This time last year, I enthusiastically said “yes” to attending my church mission trip. Moments after agreeing to the last-minute opportunity, a Pinterest photo popped unto my iPhone screen. It reminded me that sometimes God calls us to a place far away, away from what we know in order to truly reconnect Him.
At a time where I was dealing with emotional heaviness, the trip gave me purpose. I knew God wanted me there. I came home rejuvenated and excited to continue to share God’s love and resuscitating hope.
When the time came to write my name down on the list for this year’s trip, I said “yes” again… I didn’t know that assured answer would soon waver.
With gearing up to finish graduate school, juggling freelance jobs, and fulfilling my role as Miss Black New Jersey 2018, I didn’t have much time to think about the mission. The last few months prior to the trip were quickly upon me. I sat apprehensively at our mission trainings, wanting to say “no, nevermind.”
About two months prior to leaving, I did. I told my pastor I couldn’t go. I expressed how I wanted to, but my list of responsibilities were overwhelming me. In fact, merely thinking about the mission brought about scenarios where I imagined having a anxiety attack on the trip. I was just trying to get things done — my pageant would be the following week I returned from missions, after all.
I’m not an “excuses” kind of girl. My yes is my yes and my no is my no. But anxiety had me looking at my schedule like, “ummm, maybe not!”
Between wanting to keep my word and hearing encouraging messages from my friends and family, I ended up saying “yes” again.
In our final church service before heading off to Cuba, our missionary group sang “People’s Praise” by Hector Victor. The song tells the story of obedience, the relentless desire to tell the world the Good News of Jesus Christ and how His glory is our reward.
As we sang “we will go,” I felt like a total hypocrite because no, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I wanted to stay home. I wanted a peace of mind here. I wanted the comfort of my room. I wanted to handle my business here so I could be prepared for school, for work, for my pageant.
Anxiousness almost crippled me. I sat in my church service attempting to bat away tears as my chest heaved. I was already beginning to think of the ways in which I could bow out. We were to leave for Cuba the next day. The tightness begun to subside after church ended.
Asides from the anxiety my schedule brought, one of the other reasons I didn’t want to go was because I didn’t know if I was supposed to be there. It wasn’t just struggling with putting the necessities on hold. I wondered if God was calling me to go in the first place.
I soon found out He was.
Your obedience to God will cover you.
This mission trip was different from start to finish. God revealed to my pastor that He was leading us to Cuba, though we had no connections there. Nevertheless, my pastor obeyed. And days after, a pastor from Cuba, Pastor Jacinto, reached out to him. Reward.
He was to be the one guiding us. And let me tell you, that, he did! The 83 year-old travels high mountains and low valleys to speak the Word of God. He has so much vigor and a joy that cannot be contained. Jesus literally sent us a Holy Spirit filled man. It’s as if the Holy Spirit was a winding tornado from the top of his head to the soles of his feet.
We had to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us literally every step of the way in a foreign land. Not knowing what we’d be doing until we were led, taught me to wait, to pray, to listen and then, watch. It trained me to let go of the outside to focus on the mission at hand.Your obedience to God will cover you. Click To Tweet
Your obedience to God will impact more than just you.
Since Cuba is a communist country, we had a lot of restriction on what we could and couldn’t do. God didn’t send us out into the streets this time, but straight into the church. He wanted to demonstrate to the people that He was thinking of them. They were overjoyed and often teary-eyed. One said he felt like the world wanted Cuba off the map so our presence in their neighborhood reminded them how much they are loved and how God has never forgotten about them and He never will. Yes, your obedience to God will impact more than just you.
Your obedience to God will impact more than just you. Click To Tweet
We fellowshipped, encouraged, shared resources. With countless hours on the road, we traveled all across Cuba — 7 hotels in 10 days. And on the final day, God revealed to me why He wanted me there.
We were hugging goodbyes to the pastors and guides after our final prayer meeting and as some were beginning to disperse, Pastor Jacinto halted. Everyone stopped what they were doing and watched. Almost instinctively, He laid his hands on my head and blessed me. He prophesied, speaking words over my life I needed to hear and I. Was. Shook.
I’m still a bit speechless but what I can say is: I travelled home fully aware of God’s favor, love and attention. I was encouraged and reminded of not just God’s plans over my life, but how He was so mindful of my current needs.
Remember those things that I was overwhelmed with before the trip? I’ll be done with these last two classes by next month. My work for my brand and those I write for have been manageable. And the national pageant is now over, thank God.
I won second runner up and am the Heart Truth Champion. I had no PR representative, no pageant training, no state director. It was all GOD.
I don’t necessarily consider my standing in the pageant as God’s reward for going on the missions trip. Something else is coming, something bigger.
The number 8 shows me that. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered it biblically symbolized new beginnings— and since then, God has been dropping the number 8 in my life in every way He could. I launched Dressed for Battle Podcast 8/8/18, not knowing why but knowing the date was special. When the pageant contestant order was released, I discovered I was number 18. While here at the pageant, I received a $8 donation with the message, “new beginnings.” And tonight, as I reached into the bowl for my numbered question, I opened up the piece of paper and saw the number 8 scribbled on it. My spirit leaped. My mouth agape. All I could say was, “I hear you, Jesus. Thank you.”
As I walked across that stage one last time, my favorite scripture was read aloud: Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” I remembered, no matter the outcome, God utilized this platform to elevate me further. The Miss Black USA title may not be my “new thing.” But it sure is here, in JESUS name.
Your obedience to God will be rewarded.
Whether your sacrifice is big…or whether it is small, you will be rewarded for it. Whether it is obvious or whether your sacrifice is one that only you know about, you will be rewarded for it. God sees what you put on hold to tend to His instructions. He does not overlook your obedience.
Your reward is on its way.
God sees what you put on hold to tend to His instructions. He does not overlook your obedience. Your reward is on its way. Click To Tweet