In less than three months, I'll put this bad boy to good use. On September 22, 2016, I fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The whole thing is still so crazy to me. How does a girl go from being a shut-in with an incurable disease to flying out of the country to tell people about the goodness of God in less than a year?
If you've been reading a while, you know part of the story. Today, I want to share the rest of it because it's a story worth telling. But it'll take more than one post.
"To love is to be vulnerable..." C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I can't talk about Brazil without first talking about my friend, Erica Weller.
I'll begin by saying I did not plan on this friendship.
Friendship is hard for me. I learn to love people and they leave. Three of my best friends live out of state. And after Jenny...well...I wasn't really looking to let someone new get that close again. But God has a way of obliterating our attempts at self-protection and giving us something better.
Erica was instrumental in the story of my healing. The first time I met her (November 8, 2015) God gave her a very personal word for me through the story of the woman with the bleeding issue.
I'll never forget how nervous she was. She wiped sweaty palms on her jeans, took a deep breath, and told me I had that woman's faith--at a time I felt too tired to have that woman's faith or anyone else's--and prophesied that I would be healed "at the molecular level."
Something happens when someone speaks a word given to them by the Holy Spirit and the person the word is for receives it.
A few weeks later during my prayer session, Erica witnessed the moment she had prophesied.
"God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy." Psalm 68:6
I fell hard and fast for the new family that helped rescue me and took me in. Each person has a special, unique place in my heart and I can't talk about how much I love them without getting weepy, so mostly I don't. I just love them. But there was a locked up room inside of me I never intended to give anyone access to again. Not even them.
And like an idiot, I invited Erica out for coffee. I planned for a 1-2 hour visit. We were there 4 hours.
When it was past time to leave, she suddenly looked as nervous as she had the night we met. "You know how you said you wish you could see blind and deaf people healed and people raised from the dead and all that?"
I nodded. My healing had taught me the true meaning of the word "impossible" is "God's playground," and I was ready to see more of it.
"Why don't you come on a mission trip to Brazil with me where that kind of stuff happens every night?"
I nearly fell out of my chair. At once, I was slammed with intense longing, a long list of reasons it would never work out and a gentle electric pulse which washed over my skin as if to say, "Listen. Take her seriously. This is important."
The trip would last two weeks and would cost $3,400. Our group would help support us, but couldn't bear the full financial burden of us both.
I promised to think and pray about it, but warned her that I'm not fond of leaving my children, that money was an issue and Brandon wasn't likely to go for it. And by "not likely to go for it" I meant "no way would he go for it."
I didn't breathe a word to him when I arrived home that night. I'd been married long enough to know timing was important.
That time my friends tried to give my trip away...
The next night, Brandon attended the Siegmunds' group with me. Tim, Erica's dad, asked me about the trip. I told him to keep his mouth shut because I hadn't talked to B. Then during the meeting he proceeds to offer an open invitation to "any young person" who would like to go. Dude was trying to give my trip away before I'd even had a chance to mention it to my husband!!!
If that weren't enough, he announces it again after worship while we were all standing in the kitchen grazing. Then Bruce pipes up and tries to give my trip to one of the college guys who comes sometimes.
While said college guy would be a wonderful choice, it was my trip. (Never mind that I had no logical reason to feel so territorial.)
I waited for Brandon to step out of the room and said under my breath--just loud enough for the people standing closest to me to hear--"I'm going to Brazil."
I had no idea how it would work out or even whether or not I really wanted to go, but somehow I knew what I'd said was true.
To be continued...
Erica and I will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 22-October 4, 2016 with a team led by Randy Clark through his organization, Global Awakening. We invite you to partner with us financially in the mission to bring the Good News to all the world. Please make all checks payable to ChristSource Ministries, write "Brazil Mission Trip" in the memo, and mail to 301 E. Alabama Ave. Ruston, LA 71270 by July 14. ChristSource is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible. If you are unable to support us financially, please partner with us through prayer. Thank you!