God’s love is the most powerful thing the universe has ever known.  This world is ugly, and flawed, and filled with despair.  It should be condemned to be hopeless and lost for all eternity.  But it isn’t.  It has a chance at redemption because of God’s love.  Salvation is calling every living creature to serve and glorify the one and only being that has ever mattered.  Because of love, we get to do this.  We get to live a life of fulfillment and courage–because we know this is not the end.  This is a temporary home.  A warm-up of sorts before we get to experience the real deal of meeting Jesus and spending forever in God’s presence.  So how do we get there?  What do we do while we’re here, waiting for the next big thing?  We answer God’s call.  And God has called us to serve.

Someone once asked me, “If you know the truth about Jesus’ love and salvation… how much do you have to hate someone to not share it with them?”  If you truly believe that the only hope for anyone in this world is accepting Jesus into his heart… why would you not tell them about it?  It’s a question that’s laid heavy on my heart for years.  There’s never been a doubt in my mind that God is calling me to go out into the world and share the story His love.  The very last thing Jesus said before he ascended into heaven wasn’t a goodbye or a subtle remark.  It was a COMMAND.

“…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  God has called upon me (and you!) to be a living testimony of His love in this world.  To be a light shining through the darkness.  And I don’t take this calling lightly.  When the creator of the UNIVERSE asks you to do something…. you should probably think about every way you can possibly get it done.  I understand that not everyone feels that they are made for doing something crazy like leaving the COUNTRY and sleeping in a TENT for 7 days.  These past few months when I would tell people about deciding to go to Haiti, nine out of ten times, I’d get this reaction: “WHAT?  You’re going to HAITI?  Aren’t you SCARED?!  I could NEVER do that.”  And each time I’ve heard it said, I’ve wanted to say back, YES, you could.

This is the reality of what’s happening in our world–right now.  I’m sitting on my couch, listening to Batman Begins playing in the background, stuffing my face with my 27th Girl Scout cookie.  While THIS is happening.  There is anger and sadness and evil and so much pain in the hearts of millions.  And I feel guilty.  I feel like it’s just wrong to go about living my life of luxury and ignore everything else that’s going on.  So if I can’t ignore the anguish and I can’t ignore God’s calling…. the only thing left to do is to go.

This is my Adventures in Missions T-shirt and Missions Journal.  They came in the mail today and it hit me:  I’m going to Haiti in less than 7 days.  I’ll be leaving my comfort zone like I never have before with a team of 24 brave and amazing people who have also decided to answer the call to serve.  As my pop-up mosquito net, 32 oz. water bottle, purification tablets, and anti-malarial pills begin to pile up on my dining room table, I can’t believe that this is finally happening.  I’ve wanted to go to Haiti since I was 17 and watching the news coverage of the earthquake devastation.  Haiti was already one of the poorest countries in the world before the earthquake hit.  It’s been two years but rubble still fills the streets and hunger pangs the stomachs of mothers who can’t feed their babies.  People make dirt cookies to trick their bellies into feeling full.  Remember those Girl Scout cookies I was just eating?  …yea.  I can’t even imagine what it might be like to walk a day in their shoes.  But I’m about to.
Next Saturday morning I’ll be on a plane to New York City to board another plane headed to Port au Prince, Haiti.  I’m excited and anxious and scared all at the same time.  This is my first missions trip.  I can’t believe it’s taken me 19 years to do it, but I’m going, and I’m ready.  I’ve been blessed with so many people who are supporting me both financially and spiritually on this adventure.  If there’s one thing I hope to happen next week, it’s that I’ll experience what it’s like to bring Jesus to people who have never heard of him before.  I also hope to inspire people–I’m not usually one to talk about my own acts of kindness, because I never want it to seem like I’m prideful in them.  I’m sharing about this one because it’s the craziest, most spontaneous and adventurous thing I have ever done…. and I hope and pray I can inspire others to do the same.
Love.  It’s what this world was founded on and could not possibly go on without.  God’s love is as big and as powerful as love can get.  And the best part?  We can experience this love not only by seeing it play out in our own lives, but also by feeling it shine through US to impact the lives of OTHERS.  It’s a gift, but it’s also a responsibility that we can’t ignore.  So I won’t.  I’m going, and I don’t think I’ll be coming back.  The old me will be left behind, somewhere between the makeshift airport customs tent and the orphanage in Carrefour.  The new me… well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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