Continuation from the first 2 parts…..
Summer 2008 and Summer 2009 were two life changing summers for me. And they both played a huge role in what is the next phase of my life. 2008 was when God told me I was going to China. 2009 was when I finally said “yes” to that calling.
I remember sitting in the chapel during staff training in 2008 listening to our speaker who had been part of Youth With a Mission, an organization who provides training and then sends them out onto the mission field. Missions was something that I had always thought about. My second cousins were missionaries in Columbia for as long as I could remember and my whole life I always thought it would be cool to go into missions, but never thought I was capable of it. In June 2008, as Tiffany was speaking I remember very clearly God saying “you are going to China.” I never really thought much about it in all honesty. It had been 6 years since my family adopted my little sister from China and I had always had a heart to go to China, but was thinking a 2 week mission trip, nothing longer. And I had then devoted my schooling to a goal set on working with adoptions and uniting families. So when God told me I was going to China, I once again pushed it to the side. Knowing I would go “someday.”
Summer 2008 was incredible. God worked in my life in so many ways. Challenging me and taking me out of my comfort zone. I was beginning to learn what it looked like to really live out my faith and be outspoken about it.
After summer, I was at loss as to “what was next.” Felt like I would get that “real job” was willing to go wherever that might take me. I even had a phone interview for a position in Minnesota, but it didn’t work out. I then received a call from a friend from Church saying that she new of a family that was in need of a nanny. As I listened to her message, I felt like God said “this is it.” Really God? I went to college for 4 years to nanny?!?! But….. He knew what was in store for my future and this was part of it. So I said yes, and for next school year watched the 3 adorable Lawton children.
Since their Mom was a teacher, this gave me the summer 2009 off and I once again was able to work at Mission Meadows. What a summer. I felt like I had a choice. I could give God my whole life and have Him do with it what He wanted. Or, I could just give Him pieces instead which is what I’d been doing for 23 years. I decided to go with the first option, knowing that my life could look VERY different than I expected. And that was an understatement. I was out of excuses as to why I couldn’t go to China. September 3, 2009, I received the email from Caroline at New Day Foster Home welcoming me to join them in China! How I came to learn about New Day is another story in itself (I seem to have a lot of those). A friend of mine from camp, went to ND back in 2004 with YWAM and told me about it in 2008 encouraging me to go since I had a heart for China orphans. I said I would, but really wasn’t planning on even thinking about it (wow, I’m stubborn). Until 2009, when I knew God was calling me to China, I contacted ND and knew this was it. I was going to travel to China for 4 months in 2010 to love the orphans and the fatherless.
January 19, 2010, I said goodbye to my family and friends and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life to small Chinese village outside of Beijing. What an experience. If you want to hear more about my actually experience in China, read back through my January – May 2010 blog posts and you can see pictures and updates and my experience there. God worked in my life in so many ways. Through support raising, God showed me His provision and His love. And how when He calls, He will provide. And he stretched me in so many ways. Here I thought I was going to be a blessing to these kids. But I was the one who was blessed. God worked miracle after miracle in their little lives and I was honored to be apart of the work that is going on there.
Leaving China was hard. Several of the other volunteers I worked with KNEW they would be back. Just felt this pull that they would one day return. I didn’t feel that way. I would absolutely LOVE to return to China, but when I boarded the plane on May 14, 2010, to head home, I really didn’t know what the Lord had in store for my future and if China was going to be a part of that future. I had a heart for missions and for orphans. But would it be China again? At that point, I honestly couldn’t say that I knew. All I knew was that it was all in the Lord’s hands and He would lead me and guide me in the way I should go.
“In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9