I really need your help… Please?

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like asking people for help – especially to accomplish something God has called “me” to do.  Though the saying “God doesn’t called the equipped, He equips the called” is true, I’d most often prefer that He equip me by ourselves… Just God and me.  There is a certain vunerability in having to depend upon others to complete something God has issued a command to do.  But then again, that’s pretty much how the body of Christ works… Isn’t it?

And when I think about it, I love getting to participate in someone else’s call by helping them in some way.  It’s just much easier to be on the giving end than on the asking end.  But the asking end is where I find myself today.  So here goes.

If you’ve visited my blog site anytime within the last few months, you’ll have surely noticed this picture on the side bar:

I’ve been wanting to explain it for some time, but the timing never quite seemed right – until now.  So I’ve spent the last few months praying about how I would humble myself before you dear readers and ask for your help, especially since I can’t share any specifics about this trip.  I’ll be writing in “code” – and pray that the Holy Spirit will help you read between the lines. 😉

In September, God is sending me to the other side of the world for a short-term purpose and I need to raise $6500 to do what He’s calling me to do.  By God’s help, another sister-friend and I will be ministering to, teaching/encouraging, and praying with some of God’s most dedicated servants on the globe.  We’ll be meeting with two different groups of women, both of whom will gather rather secretly, and we will “retreat,” if you know what I mean.  One group of ladies are the wives of men who are defying their anti-Christian government on a daily basis and bravely pastoring a group of Jesus people secretly in their homes.  From this point on the blog, they will be known as “HC Wives.”  The other group of ladies will be the wives of American Jesus-lovers who have left the comforts of home and family and familiarity to spread the Gospel in this anti-Christian country.  They live and work among the nationals, loving and serving and giving, all in hopes for an open door that will change lives.  These ladies are employees of a well known and well respected denominational entity which shall remain nameless.  But from here on out, we will call them “M Wives.”  Are you with me so far? 😉

Even as I type this, I’m still shocked at this call.  Especially since 1) I don’t really like to travel; 2) I’m not adventurous at all; 3) I’m much more comfortable serving God within the familiar (aren’t most of us?); and 4) I really enjoy serving Him overseas by way of this blog. haha.  But back in February, all within about a 24 hour period of time, these reasons became invalid.

For several years, my husband has been a part of a missions team that travels to Kenya to serve in a children’s village there, MattawChildren.com. (See this post on that wonderful ministry!) Over the years, I’ve asked God if I needed to go on those trips, and every time the same answer would come back to my heart: “No.  But I’m going to send you to _____(name of country)___ to encourage the HC Wives and M Wives there.”  We have some M friends (who I actually met via blogging and have now become friends IRL) who are serving in this country and I’ve been praying for them for many years, and for a long time, I’ve sensed that God would one day call me to join them in their country.  I just didn’t think He would issue that call until years from now.

But back in February, as Kenya plans were being solidified, I once again asked the Lord about joining that team.  His answer was the same as before… except this time, He gave me a strong urge (almost a command-like one) to email my friend and tell her what I was praying about and that I sensed that one day I would join them on an encouragement trip.  So I did.

 

Feb. 4

I need to lay something “out there” and see if God is saying the same thing to you at all… I have this crazy prayer burden rolling around WAYYYYYY back in the back of my mind – that one of these days I am to join you in ________ and do something with women.  Is that remotely near anything the Lord is saying to you?  I don’t want this to be a “good idea” – but a true calling.  Because I know it will be a huge expense of money and time on both of our ends.  James has been called to take groups each year to Kenya and I just haven’t been called to go.  Every time I pray about it, I feel that I will be going to ________ one of these days instead. It may be years from now, but it’s something I feel God pulling me toward.  And the funniest thing is – I truly hate to travel so I know that this pull is of the Lord! HOWEVER if He hasn’t placed this on your heart – please don’t feel pressured… I’m just sharing this strange pull on my heart (that I’m literally fighting and arguing about even right now!)  Whew… there it is. 😉

Jennifer

 

When I awoke the next morning, my friend had sent a reply, and one of the first things I saw when I opened her response was the phrase “don’t freak out!”  So of course, I began to freak out!  See for yourself why:

Feb. 5

 Hi Jennifer! You won’t believe this but I have been thinking of asking you to come! I didn’t want to instigate something without hearing from the Lord, so I haven’t emailed you, but I have been thinking the SAME THING! 

