A couple of years ago, I became pretty interested in the hope for peace between Israel and Palestine. I don't know exactly what about it gripped my heart, but it did and I immediately knew I needed to go on a mission trip. A few trips came up, but there was always one reason (excuse) or another for me not to go. It was too much money that I do not have for one. It conflicted with other plans I had already scheduled was another. The fact that I was incredibly nervous about not only leaving the country, but to the Middle East was the unspoken reason behind everything.
As things with God tend to go, there were things that continued to work on me. Every time a mission trip came up, I received a phone call from the pastor leading the trip. I had a gentle nudging, but the response was generally "maybe next year."
Well, it's next year...
I received the phone call a couple of weeks ago. There was a mission trip leaving in June would I be interested in going. I told him that I really wished I could, but it was just too expensive and the timing was all wrong (not by much, but oh well.) I told him I would ask others in my congregation to see if maybe one of them would want to go. I had no takers. I called him back with the news.
I received another phone call a couple of days ago that went something like this:
Okay, so I just needed to come up with the other half of the expenses that have almost doubled since last year. I told him that I needed to check on a few things and get back with him, but I was still concerned about the scheduling. Oh by the way, the dates on the trip changed and we are now leaving a little earlier (pretty much the amount of time I needed.)
"Sonja, I know you have expressed an interest in this and you are concerned about money. There is a gentleman in my congregation that has been and feels very strongly that others should have an opportunity to go. He is willing to pay half of the costs if that will help you out."
I have a ministry team at my church that began raising money for me to go on the mission trip the first time I mentioned it. Some money was raised, but not nearly enough to cover the cost. I spoke to the chair of that ministry team about the situation. She felt that there would be no problem raising the money for me to go. "Sure, tell him yes!"
Okay, two excuses down...
In the previous conversation with the pastor leading the trip, I brought up my fears, especially with the fighting going on in Gaza. He assured me that we would not be anywhere near there, and that we would be safe. He told me that he was nervous his first trip too. That was helpful, because he has kept going back, so he must feel safe. I also believe that they will not send us if there is a possibility that there may be problems. So, that was taken care of as well.
I talked it over with my husband (who is also not crazy about the idea of me heading to the Middle East). And it is decided...I will be leaving in June.
Now I begin raising the funds to cover the trip. I have stepped out in faith and believe that God will provide. I am also asking everyone for prayers as this team prepares for this mission trip.