It’s only 30 more days until I will be boarding a plane for my third mission trip to Egypt.
I’m still nervous that I won’t remember the medical information that I need. I’m still nervous that I will not get the full funding that I need. I’m still nervous about leaving Phillip and the kids.
Excitement and anticipation of what the Holy Spirit is going to do on this trip trumps the nervousness.
And eager expectation to see how the Holy Spirit moves within me and through me is what is propelling my heart and my mind forward towards Egypt.
He will move. Period. I just don’t know how. But I can’t wait to watch and see.
Let me backup a bit.
I grew up in a wonderful family with an amazing church and community, however, the community that I grew up in, at least at that time, was minimally diverse.
Fast forward to my sophomore year in high school, America was attacked by the Taliban. I remember my parents talking about extremists and how extremism does not define the whole culture.
While I believed that, I also felt fear because not only had the Taliban attacked America, within three years, the love of my life, Phillip would be going to Afghanistan and then Iraq, where as a general rule, the Arab people were the enemy, even if the majority wasn’t.
When Phillip came home from Afghanistan and Iraq, he clearly emphasized the same mentality as my parents. Extremism did not define the whole culture and there were more kind and gracious people than there were evil.
And yet we still bore scars from the experiences we had lived.
But God can soften the hearts of anyone including mine and yours.
Again, fast forward to 2018. The previous year, a new pastor, Rev. Dr. Blake Wood was hired at our church, Faith Community Church, after our founding pastor had retired. At the time, we had been at FCC for 10 years and had always loved and supported the global mindset of our church. Pastor Blake came in with a heart for all nations, but specifically the Arab nations. He had served in the Middle East as a missionary with his family for 10 years and had started a house church movement in the Middle East that today is 5,000 strong and growing (Impact Middle East).
Because of Phillip and my experiences, I wondered how this would play out. But God, who is ever kind and ever patient with us, was working on our hearts so that when Pastor Blake announced a medical mission trip to Egypt, Phillip leaned over to me and said, “I think you should go.”
And I said yes.
And yes again in 2020 and yes again in 2022.
Our church has a heart for making disciples of all nations. Where we live, Harrisonburg, happens to be a melting pot of cultures so the nations are literally at our front door. We have services, prayer meetings and house churches actively offered in 5 different languages – Swahili, Arabic, Amharic/Tigrinya, Spanish and English.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a prayer meeting for the Yazidi people. The Yazidis are indigenous to Kurdistan, however, because of ISIS, many have fled to refugee camps in surrounding countries as well as America. And the population of Yazidis in Harrisonburg is growing!
One of the pastors prayed for the Yazidi people in Arabic.
As he prayed, tears streamed down my face because it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard.
Who would have thought that a girl from a small town, having “battle scars” from 9/11 and war would think that an Arabic prayer was beautiful.
Only God can do that kind of heart transformation.
Friends, I don’t know where you stand with missions and the global church, but I can assure you that one day we will bow before the throne of God and every tribe, tongue and nation will be represented. God delights when we go beyond our own walls and share the gospel message with those around us.
I encourage you to ask God to give you an opportunity to pray for or to develop a relationship with someone of a different nationality.
You never know what God will do with a willing heart.
Thanks be to Him.
“There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9.
God, give us the opportunity to share your love with the nations.
PS – If you are interested in donating towards the funding of the Egypt mission trip, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! And thank you!
I can’t help but share some photos from our last trip…