These images are forever ingrained on Joshua's heart from his Uganda trip in July. He came home certain that I too needed to GO and see for myself! I agreed, wholeheartedly. I saw the spark (and maybe a manly tear or two) in his eye when he shared how God stirred his soul for the people and culture of Africa. I too fell more in love with Africa from Joshua's time there, the stories and images forever impacted my heart as well! It was a done deal, I was on the next trip!
I'm sure you would guess that I was the first one to sign up for this trip in February with our church, right?! Well not so much ... truth be told, the business of life seeped in and began to weigh in on my "gusto" to GO. So many hesitations swirled in my head...
What if we're really low on the wait list by then and we get a referral for Isa while I'm there?! There is no way we can logistically figure out childcare for Jude the entire time I'm gone! What if Jude has anxiety about me being gone? I mean after all, I'm so needed! (Ha!) Ugh, more fundraising! Seriously God?! I'm kinda over it! People are gonna think we're nuts, we've already raised over $30k this year! Plus it requires SO much faith, and sometimes I just don't have it! My plate is already full with mommy duties, wife responsibilities, and Abba's Children in full swing... I don't think I can tackle another thing!
You get the idea. "Life" began to filter what I was so sure was clear back in July! For months I've been in prayer over whether or not I should go on this trip. Truthfully, I've heard silence. I begged God for a clear answer if I should or shouldn't go. He didn't give it. I went to the first orientation meeting back in the beginning of October for those interested in the trip. As I sat there and listened to the details of what this upcoming trip includes and past experiences, my heart beat fast as it resurfaced the feelings that God had placed in the core of who I am. However, I left that meeting and shortly there after was confronted once again with the filter of my hesitations. Again I prayed, again I heard silence. Sign ups for the team came and went, all the while I was well aware of the deadline dates that I was missing to turn in my application. There was an "ugh" disappointment in my gut but I told myself that my concerns were valid and that God's silence must mean no? Still Uganda sat in the back of my mind. The team of people was set, an amazing team at that, I might add! I thought the ship had sailed and I missed my chance to jump on board.
Flash forward to Saturday, November 19th. Jude and I dropped daddy off before the sun even came up that morning at the church for him to head out with a team of about 40 others to Mexico for a short term mission trip. As we drove away from the church, with tears in my eyes (because I'm proud of my hubs and an emotional girl, I guess?!) Jude and I prayed for daddy and the group of others going. We prayed for the children they would serve at the orphanage, we prayed for safety and God's blessings on the trip, and we thanked God for such a great daddy... and in that moment I was instantly taken back to driving away from the airport in July after dropping Joshua off to go to Uganda. It was as if God was gently reminding me once again of Africa.
That very next day, Sunday, I was at church and on my way to get Jude checked into his classroom. Jason Kanapkey (co-leader of this upcoming Uganda trip) came up to me as I was walking and said, "You know it's not too late to join the team?! Just sayin'! Another gal dropped out of the trip, so there's room!". Wait... What?! This messed with my head. I had told myself the door was shut, the ship had sailed! Again, my heart beat fast and feelings of excitement resurfaced. Joshua called that night from Mexico to catch me up on the days projects they had worked on. I didn't share with him what Jason had said that morning. I did however ask Joshua, "So do you think I should go on the next Mexico trip?" His response took me back a bit, "Yeah, maybe, BUT... I think you should go to Uganda." Okay weird. What was going on?! He didn't know it was an option for me to still tag along on this trip- he was just saying what was on his heart. At this point I informed him that in fact there is room on the upcoming trip and it's apparently not too late for me to sign up! This made him smile, the kind of smile you can hear through a tone of voice. We committed to pray once again.
Tuesday, November 22nd, Joshua came home from Mexico. We chatted through all his incredible experiences he had while he was there and without intentionally doing so, he kept comparing almost everything to Uganda. I guess when you experience extreme poverty in two different regions on these levels, you unknowingly compare the two. I think it was once again a gentle reminder from God of the foundation of love He laid in our hearts in for Africa many months before.
