Those who talk to me on a regular basis know that February was a rough month for me, to say the least. I was feeling the pressure about deciding about next year and was feeling forgotten by God. I spent all of my quiet times praying and journaling and asking for the same things over and over and over and over again and I felt like He wasn’t listening to me. My Bible plan is chronological so I was in the Old Testament (and will be there for a while longer, let’s be honest) and I was doubting that God could use Numbers Leviticus and Deuteronomy to speak to my heart. I was believing all sorts of lies and I was constantly asking talking complaining wondering and definitely not giving the Lord time or space to speak to me. I wasn’t listening and I wasn’t seeking His will. I was only seeking the answer that I thought I needed of whether or not I should stay in Uruguay for one more year. Little by little as I read through Deuteronomy (say hello to the power of Scripture) God began to remind me that I cannot be forgotten, that I cannot worship other gods like possessions or earthly comforts or friendships or relationships, that I cannot run from His great love. I was encouraged that the Lord above all just wants me to love him and serve him and walk with him.
Finally mid-March I made the decision to serve another year here in Uruguay with Cru! This means that I will be home at the end of May, will spend June and July raising support, meeting with people, and enjoying quality time with friends and family, and then I will return to Uruguay in August. Right away I felt a ton of peace about my decision. For the first time in several weeks I felt peace in my heart and trusted that Jesus was with me in this decision. Even though I know this was where the Lord wants me and will have me next year, it still took me a little while to feel excited about coming back here. But in this, as in all things, God showed up.
This past week has been a joy. I was reminded of how sweet my friendships here really are. I cannot imagine my life without these people in it. I was reminded of how much I love meeting with women. Drinking coffee, eating sweets, talking about boys, giving advice, and talking about God’s profound constant unconditional real love for us. This is a huge part of my job here and I can’t get enough of it. I get to spend my days reminding people of their Creator, reminding women that they are loved beyond belief by the God of the Universe, and reminding others that there are no rules to this thing, it is finished, we are resurrection people, we are free in Christ. I was reminded of the truth and power of the Gospel. I was reminded that God is at work here, with or without us, and how great of a privilege it is to serve Him.
Last night we went to a gathering of American missionaries that happens once a month. Missionaries from many different missions organizations meet to share life together, spend time in worship (in English), share stories of what God is doing, share prayer requests, and spend time in prayer together. It was amazing. Seriously, I can’t explain how refreshing it really was. I was so encouraged by each one’s story and the passion in the room to make Jesus’ name known among the nations. I especially love spending time with missionary families, brave people with a passion for Jesus who moved here even with little kids because they deeply understand the great need. As we went around sharing stories of our Uruguayan friends, I was reminded of how big God is. We each came and shared a few stories of where we see God at work, but just think of how many stories God has! I mean, He has 3 million stories in Uruguay alone, because He knows each and every Uruguayan personally and He is at work in their life pursuing them even if we can’t see it right now. I think of the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15. God is running after His lost sheep, running after those who do not know Him, and I am so honored to be used by Him in this process.
Luke 15:3-7 “So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”