Hi, Friends! Greetings from the other side of the world!
Hmm... I'm not really sure how to begin this email. First, I just want to thank everyone who has been praying. Thank you for covering me! I know God heard your prayers... wait until you hear my story!!
One of the biggest lessons you learn in missions right away is that nothing is as it seems. And that it's best NOT to have expectations, because things are always subject to change. My teams always joked about that (although, sometimes I wondered if they were joking to cover up their frustration), that my co-leaders and I didn't tell them plans right away. But whenever we did, we'd have to come back and say, "there's been a change in plans", because inevitably, something would happen. Sometimes it's minor, like finding out that you'll be leaving an hour later. Sometimes it's a bit bigger, like finding out a specific ministry location isn't going to work, that your transportation has not come, or a variety of other things. Sometimes it's a lot bigger... massive, even. Whatever it is, it always drives us to pray. Because while it might be a big surprise to us, God knew about it before it happened. It's always an exercise in faith.
So... there's been a change of plans. :0) And it's pretty big... of international proportions, I would say.
My flights went really well, actually, better than they've gone in a while. I had a minor problem at JFK, but it was worked out. That was a long layover, but I got to meet some incredible people... like an american airlines employee named Winston who used to live in Ga. Or a woman behind the counter named Claudia who could have been the twin of one of my dearest friends, who not only helped me, but reassured me that it was all going to work out. Everyone I spoke with at JFK was kind and welcoming. That was so cool.
My flight to Brussels was nothing short of amazing. I had a great seat in coach. The seats leaned really far back. The food wasn't too terrible. And best of all, I got to sit next to a pastor/missionary who was on his way to india (he was connecting to a flight to southern india). It started simply, with me asking about his kindle and how he liked it when compared to "real" books. That's when he mentioned pastoring. Then he asked me what I did. I told him I was a writer and a missionary... and the conversation went from there. He asked me about what I did and we talked about his church. We had an awesome conversation about missions in general. It was so encouraging.
I was actually able to sleep a bit on my second flight, in sporadic bursts. And my seatmate was a kind Indian gentleman who was concerned as to if I was comfortable in my seat and why I wasn't eating all of my food (my stomach was a bit upset). When I got to Delhi, everything started smoothly. I went through all the official stops, got my luggage, and found the departures terminal. I went to check in.... and that's where everything fell apart.
In order to save money, we pieced a ticket for me the long way around the world. Instead of flying west from ATL, I flew East, over Europe and through india. Then I was supposed to fly to Thailand and then Cambodia. But... I guess the easiest way to put it, there were flight problems. It's a really long story that I haven't fully processed yet, but the end result was me spending the night in the Delhi airport, calling Cambodia and the States, trying to figure things out. It didn't work. At 7am yesterday morning, my Indian host, the Director of Asha House, picked me up from the airport and drove me to the Sixty1 house, where I was welcomed into the room with ac and fell asleep for three hours.
We spent all afternoon yesterday skyping India, the U.S., and Bangkok, trying to figure out a flight for me. It didn't work... I think it was impossible. Finally, at 7pm last night, we all reached the same conclusion. I was to stay in India. I'm not going to Cambodia.
Eish, that is hard to say.
If you have a lot of questions, I understand. I have them too. Right now I'm just thankful that this happened in Delhi and not anywhere else in the world. For me to be stranded in a foreign country, this is the best possible place I could be. I had someone I could call and a place to stay. Since I was flying through here anyway, I have a return flight that's set. Now it just seems that I'm here a bit longer than i'd originally planned. And while I don't understand why I couldn't go to Cambodia when I truly believed with all of my heart that God was sending me there, I can only conclude that there is a reason/purpose for what happened in the Delhi airport. Maybe I'll never know why exactly. Whatever it is, this wasn't a surprise to God. He has taken care of me every step of the way. And he won't stop doing so. There is a reason why I'm here. And I'm going to spend my time in India ministering as before, loving on orphans and lepers and whoever else comes into my path. Though I don't know why this happened, I'm not going to miss the time that i'm here.
I've been thinking a lot these past few days about Eph 6, where it says that our battle isn't against flesh and blood but against the rulers and principalities of this world. As you know, in the past few weeks, I have been under some pretty intense attack. Yet I got on the plane on Monday completely calm, wth the assurance that I was walking in the will of God. That hasn't changed, even though everything else did. I don't doubt getting on that plane. I don't doubt the decision to go overseas, even though it hasn't ended up the way I expected. God has not forgotten me and he is not unaware of where I am. I only have to think about how he has taken care of me every step of the way.
So... India. That's new.
It's Thursday morning right now. Thankfully, I was able to sleep a lot last night, so I feel almost human. That's a praise! Please, continue to be in prayer for me! Pray that I will have energy and will be able to pick up relationships where they left off. Pray that I will be open to being used by God whenever and wherever, that He will show me where to go and what to say. Sixty1 is in the process of moving houses, so that's what i'm going to do today. Right now we're sleeping in a house wihtout furniture or running water, just ac, internet, and electricity. Today is the final move, so we'll spend the day unpacking all of the stuff, setting up everything up. I think I'll be able to go to Asha House tomorrow.
Also, please pray that there will be no problems for my flight back to the States. Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about walking back into that airport, even though I know that ticket is set. I have a really short layover in London on the way back, so I really need for that flight to leave on time and there to be absolutely no problems.
One of my biggest concerns with what I do is being a good steward of y'all, my supporters. It's so important to me that you know what's going on, not only with prayer but for accountability. The Body sends me out, not myself. I don't go on trips just because I like to travel or want good stories. When opportunities come my way, I seriously pray about them, often for many days. I do everything I can from my end to make sure that making the right decision, walking in the will of God, and not just going somewhere because there's a need. That is what happened with Cambodia. It was something that I prayed about a lot and truly felt that God said to go. Maybe it was all so I could be here. I don't know. Like I said, I have a lot of questions. But while I am here, I will be all here, no matter what.
That's it for now. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I'll be in touch... we will probably be without internet for a while because of the move, but I will try to email at least one more time. Thank you! Have a great day!
4 days ago