"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." - Isaiah 60:1-3
It was July, 29 1999 and I was in Cairo on a three-week mission trip. Most of the team had gone to an exhibit at a local museum, but I decided to stay behind in the flat we were occupying to get some time alone to pray. It was during that prayer time that I felt lead to Isaiah 60 and made this journal entry: "I waited on the Lord for a bit after reading a past journal entry and feel as though He is trying to speak to me about my future somewhat, maybe trying to give me vision for a particular people."
That was almost 10 years ago to the date. I'm amazed to see what the Lord has done over the past 10 years and what He is about to do now. As of August 1, 2009 I will no longer be employed at the job I've held for the last three years. Instead, I will be transitioning into a new phase of life, one that is leading me to join Joshua Project World Ministries (JPWM) in Romania. For the last three summers, I have been a part of a team from my church (Crossbridge Community Church in San Antonio) that has traveled to Romania to conduct either evangelistic or discipleship camps for this ministry. This ministry is unique in that it serves children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. According to a UN fact sheet from 2004 , Romania experienced a "major HIV epidemic when thousands of institutionalized children contracted HIV through blood transfusions." Through the continued use of unscreened blood in transfusions and non-sterile/contaminated needles during hospitalization or immunization, new cases are still occuring. This fact alone is heart-breaking, but what has captured my heart to the point of surrending at least two years at this ministry is the children and families it affects.
When I first met Andy & Tresha McKnight (coordinators of JPWM), I thought to myself, "How can they do that? How can they minister to children that are dying?" When I actually visited this ministry for myself, I saw that the children weren't "dying" as I previously thought. Instead, they were LIVING and being taught to do so through Jesus Christ. I saw in the eyes of these teenagers, the same thing I saw in the eyes of the middle school students I taught for five years. These were children who needed to know that there is a Father who loves them, one who will not abandon them, one who will love them just as they are. Once I looked into their eyes and let them into my heart, that was it. I knew I had to go. I'm at the perfect time in my life when I've done just about everything I think I can do here (aside from marriage, family, etc...but who's waiting on that?). I've been a teacher/coach, started my own business, and for the last three years have been pretty successful at my current place of employment. However, I've known for a while that I'm meant to do more. So I think with anyone that's jumped into full-time ministry, there's a point at which you feel like you'll be stagnant if you stay where you are any longer. Lord, let that not be me!
So, after a four-month training period through International Messengers at Mountainside Missionary Training in Libby, Montana, I plan to leave the United States for Resita, Romania sometime in January 2010. What better way to break this Texas girl into a "real" winter than by arriving in Romania in the dead of it! Warm coat, anyone?
I look forward to updating this blog while on this new journey. In the meantime, view the video below to see the land and people I will live with over the next couple of years.