In October of 2019, I was part of a group of 15 people from four different churches who went to Northern India to encourage and serve two children’s homes that are supported by Child of Mine. This trip impacted me immensely, not just because of the projects, but also all of the other things that God did through my time in India. Going on a short-term missions trip is never just about the project!
We travelled to Manali and Subathu to spend time in each of the children’s homes that Child of Mine supports. In our first two weeks, we were tasked with installing a roof at the home in Manali, as well as a few painting projects. However, the real joy was in getting to play with the kids and engaging with the staff of the home. We even got to attend the wedding of one of the grads of the home. Though we had just met them all, we were embraced as part of the family.
From there, we travelled 12 hours on winding roads to spend five days in Subathu, at the second home Child of Mine supports. We were able to serve them by prepping and painting several classrooms in a new building. Doing this along with hanging out with the kids meant an intense schedule for us, but it was well worth it when we saw the encouragement we provided to the people in the homes. And even then, they were just as much of a blessing to us!
One particular quote stands out to me from that time. One of my fellow team members shared with a boy in the home that there was so much joy there. He responded by saying, “Oh, it’s so much more than joy! There is hope, forgiveness, love, and peace, too.”
God’s Work in Me
Although I’ve been a Christian for almost my entire life, the past few years have been marked by complacency and comfort. I trust God with some things—like providing for me—but I don’t really trust Him with everything. There are things that seem impossible and too vulnerable that I’d rather not think or talk about. I’ve chosen to keep these things to myself, thinking I can manage on my own, in my own time, and in my own way. I keep God's help at arm’s length.
While on the trip, we did daily devotions and spent time reading, reflecting, praying, and sharing with one another. This was so helpful to me as I’ve always struggled with discipline in reading and praying. It was during this time that God showed me that He is pursuing me and wants my trust in Him and His promises. The weekly journaling helped me see God’s hand in the week and in my meditations. And God didn’t just speak to me through devos while on the trip, but continued to do His work when I returned.
Upon arrival back in Canada, I felt God revealed two major areas where He had provided for me, despite my lack of trust in Him in either area:
Finances: When I sensed God call me to this trip to India, finances was one of the barriers that I had identified may prevent me from going. I anticipated having to cover the cost of the trip myself, even going so far as to consider putting it on my line of credit as I didn’t have enough savings to cover the cost. While attending an info session for the trip, I felt God challenged me to fundraise and ask others to be involved. He asked me not to try to manage it myself, but rather to trust He would provide.
I had never fundraised before, and I cautiously accepted God’s call to ask others to contribute but went into it skeptical that God would come through and expected to pay for half of it on my own. However, each time I attempted to take the cost back into my own hands, God lovingly reminded me to trust Him and when I stepped back again, He provided. In the end, He provided more than the entire fundraising ask!
Health: I have some health issues and travelling can greatly impact this. Knowing this, I asked for prayer support specifically around health. Yet, looking back, I realized that I never expected God to answer this prayer and I went with the expectation that I’d get sick at least once on the trip. Arriving home and being hit with the realization that God answered my prayer completely and I was not sick at all on the trip was pretty staggering for me.
As I started to unpack what all of this meant a few days after I got back while on the Westside Women’s Retreat, Ephesians 3:20 jumped out at me:
This verse hit me hard, especially in light of my recent realization that I limit what I think God can do in my life. All the amazing truths from the trip and the ones learned at the retreat further opened my eyes to what God was working in me and what He wanted me to see.
Since then, I’ve been on a journey of recognizing other areas of my life that I had not been surrendering to Him. A significant one is my singleness. Having been single for most of my life, and not by my own choice, I began to try to take control instead of waiting on God’s timing and provision—not leaving room to sit in the vulnerable and difficult times of surrendering those unmet longings to God. The temptation is to bury those deep longings and desires so I don’t have to feel the ache of the unmet, and to take control of my singleness by not waiting on God to provide.
Seeing that I had done this in my dating life helped me see other places I’ve pushed God away as well. God has been showing me in this season the areas of my life that I have kept Him out of, and not surrendered to His purpose, will, or timing.
As I contemplate all that God has done through this trip, it’s clear that God was orchestrating a time for me to slow down, focus on Him, and unpack areas of my life that were holding me back in my relationship with Him. God is calling me to surrender my hurts and longings to him each day, and I am seeing Him show Himself faithful in those areas. It can be a scary journey to see God highlight those areas in my life that I need to surrender to him, but it is so exciting to hear God speak into those same areas in new ways. Through it all, He has met me where I am and continues to reassure me that His word is true, His promises are good, and He is faithful.