Good Enough Reason for Me- Eliza Craymer, Short-Term Volunteer

I am from a small town right outside of Richmond, Virginia and I never had a heart for missions abroad until my sophomore year of college. I felt the Lord loudly telling me to go to Africa. I felt like there were bold hints and in your face directions everywhere I turned.  I was able to go on my first trip in 2012 where my heart fell in love with a continent and people far more deeply than I thought it would.  After returning to the States and quickly jumping back into the routine of life, I began to fill my days with worrying about graduating and lining up a job for the year after.  The Lord blessed me by bringing me back to Richmond after college and providing for me a full-time job as a dance teacher.  Throughout the year, I began to quietly feel a nudging from the Lord that He had something better for me. There were no loud clear signs this time, but a quiet whisper that I brushed off time and time again.  I finally gave in and started to pray about where He wanted me.  Doors were opened quickly and I was able to spend a month in Labakhetsiwe Toddler Home eating, playing, singing, sleeping and breathing with toddlers whose stories were full of heartache and unfair experiences.  As the month continued I was not only able to know the children by name and face, but also by personality, giggle, or even their cry.  The heartache and unfairness of each child’s story began to dissolve into healing and restoration.

Throughout the month, Jesus started to heal me as well and allowed me to catch a glimpse at how He looks at each of His children.  The Lord used each child to teach me more about Himself and His personality. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17. While there, I began to feel a realization that my God could be calling me into long-term missions.  I automatically freaked out and did what I do best, which is over analyze.  I began to think through every scenario and desperately pleaded with the Lord that maybe I heard Him wrong.

The thing is He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t have to over analyze and freak out. He knows what is best for us and when He calls us to do something outside our comfort zone He provides us a peace that brings comfort and assurance that He will always be by our side. Being called to a new place, new people, and new life is challenging and scary, but life with Jesus is challenging and scary and always worth it.  After fervently praying about God’s calling to long-term missions, I began to trust that Jesus is sovereign, good and above all else His plan and timing are perfect.  Praying has become like breathing for me and right now I am supposed to be right here in Richmond.  But there is an itch in my soul that desires the adventure, challenge, and scary life with Jesus and I know He is preparing me for when He sends me.  Above all else, I learned to trust and say “yes”. No matter the change in life, scenery, people, technology, housing, friendships, distance, etc. the reason I will go when and if He chooses to send me is because I was called; and that’s a good enough reason for me.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

Share on Facebook

Tags: , ,

I can still hear it… – by Volunteer Janice Johnson

I can still hear it…By Volunteer Janice Johnson

I can still hear the chickens loud and proud announcing, “This is the Day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  A couple of hours later the “Aunties” are meeting in the baby home singing and praying to God, our Father, as they bless the baby campus and walk the halls of the toddler home.  Around 7:05 am, I hear the pitter patter of feet running down the hall.

That was two weeks ago, when I had the opportunity to live and serve in the toddler home on Project Canaan in Swaziland, Africa with 24 toddlers.  Twenty-four different personalities that reminded me throughout the day of God’s goodness and grace.  I thought I knew what my role would be while I was there, but according to GOD’s plan and purpose, everyday was a different experience and an opportunity to serve Him…through the aunties, the children, at the pre-school and in unison with everyone on the farm.  I will never forget riding in the back of a beat up old pick-up truck with Chloe when we brought Nomsa “home” (in the back because her Tuberculosis is highly infectious so she had to ride outside.  So we joined her with masks on).  We heard the Aunties singing God’s praises (yet again) so she could see her twin daughters, Leah and Rachel, who live at the baby home.  Reading books and saying prayers with the toddlers, walking to Nomsa to take her meals, and “being thankful” in the midst of it all.

That’s what happens when you “Let Go and Let God”.  You experience His love and devotion in so many ways.  Several years ago, our Senior Pastor, Andy Stanley, did a sermon called One, Not Everyone.  It was very clear to me that in this season that I would go “Deep and Wide” in Swaziland with Heart for Africa.

On my last morning, as I helped dress another happy but squirmy toddler, I prayed and thanked God for this new generation.  Those pitter patter feet would walk for HIM;  those lips would speak for HIM;  and those hands would work for HIM.  And as young Gabriel would say…AMEN!

Share on Facebook

Tags: , , , , ,