questions like “Doesn’t God only talk to gods/prophets?” “We can talk to God all the time?” “Jesus never died, did he?” “Why did Jesus have to die?” “Are these stories 100% real?” I look forward to Bible time because I know in the 40 minutes we have dedicated to circle time that the Lord is moving and He is personally reaching out to these Muslim and Christian refugees. The kids in my class wanted to name themselves the Warriors. I chuckled at the name they selected but every time I call them the Warriors in class I think about how one day, they could all be warriors for Christ. God has brought the missions field to us, there is no longer an excuse to not share the gospel with the lost. The Muslim community needs Jesus and the Lord has placed many here in the USA, in a country where they no longer face death when it comes to believing in the name of Jesus. I am so excited to see how the Lord is going to continue to minister to the ‘Warriors’. Pray for me as I continue to seek the Lord on how to best serve and love on them. Pray for softened hearts as in the weeks leading up, we will be sharing about the life and death of Christ.
Apart from working at VOR and SGWM, I’ve also had the privileged to attend two conferences to represent SGWM. I was able to catch up with old friends and make new friends. More importantly, I was able to see how the Lord is working all over the world. The Lord is stirring up the hearts of people for the nations, one soul at a time. As a church, our goal should be to make sure that everyone on planet earth, not just in our cities or our countries, but everyone all over the world has heard the gospel. We all have been given a part, but are we actually taking part in it?
With all that to say, the only way I made it through this crazy month was because of Jesus. He sustained me through it all. Through the crazy, I took it all to Jesus and laid it at His feet. I woke up every morning, not wanting to get out of bed but praying the Lord would give me the desire to get up and the strength to get through the day. I’ve learned firsthand how prayer changes things. Simply put, I learned how to better communicate with my Dad. Jesus was my Rock. His grace was never ending and His strength got me through this past month.
With every update I write, the more excited I get about returning back to Croatia. I am currently 60% of my goal, which means I only need to raise $400/month more before I get to head back! Every day I am blown away by God’s goodness and how He continues to provide. Please continue to pray for me, as every day I get closer to my departure date. The Lord is faithful and you can always trust that His timing is perfect!