This past month I made my second trip to Uganda with The ManUp and Go Organization. What a blessed time it was. The overwhelming sense of love and surrender was heavy. Here’s my story.
I had originally planned to go from the get go, in fact I may have even called and started the conversation to get the ball rolling for us to return to the Women’s Conference. The call to go was huge, I couldn’t shake it. It really made no sense to me why my heart’s desire was so on fire to go back, because frankly, it’s not an easy trip. Last years experience was wonderfully hard. Wonderful in what God did through us, hard in my flesh being this crazy American put so far out of my comfort zone. So why go back? I really didn’t know why, I just knew I was suppose to go.
Fast forward a month into planning, and I discovered a schedule conflict with the trip. I was devastated and so conflicted with what to do. My daughter was going to be graduating high school and the week we would be gone would be during drop off time at college. How can I miss that? What does that say to her? As a friend told me, “God will never ask you to sacrifice your family for ministry.”
I battled. I really battled. My heart still felt called to GO, yet my brain and all my mother instincts said STAY. After much prayer and council, I decide to stay. Oh how hard it was to say, “I’m not going”.
Over the next few months I focused on my daughters accomplishments and embrace this big milestone that was upon us. I put the trip to rest in my mind and got back to living in the present. I never told her about the conflict nor did I feel it was something she needed to know about.
One month before we were to drop her off she received a letter from the University inviting her to go to Golden Days. It is a program they had just started this year. It was a program for new incoming students so they could get settled before all the other students arrive. She now had an option to go early, and that was before the team would leave for Africa. My heart jumped and I thought to myself, “Lord, do you really want me to go to Africa? How in the world am I going to raise enough money to go in less than one month? Will I even be able to find a plane ticket with my team, and how expensive is that going to be, will they let me go this late?!”
Over the next week I prayed about it and I reached out to my team leader and a few friends asking for prayers as well.
After I discussed with my daughter about going early to school, we decided this would be a great opportunity to meet new people outside of just her roommate, and get involved and comfortable with the change.
I decided I would try ‘my best’ to raise the money and if I didn’t have it all within two weeks then it just wasn’t meant to be. Over the next two weeks I reached out to a few groups of people and also did some public posts on Facebook for friends and family to donate. I needed to raise almost $4000 in two weeks. My plane tickets were going to be $700 more than the teams. I’m going to be real honest here, I really don’t like asking people for money. It is something that makes me feel so uncomfortable. But I did it and I waited. After the two weeks were up, I had not even raised $1000.
I was completely broken, devastated and wondered if I didn’t hear the call at all! Was I even hearing God? Was this desire not His but for my own selfish reasons?
In my desperation and cries, I pleaded to God to forgive me if I was being selfish. I asked Him to bless the team and protect them on their journey whether I was a part of it or not. I cried and cried, shouting out to the Lord my surrender of this desire. At the end of my prayer my phone notifications started going off. By the time my prayer was done, I had over half the money needed for the trip in my account. Okay God, I’m listening!
That afternoon my husband came home and handed me an envelope. He donated a 1/4 of the trip funds from his business. My husband! Who’s husband does that?! Many struggle supporting these trips as there is risks involved. I cried and cried. He did what God asked him to do. He knew the desire in my heart was not my own.
I only needed enough money to cover the extra part for the plane ticket. In the next week all the funds came in, in fact, more came in than was needed and it helped cover my Visa cost too.
So THIS is “Why I went.” A desire, planted by the Almighty. He knew from the beginning that there never was a schedule conflict. He also waited for me to surrender ‘my doing’ things in ‘my own’ power. He waited for me to fix my eyes on Him and keep them fixed on Him.
My lesson in all of this is wrapped up in this one statement:
Faith requires FULL SURRENDER.
Ironically the word surrender has been a large part of personal revelations this year. The Lord showed me what happens when we fully surrender our own thoughts, expectations, desires and plans. He supplied me with almost $4000 in 14 days, so I could GO and share his love and encouragement with Uganda. Every moment of this trip was love poured out to those kids, ministry leaders, and women and men we spoke with. It was not my ability to love that big, it was God’s ability to love through a surrendered vessel.
I surrendered over and over on the trip, through emotional battles, mental battles, physical battles, and over and over He supplied what I needed and more, the ability to love and encourage and serve. Only God can do that.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4: 6-7
He is so good. Be encouraged today that He has a great plan for your life. I challenge you to surrender your own plans and agendas, and have hope in a God that has an even better plan.
To each and everyone of you who partnered with me through prayers and funds, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for listening to the call as well. Going is a joint effort. Without you, it’s not possible. Thank you, and may God abundantly bless you for your generosity.