Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eleven Years Ago...

....I went to Romania for the first time. 

I was 16.

I was so excited to go. I had been to Mexico (and loved it!), and I was ready (I thought) to go overseas. However, a few days before the trip, I didn't want to go. I was frustrated and overwhelmed and anxious. I was over it. I knew I wouldn't back out, but I just didn't want to go. 

A couple days before I left, I met Becca Hancock (now Shogren) at the Marketplace. I remember telling her my thoughts and feelings about my upcoming trip, and I remember her being so encouraging--telling me that what I was feeling was completely normal. Satan didn't like what God was about to do through my team, so he'd try to do anything to discourage us.

She gave me a beautiful card that may have seemed like a simple gesture to her, but that rocked my world and my thinking. On the left hand side of the card I read:

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to [Romania] not knowing what will happen to me there. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace!

~Acts 20:22, 24

I clung to those words--literally--I took the card with me. But they were also imprinted on my heart. I vividly remember arriving in Romania, getting into the car, and seeing the city for the first time. An overwhelming peace came over me. I felt at home in this completely foreign place. And, as each day went by, as each challenge arose, I clung to the words in Acts--nothing was as important as completing the task that Jesus had given me.

And as I did that, I fell in love with Romania. 

When I came home from that trip, I knew I'd go back--no question. I placed Becca's card in my special keepsake box, and I pulled it out the following summer before returning to Romania....

....and the following summer....and the following winter....and the following summer....and so on.

As long as Jesus called me to Romania, I'd go--not knowing what would happen to me. 

Today, as I packed and fretted, and worried about the first part of our team getting to Romania, I remembered Becca's card and the words of Acts. No matter how I may "feel" right now, I'm going forward. God will lead us. God will work. With his strength, we'll share His grace and His hope.

The card from Becca. I'm going to keep this thing forever. :) 

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