On May 18, 1991, if God had joined me for coffee that morning and told me a quick summary of my life - especially the 9 kids part - I may have hesitated before taking those steps down the aisle. If He had told me that there would be a day that I would be camping in a tent in the Amazon Rainforest and riding boats up and down the river visiting villages and training men to be pastors, I probably would have laughed like Sarah! (Genesis 18:12-13)
Friday was my birthday. The kids asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I smiled and said, "A trip to Peru." I honestly had no hope as I said that that I would be able to return this year. As you can imagine, our grocery budget would feed a village in Peru. (Seriously!) So there's not much left at the end of the month. In fact, usually there's month left at the end of the money. But, we know that God is the one who has put this ministry in place and as my Daddy says, "He owns the hills, and all the cows on the hills, and all the taters in the hills.", so what "we" have is pretty much irrelevant when God starts putting a plan in motion.
Saturday morning over coffee, I said to Mike, "I wish there was a way I could be at Santa Maria in October for the pastor training. Even if I didn't help with the training, how awesome would it be to just sit back and watch God work?!" Having already spent 3 weeks in Peru in April and a week at Train & Multiply training in August, Mike's vacation from work is done for the year, but he agreed to pray about it and see what God wanted to do. We went to prayer and asked God to make it clear if it was His will and make a way, financially, if I was to go. Libby, our 15 year old daughter, who went to Peru with me last October and completely fell in love with the people, had already been working all Summer, shoveling out goat pens and stacking hay for a neighbor, and had saved almost enough money for a plane ticket.
Some generous friends had made some donations and some generous relatives had given me money for my birthday, and when we looked at the cost of tickets (which are currently lower than I have ever paid for tickets to Peru!), we were only $500 shy of what we needed to get to Lima. Saturday night we prayed for God to show us what to do. Sunday night we went to bed with the money for the tickets!
We still need tickets from Lima to Iquitos and back ($100 each way/per person), but we're trusting that God wants us there and He'll provide!
Let me just say, again, that we are NOT missionaries. We're just regular people who have surrendered everything to God and said, "Here we are. Send us. If you want us to move our family to the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, just say the word. If you want us to stay put and work with ministry partners in the Amazon, we'll do that, too. You're writing this story, Lord."
And let me say, we have never seen blessings before like we are seeing now since the day we said, "We are available to do whatever you want us to do, Lord!" The story of how we started out going on a short term mission trip to see if we could do something to bless the people of Peru, and came home with our hearts so full of blessings from them... to where we are now, would be more than you would want to read in a single blog post. It's an amazing story. Just incredible. Wow. All the things we have seen God do, and then things we heard Him say to us that were confirmed by many others is just mind-blowing!
I was talking to a friend this morning about mission ministries we are both involved in, and we agreed that being in the center of God's will is the absolute best and most comfortable place to be. God saw fit to reach down into Pennsylvania and lift us out of our mundane lives and say, "I have something different in mind for you now."
To think that all those days when I was working at the law firm or chasing toddlers, and loose cows that had broken through the fence, and finishing our homeschool day at 9 o'clock at night, God was smiling and saying, "Hang on. I know something you don't know. One of these days, I'm going to call you to something totally different...For all things work together for good to those who love me and are called according to my purpose."
We are so blessed and so honored to be allowed to be involved in this work. I can't wait to see what God is going to do in Peru in October!!! -- Vicki