 Okay, so here’s more that you are going to freak out about: (Husband)  had a meeting today with another co-worker and he agreed that it would be awesome to have you come and minister to the local PW’s…. maybe a two day thing. The co-worker is really plugged into the HC’s and these ladies get absolutely nothing. And then you could do a retreat for the company ladies here in this city. There are probably 20-30 of us in this area (but we NEVER see each other!) So it is a total GO on our end! We would put you to good use 🙂

 Here’s the kicker: (Husband) and this other guy said September (like in a few months!) would be an awesome time! I know this is a shocker and have no idea that it would work out… if not, we could plan for sometime next year… or wait to see what else works out. But if this year is remotely possible, we can talk more and make plans. Wouldn’t that be something?!

 Can’t wait to hear back from you and see how the Lord leads! Will be praying about this and for you!

 Friend

 

“Wouldn’t that be something?”  That’s the understatement of the century for me!  I read her email and immediately began telling God WHY I couldn’t go this September!

 

  • September is too soon.   
  • I don’t even own a passport.  
  • I have a horrible sense of direction! 
  •  I can’t navigate myself over there… I can hardly get to Greenville (which is just down the road from here)!  
  • And the money? 
  •  It sounds like it’s just me.  No fund-raisers through the church or a team… just Jesus and me getting on a plane and going to somewhere to a culture I’ve never experienced, and people who speak a language I can’t even muddle through.

    On top of that: 
  • It’s Nathan’s senior year and he’ll be playing football in September.  
  • What if I get detained over there?  
  • I’ll miss all of the games.  
  • I’ll miss his graduation.  
  • And next year is Abigail’s senior year! 
  •  I can’t leave the country and miss both of their last years at home!  
  • And we know how unpredictable international travel is these days… 
  • This trip would best be taken when my children are on their own and have the resources to take care of themselves in case I get arrested and have to stay!


(And on and on it went, escalating ridiculously until the Lord reminded me of my “word” for 2014.  Then, like a balloon deflating, I relaxed and decided that my only option was to say, “Yes, Lord” and to trust Him to work everything out... even if it means missing my children’s senior years. – Which, of course, it doesn’t!  That was just a big-ole-lie-of-the-enemy-who-tried-to-scare-me-out-of-submission!)

My word for the year 2014?   “Starve the flesh and Feed the Spirit.”  This means that for this year, I will be learning to choose to say “no” to what feeds the flesh and my fleshly indulgences, and to say “yes” to what builds the kingdom of God in me and through this life He has called me to live.

I started the new year with this quote from The Calvary Road:

“It is the refusal to die to self that makes one miserable.  The more we know of death with Him, the more we shall know of His life in us, and so the more of real peace and joy. … His life, too will overflow through us to lost souls in a real concern for their salvation, and to our fellow Christians in a deep desire for their blessing.” 

By starving the flesh, that meant that none of those reasons I listed above held any weight to them. They were all “flesh” reasons.  And hadn’t God already promised me that if I would starve the flesh and feed the Spirit that He would use me to strengthen His kingdom?

I prayed and talked with James and prayed and prayed and prayed… and eventually couldn’t think of one single logical reason why I couldn’t go to _________ in September.  So with concern over the unknown, I told the Lord and my friend… “Yes”.

Then the Lord brought me to this verse in the CEV:

“With all your heart, you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.   Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow.  Don’t ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil.  This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong.”  Proverbs 3:5-8

At once, I felt the Lord’s peace surrounding me.  James felt it too.  And when we told the children and my mom – they felt it also.  Even though they know that Christians are persecuted in that country, and though they are concerned for my safety, Nathan put it this way {say this in the deepest sing-songy voice you can}   “I guess this is another time where we’ll just have to trust God.”

Yep, Nathan has it right.  So that’s what we are doing.  

Without any background on international travel and little knowledge of what I needed to do next, God graciously gave me a mini plan.

1.  Say Yes.  Check.

2.  Set up a Fund Raising Campaign.  Check.

3.  Pray for those to whom I’ll be serving.  As new details arise, pray over them as well.   Still checking.

4.  Begin to collect and store up Scripture for them and for me.  Pray the Scripture.  Memorize the Word.  Prepare to be separated from my notes and my Bible.   Working on that now.

