Excerpt from LWI El Salvador 2017 Mission Journal
October 12, 2017
As many of my mission followers know, God always shows me a revelation, a truth, or provides a message that I am to take forward from each short-term trip. This year was no different. We came to drill a well, and in return, God continued to share with me ideas and concepts to take forward.
Last year’s trip to El Salvador was significant, because it was the final message in a book that God was writing for me. It culminated into the concept of World Changers on Mission (WCoM). As I approached this trip, I was curious whether there would be a message, and if so, would it be the beginning of a new book or perhaps its own short story. As is God’s way, He never shares the entire plan with me. As He impressed upon me a few years ago with a vision: if He gave me the entire plan, I would have nothing to look forward to.
You ask, “What did God impress upon you this trip in El Salvador?” I experienced firsthand how the prisoners and community looked at me and how some of them hugged me. They all wanted a future–something to look forward to. Many of the kids, teachers, and parents wanted to come to America, a land where they believe dreams can come true. We, who hold the power and resources, have a have a responsibility to honor others by truly seeing, knowing, and accepting others despite our differences in circumstances and cultures.
I am now a life and leadership coach. I feel like I have been one my entire life, living it even without the formal training and title until this year. I graduated in May with my Master’s in Human Services Counseling, Life Coaching, and put out my shingle under Shine Crossings. Although I envisioned working with both individuals and businesses, the clientele who have reached out have primarily been friends, colleagues, and friends of friends. I cannot tell you how much joy I get when I see my clients flourish, achieve their dreams, and improve their lives and relationships. I really do feel like I’m living my calling.
In many ways my mission of life coaching is linked to the message of this mission. Life coaching allows me to enter into a relationship where a person can be seen, known, and accepted. If there is a connection between my coaching mission and the mission field, where do a take life coaching? God told me many years ago that He has no borders, and neither should I. I have a suspicion that I may need to take life and leadership coaching outside the walls of America.
Ivy keeps coming to mind. Is it coincidence or plan that I met this self-taught English-speaking teacher, who lives in a rural farming community in El Salvador? What is the likelihood that Ivy is fluent in English with no one to speak with until our team comes to drill a well on the school property? Was this a divine encounter? Was I predestine to meet Ivy? What will Ivy and I do together?
Although I prepared one, I never had the opportunity to give my devotional as other team members stepped up to share what was on their hearts. What I planned to share was the life Scripture that God first put on my heart during my first mission trip to Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. This Scripture was the intended message that the mission team was to teach at the local high school we visited:
Jeremiah 29:11 which says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Then a few months before this trip, God strongly laid down on my heart:
John 15:5 which says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
I see how the Scriptures connect and build upon one another. Jeremiah first declares the truth: there is a plan, a plan for a future filled with hope. John then declares how I must walk out the plan for it to come to fruition. I believe it is our human nature to create our own plan and exercise our own free will to execute that plan. Our ears become muted to God’s direction and pearls of wisdom, so we end up relying more on our own foolish ways. It takes concentration and effort to fight my own free will and follow God’s plan for my life.
God’s intended message for me is not crystal clear, so I will continue to pray for its clarity. If you have read through all my entries, you will notice several highlighted phrases that resonated with me throughout the trip. I believe the bigger picture lies in these puzzle pieces:
- God brings together His team
- People want to be seen by others
- We live out purpose when we live in community
- Make time to be in relationship
- God’s dreams for us are always bigger than we can imagine
- I am not the puzzle, but only one piece of a bigger vision
- God never leaves us; He never forsakes us
- People have a deep desire to be known and accepted for who they are, not necessarily, for what they have done