From the Heart

Orientation

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10 –

Saturday morning, as my first flight left familiar soil, I whispered in my heart, “Ok, God, this is all You. Teach me to trust whatever lies ahead.”

So much preparation, support raising, and late night suitcase packing — and unpacking and repacking again to make sure it was just under the weight limit — had physically gone into making this moment happen. Spiritually, much had been going on too as God softened my heart to desire His will for my summer and for His gospel to be spread among the African people. I’d struggled with doubts, insecurities, fears, and overwhelming stress. And now here I was, captive on a plane and fully dependent on my gracious Savior to lead me on.

And of course He does lead so beautifully. He provides me with exactly what I need before I even know my needs. The past four days I’ve been in West Palm Beach, Florida (I know, suffering for the gospel on the beautiful Florida ocean), for the Orientation phase of my mission trip. It’s been wonderful and soul-renewing.

If I were completely honest, I’ve been struggling with feelings of spiritual inadequacy, especially when I think about going on the foreign mission field for the summer and joining in the work of seasoned, native missionaries in Togo. I’ve felt heavy condemnation about my lack of prayer and steadfast faith, my flawed relationship skills, my feeble fervor in sharing the gospel. Did God really want me? Or did I overestimate my “qualifications” for this trip?

The sessions at Orientation have been like a marvelous self-counseling experience. We’ve learned such encouraging things about the purpose of God in missions — His own glory! I’ve been reminded that God chooses to carry out that purpose through weak individuals so that His power will shine all the more brightly. One session on suffering taught me that in our pain and brokenness and feelings of inadequacy, God is present and sufficient and showing Himself strong for the sake of His name.

“Not I, but Christ” is the mantra that’s repeated itself in my mind this week.

Not I, but Christ could orchestrate the composition of our summer team. How He’s brought together the eight of us from around the country with individual gifts and yet bonding so quickly in our common goal just amazes me. And makes me so grateful.

Not I, but Christ could bring that group of eight young people to a small African city with  a totally different culture to join with the local Christians as one Body and minister under the banner of One Name. That is what we are excitedly anticipating, praying for, and trusting Him to do.

Our plane flies out on Thursday. We’ll have a layover in Paris and then land in Togo on Friday! Then the real adventure begins!

There is no way to describe how grateful I am for your prayers. I’ve already been so blessed knowing that our team is being covered with prayer — Praise God for giving such great team unity before our trip, bringing us all safely together. I’m grateful for a sense of peace and rest that I know must be a result of prayer, since I am usually a chronic worrier 🙂

As I’m looking at the week ahead, these are the prayer requests that come to mind:

– My first international flight! Please pray that everything goes smoothly getting on and off flights, going through customs, and keeping our team safe throughout travel.

– I’m the ETC (Edge team coordinator) of our team which means that I have some extra responsibilities like managing team finances, leading team devotions, and communicating between the field leaders and team members. I want to do this “job” well, but I often doubt my abilities to be a leader when I feel so incompetent myself. Would you pray that I’d be leaning on God’s strength rather than my own and be seeking the good of others above my own good?

– Please pray for continued protection of health. A few of our team members are concerned about some of their occasional health issues (pain, allergies, etc) flaring up while in Africa. And our Malaria doses begin tomorrow, so we are praying that there are no undesirable side effects from that!

– Please pray for my personal devotion and prayer time. One of our speakers, Mitchell Lee, talked about having a “ministry of absence” as well as a “ministry of presence”. I want to be cultivating my relationship with Jesus while going out to show His love to the people of Togo, to the missionaries, and to my teammates. Please pray that I would not neglect my first love but would only grow in my affection for Him!

– Please continue to pray for the Togo missionaries and the pastors in the villages where we will be visiting. They already have so much on the plate and yet are willing to take us and host us for a summer. I would love our team to be able to serve and encourage these Togolese Christians!

There is so much more I could say. Thank you to everyone who has emailed me or sent me encouraging messages. I love you all and cannot wait to share your love with the people of Togo!!

For now, I’m going to bed so I can be well-rested for our final day of Orientation before heading out for the place I’ve already grown to love and long for.

Not I, but Christ. 

 

{Pictures of our team!!}

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IMG_6078So glad my teammates like to run 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Orientation

  1. I’m praying for you Becky! God is so good! I am encouraged greatly every time I think of your story. Thank you for these posts. I’m praying for God to give you a love to share even greater than what you already have {if that’s possible ;)} Have a great flight!

  2. Becky, what a wonderful adventure you are heading for. God will guide you every step of the way. Praying for you!

  3. Becky,
    We are praying for all those requests. We do pray that the flight, transfers, and immigration went well with you and you have arrived safely. Keith and I are in London this week with Matt and Jenn Irvine and leave for Granada tomorrow to spend time with Stephen and Charity Jones. I will be staying on in Granada to help with the English camp with the others from WPC who are coming to help. So we are on the same side of the ocean but on different continents. Pray for us that we will be of help to those on the London and Granada team on a more permanent basis.
    God be with you.
    Keith and Becky Irvine

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