5.  Get my passport.    Check.

6.  Get a new Bible to study with and take on the trip and be prepared to leave it there.   Will do as soon as I get to a city with a book store. 😉

7.  Learn what the lives of those I’ll be serving is like.  Put myself in their shoes.  Working on that now.

Did you notice that nowhere in that list is book a flight or get a visa or any “practical” travel stuff outside of getting a passport?  None of that other stuff even entered my mind.  I was so focused on serving the women, and I’m such a reluctant traveler, that these other practical things were off my radar.  At this point, I was willing (though so intimidated) to make this trip alone.  But then, one day the Lord led me to pray for a ministry partner.  He was also leading both James and my mom to pray for this same thing.  So as we prayed, the name of one of my friends kept popping up to ALL 3 of us!  God had already arranged a visit with this dear friend, so she and I spent some time talking and praying about this possibility.  In the end, the Lord closed the door for her to go on this trip, but left a door wide open for someone to join me.  We knew I needed a partner.  We just didn’t know who it would be.

But God did.

And through some emailing and praying with my overseas friend, they linked me to God’s perfect traveling parter for this trip.  Her name is Gena… and get this: She has been to this country a few times on similar trips and knew ALL about the things that didn’t even enter into my mind!  She was right on those plane tickets and the visa stuff.  In fact, she and her husband had felt the call to go to that very country THIS FALL, but God had not yet opened the doors for a trip to work out!  She was ready, praying, and just waiting on God to send her!  Is that not the most amazing thing???   When we met face to face a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but marvel at how God pieced us together like a puzzle.  Her strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa.  Praise the Lord!!!

I’ll be sharing a lot more about this trip and calling in the days to come.  But for now, I need to ask you to help me.  (Deep breath!)

Besides the cost of the plane tickets, food, and lodging on this trip, I must raise money to provide the venues and hotel rooms for these HC Wives and M Wives.  These events weren’t in anyone’s “budget” – so the only way to cover the expenses is for me to raise that money, too.

So… will you donate toward this trip?  A friend figured out that if everyone of my Facebook friends contributed just $5, I’d reach the goal.  Or if every consistent blog reader or blog email receiver donated $10, I’d reach the goal.  But here’s how I know it will work: If everyone that God leads to will contribute what it is that He leads… For sure, the goal will be reached.  😉  And the timing of it’s reaching will be perfect!

I did a lot of research on fund-raising sites and companies and prayed about how to go about this when God led me to GoFundMe.com.  This company has been cited in the business industry as the best in fundraising sites.  For some common questions answered about Go Fund Me, click here.  And for answers to any questions you may have about the security of online donations, click here.

Our next step in this process is to purchase plane tickets – which need to be done soon, and will cost between $1500 and $2000.  Gena is raising her money for her ticket and the cost of my ticket is wrapped up in the Go Fund Me total – but as soon as I have enough to pay for the ticket, I can withdraw it and make the purchase.

I certainly do not want to be hounding you about this, but every once in a while I will be posting and celebrating and sharing all that God will be doing.  See, without a doubt, I KNOW that this trip will come about “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord.”  Zech. 4:6

And my assurance of God’s peace for this trip:

 “The one who called you is completely dependable.  If He said it, He’ll do it.”  1 Thes. 5:24 MSG

 “God will make this happen.  For He who called you is faithful.”  1 Thes. 5:24 NLT

Would you be a part of God’s faithfulness to the women who so desperately need a refreshment and retreat with their sisters?

Click below to donate, or click the picture at the top of my side bar.

http://www.gofundme.com/JenniferCrawfordWalker

Thank you, sweet friends.

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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two teenagers, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com

Comments

  1. I have no doubt He is already on every detail for you ! You will be a huge blessing to those women. I know because I am one of them (though not one in that city you are going, but in the same country I think….) and we are rarely filled and re-fueled in the ways that people in the USA are each week, free to meet in large groups and small groups and with local Chrs. bookstores, etc. But depend on our own secret time with Him only for our refueling so we can continue to pour out ourselves to our families, “M” husbands, and locals we are trying to reach with His love. I pray that retreat will bring Him glory and encouragement to the ladies and even give you a chance to see how much bigger He really is ….. when you go to the other side of the sea, He is still there 🙂 I have confidence you’ll be safe and secure and He will go before each of your steps! It is true, we really don’t have a “retreat” budget but always would benefit and I’m sure He will provide in abundance! Can’t wait to hear more about your adventure!

Any thoughts to share?