Sometimes God gives you glimpses into the future. Several years ago when I was not truly following Jesus, He spoke to my heart. The words He spoke into my heart was a vision that I would be a director, a wife, and a mother. I knew I wanted to be a director and was pursuing my Master’s so I could do it one day.
However, I wanted to be a mother but not necessarily a wife. I questioned the idea of being married because at that time of my life I was a pretty strong feminist and not really a fan of men in general (God definitely changed me in that area within the last couple of years). I also grew up in a world where women either worked or stayed at home – definitely not both. I did not think being a director and a wife would balance well. Within the last year, God has put desires on my heart of what I will be a director of and shown me that I will be a founder of a non-profit as well. He has also put a desire on my heart for marriage that was not there for a long time in my life.
Recently, I found that some men were intimidated by my vision for my life. Before I went to Panama, one man started to talk to me and asked what I did. When I explained what I did, he almost immediately became intimidated by me. He began to put himself down and talked about how he could never do what I do. This is definitely not the first time that has occurred. That is very disheartening because that is not really the reaction you want from anyone, much less guys, when you talk about what you do. That doesn’t bode well for finding Godly men who believe in themselves and have visions and dreams as well.
However, this week I watched a woman who had a vision to help the girls of Panama orchestrate her vision. She had a call to obedience. The crazy thing is that she followed that call and there was a man who came alongside her with the same vision. I spent the week watching a fairly young couple with their two children minister to THOUSANDS of teenagers around Panama City. Not to mention – doing it while orchestrating 300 volunteers from the United States!
I could tell you tons of stories of the awesome things that happened. I could tell you how my client who has been through hell and back asked for a rock from Panama City. Tell you how every girl at #Ilumina17 got a rock with Revelations 2:17 written on it. I could tell you about how I was able to get one of those rocks and bring it back to my client as proof of God’s never-ending love.
There were so many beautiful and special teenage girls in Panama that I met. I could tell you about our bumbling conversations alternating between Spanish and English. There was the time I Salsa danced with a group of teenage girls under a tin roof in the pouring rain (Who knew all of that Salsa dancing I’ve done recently would be for a reason?). The time we had a Holy Spirit moment at the school where Ilumina started where I got to pray with countless girls who are so PRECIOUS to God.
The memories that stuck to me though are the people from the states that I met. Sometimes it seems like short-term missions changes us more than it changes those whose lives we have the privilege of touching for just a week. Our church team of 29 was assigned to be ministry partners with a group of 11 from Valley Forge University in Pennsylvania.
Those young adults were on FIRE for Jesus. I watched us come together as a group and form incredible bonds. Every day we prayed on the bus, broke out into worship, and were known for our joyful attitudes despite some mishaps throughout the trip. Everyone knew when Team Mango came into the room!Our final night in Panama we had a Holy Spirit miracle rally that carried all the way through the bus into the lobby of the hotel. Everyone was praying over each other, laying on hands, and breaking chains. One woman from Valley Forge prayed over me that I would be the one to bring up a new generations of girls in my church to understand their calling and identity in Christ. This was a woman who did not even know that my life motto is to inspire girls and women to find their calling and identity in Christ! Those are the memories I will carry. The group who came alongside us, the people in our group, and the bonds Jesus formed.
I will remember the girls from the United States that I got to share my heart with. The ones whose lives I got to pour into like people did when I was their age. The way Jesus brought two women together on a bus from two totally different states. God knew there needed to be ministering there – two USA women who met in a foreign country! The way Jesus knew two women were going through similar situations and brought them together in Panama instead of their church! God knew we needed each other and knew an immediate friendship would form on this trip!
Most of all I will remember the woman, Tara, who described herself as a creative perfectionist and I knew I could relate to her in that instance. The woman who carried out the vision God had for her, who followed in obedience, no matter what the cost and with total FAITH and SURRENDER. I will remember the man, Gerritt, who I watched OPENLY and UNASHAMEDLY weep for the girls of Panama. The man who supported his wife’s dreams and protected her. A man who literally falls on his knees with his desire to be used by God to help young women know they are LOVED and have a Heavenly Father.
It was a beautiful thing to watch a couple and their children WHOLEHEARTEDLY surrender to God and work together to reach thousands for Jesus. They were a true example of Christ and what a marriage fully surrendered to God can be. We all came on this trip to lift their arms and uplift their spirits as they accomplished amazing things for Christ. The reality is we were all touched by a wonderful couple who uplifted us and showed us the amazing things Christ does.