Evening rolled around that night and I received a much anticipated email from our case worker from AGCI with our new November wait list number. I quickly scrolled through her message to find the important line that says, "Your new November # on the boys list is..." and my heart sank! We actually went UP one number, from #21 up to #22!!! I sighed loud enough for Joshua to hear it in the kitchen!
Hmmm... maybe God was up to something. Maybe my concern of us being close to Isa's referral by the time the trip comes around, wasn't such a concern after all?! Maybe God was beginning to wipe away my hesitations.
I hit my knees again asking God for an obvious answer if I was to go on this trip or not. I heard nothing. Crickets chirping, that's all. I decided it was probably a good idea to hash through my remaining list of concerns I had come up with. I invited God to give me His perspective over each hesitation on my list, and asked him to help me sort through what were my fears and what were legitimate issues. Recalling His incredible faithfulness in our lives over the past two years, God began to assure me that the fears on my list were not too big for Him to handle! He began to wipe away hesitation after hesitation.
At the end of the list I was left with ONE valid concern to figure out, childcare for our Jude man. Convinced that this was the clincher, I told Joshua, "There is just no way! My sister is the only possibly option and honestly, I don't even think she is an option! You would have to drop him off at her house at the butt crack of dawn (excuse my crudeness, but this is how the conversation unfolded) on your way to work every morning, it would be a pain to try and get the boys dropped off at school on the days they both go (their schools are on opposite sides of town), not to mention that she works and probably has a project or something she needs to tackle, PLUS... it's soccer season, so you're not going to get of of work until later! Yeah, there's no way!". Joshua heard me out and then said, "You may be right. And if so, there is your answer. But, why don't you at least ask to know you've covered all your basis?" Sigh... fair enough. So I reluctantly asked my sister if it was even an option for her to help out with Jude nine of the twelve days I would be gone, doing my best to assure her that there was absolutely no obligation or expectation on my end of the deal that she do this! I was simply convinced that she would say there just wasn't a way to swing it because of work or the logistics of it all!
Well, so much for roadblocks... Her exact response, "Of course we'll watch Jude! We can sit down and figure out how to best organize it..."! I'm pretty sure she just earned an extra jewel in her crown in heaven!
After hearing from her, I turned to Jude and asked "If mommy goes on this trip, I'm going to be gone for little while. Daddy will be here but Aunt Phoebe is going to have to watch you quite a bit and take you to school and pick you up, are you okay with that?" Jude, "Yes! Am I going to Aunt Phoebe's now? I can show her where my classroom is and maybe even Jake can come and see it! But you'll have to show her where to park. And when Jake is at school and I am not, I'll hang out with Aunt Phoebe and we'll be excited for Jake to be done with school!".... there you have it, hesitation wiped away! (o; Clearly I'm not as needed as I thought I was!
In what I perceived as God's silence to my prayers... every hesitation I have had, He has wiped away! (Well honestly, I am still freaked out about raising all the money... but I continue to reflect on His faithfulness and I have peace!) So maybe He's not so silent after all, maybe He just wanted me to remember how clear His voice was back in July and act on it?!
So you guessed it folks... I'm going to Uganda this February, last one to sign up (nice Hil!) but it's a done deal, I'm on this trip!!!! It's gonna be good!
If you don't think our little Helms family is crazy by the end of reading this, and you want to somehow support me going on this trip- you know we would be forever grateful! Big chunks of money are due in a an intimidatingly short amount of time, BUT God is faithful, He always blows our socks off, so I'm trusting Him despite my fears!
$200 due this Sunday
Raise $1500 by 12/15
Raise $2200 by 1/15
Raise $2800 by 2/15
Balance of $3050 by 3/15
Support letters are going on later this week, so keep an eye in the mail! And obviously if you have any questions, I'm an open book- so shoot me an email or call! Thank you in advance for loving our family and supporting us through prayer!