Starting this process of itineration has been a roller coaster ride! We are incredibly thankful to our families and all of the churches we have visited so far, for being so giving of their support and hospitality. The love and generosity that we’ve received from our family and the strangers that have become friends, helps to keep us going!
One of my goals through this blog is to be transparent about this process. We are in a unique place to showcase how God remains faithful in times of doubt, insecurity, and fear.
I have heard a lot of stories from missionaries through the years and so many of their beginning stories include a “calling” from a young age or some moment that was pivotal and beautiful that lead them to give up their American lifestyle to take on an amazing mission. It all seemed so self-less to me. I romanticized their stories to the point that I thought that if I ever found myself making the same decision, that it would be a perfect moment, without fear or doubt.
I remember a conversation that Kenny and I had about a year and a half ago. We both felt a shift on the horizon. After talking late one night, we found ourselves at a crossroad. My heart was aching to adopt a child and his heart was leading him to the mission field. We were in two different places and decided to pray about it and revisit the conversation later. I’ve wanted to adopt for a very long time, but I was TERRIFIED of being a missionary. Five years ago, I would have left for another country pretty easily, but having a kid changed me.
Not many people know this, but I dealt with a lot of anxiety and fear after having Layla. I want to protect her with everything I have, but sometimes the burden of that would weigh too heavy. The thought that I may not always be able to protect her left me paralyzed with grief and fear. Just the idea of taking Layla to a foreign country made me sick.
I didn’t expect this. I have always been independent and extremely willing to follow whatever path God had for me. I never thought that I would want to say “No” to missions. I never thought this “calling” would be so… human.
I never thought this “calling” would be so… human.
I fought fear and anxiety (and probably some post-pregnancy hormones, too) for quite some time. I prayed every day that God would guard my heart from fear – that He would instill boldness into my spirit. For weeks, I played the song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music EVERY DAY.
I do not want fear to drive my life.
I do not want fear to pressure me into disobedience.
Around the end of 2015 (I think), I saw a post on Facebook from Daren and Heidi Walker. They were looking for missionary associates to work with Latin America Child Care, now ChildHope. I saw it and knew immediately that we needed to apply. God really knows how to get us where we need to be at the right moment, huh? I mentioned the post to Kenny and He saw the same post. He put in our application and we agreed that we would walk through every open door during the application process.
This was the biggest step of faith that either of us have ever taken. We had been youth pastors together since 2010 and Kenny by himself, since 2006. We have loved most every moment of it! We saw ourselves being youth pastors for a very long time. It was so hard knowing that we wouldn’t be with our kids every week. We love Dublin and we love the kids of Dublin very much. That will never change. Heidi Walker, one of the missionaries we’ll be working with in Guatemala, gave us some incredible wisdom. She said that one of the best things we could do for our youth, is to show them what obedience looks like.
One of the best things we could do for our youth, is to show them what obedience looks like.
She was right.
We thought it would be hard saying goodbye to our youth kids, and it has been, but one of the most difficult adjustments has been being away from our church family on Sundays.
Don’t get me wrong, we love visiting churches and building partnerships! But we greatly miss our home base.
We are certain of what God wants us to do, but every day Kenny and I face insecurity about this next phase. In the midst of it all, we choose to trust that his plan is greater than our doubts and fears.
Kenny and I are so eager to get to Guatemala! But we need your prayers even now, as we itinerate!
Please pray with us that:
- We are encouraged and strengthened during this itineration time
- Individuals and churches will recognize the need in Guatemala and will support us financially and in prayer
- God will lead 10 (at least) people to sponsor children through ChildHope while we itinerate
- Layla will get well soon – Poor baby has been sick for almost two weeks!
- God uses the new government leadership in Guatemala to positively affect the people
- Opportunities will arise to connect national schools in Guatemala with ChildHope