Five Open Doors
When I wanted the doors to close, God blew them wide open
Door #1 - God brought this opportunity to my door.
In January 2022, our pastor announced a missions opportunity to travel to Zambia with Heart of the Bride Ministries, which would take place in June. Soon after, a representative from Heart of the Bride spoke to our congregation. The team would travel to Zambia and work with an organization called, "Abba's Heart." Abba's Heart works with the homeless street kids in Kitwe, Zambia. They work diligently to get kids off the street and into their residential program. While in the residential program, the medical, physical, educational and spiritual needs of the children are met. They live in a home with house parents so the children can see what a godly home and marriage look like. Two parents in the home. A new beginning in a new life.
I instantly knew my teen daughter, who had been eager for a mission trip, would want to go and it would be I who would accompany her. We listened to the gentleman's speech. I turned to my daughter and asked if she wanted to go. I did not have to complete my sentence before she uttered an excited, "Yes." My familiar travel anxieties welled within me.
Initially, 12 spaces were open for the trip. I was reluctant but secured 2 spots right away. I prayed to God if this trip was not meant to be, please let the answer be clear. Otherwise, I would continue to move forward.
I was not vaccinated against COVID, so surely God would close the next door and our path to Zambia would end.
Door #2 - A COVID vaccine was not required for travel.
It would appear doors were being opened as my trust slammed shut. The “what if’s” swirled within me. Only a negative PCR test was required 72 hours before the first flight to gain entry into Zambia. I would have to update my daughter's passport since it had been five years since the last issue date. I did not think I would get her passport back in time for the trip, but I proceeded with the application process and waited.
Door #3 - My daughter's passport arrived two weeks after submitting the application.
It was March 2022, and I had my daughter's updated passport in hand.
You may wonder why I was looking for a way out of this mission trip. I never considered myself mission trip material. My friends would argue this point, but I often feel socially awkward. I often say the wrong things or nothing at all. How does a stay-at-home parent from the burbs of America relate to street kids in Zambia? Unlike many of my Christian brothers and sisters, I cannot pull scripture from memory easily. I also did not want to be inauthentic and have rehearsed answers for any occasion. I am not one to put photos of myself and unprivileged kids on my fridge to say, 'Look what I did. Aren't I a good Christian?" I am not saying these things because it is what I believe missionaries to be. I know many good-hearted Christian people who have gone on mission trips or lived for many years on the mission field outside of the United States. These issues were of my own insecurities. I prayed without ceasing, asking God why on earth did He want me to go to Zambia. Where others say, "Send me, Lord," I was saying, "It's ok if you'd rather send someone else."
Door #4 - I received the answer to a nagging question
I went to lunch with a friend who had been on several mission trips to Central and South America. I asked her the question I posed above. How could I relate to street kids in Africa to make a helpful connection? I had no experience or insight. She looked into my eyes and asked, "You know what these kids want and need?" She took my hand. "This," she said. "They want someone to touch them. They want someone to see them, really see them and to know someone cares about them." I knew with my whole heart God was speaking to me through this friend. I had been praying so hard about my qualifications to go to Zambia. Could it really be that simple?
Door #5 - The cost was provided
Many on our team, which had capped out at 18 team members, were fundraising to pay for the trip. Each person funded their own way. Initially, the trip cost $2500 per person, but with the rising fuel prices, the cost jumped to $3670 per person.
Since my husband and I had just finished home renovations, I did not feel comfortable asking for others for money. Had we known this trip was a possibility, we would have waited on some of the construction. I know I am getting a bit personal here talking about finances, but it is relevant. I told my daughter we probably would not go on the trip because of the rise in the price. There was a nagging feeling to check my personal savings account. I did not want to check it because I already knew the answer but, like I said, it was a nagging that would not quit. I checked the account and nearly the exact amount for the trip was available.
It seemed I was on a path. I would get to the end of the stepping stones and thought surely this was the end of the journey. That is when God would say, "Oh, hello. Look what I have for you; more stepping stones." I would go further, come to the end, thinking surely now is the end and then more stones were set before me.
The cancellation deadline was fast approaching. I was scheduled for a Christian writer's conference in Alabama. I went to hone my writing technique, but God used the quick trip in other ways.
One morning at the conference, I was sitting in the chapel, waiting for others to arrive after breakfast. We started each morning with worship and then a keynote speaker. As I sat there, I prayed for God's forgiveness for my mistrust in Him. That is really what all my travel anxieties were about: mistrust. I prayed, "God, I do not know why you want me to go to Zambia. Forgive me for my mistrust. If I am to trust you, help me. You know me and you know I can not muster up this trust on my own. Forgive me my weaknesses and forgive my unwillingness to let go of whatever I think my security is without you." I was nearly at the end of myself, but I kept my emotions bottled inside. These people just met me. They didn't need to see the new girl break out into an ugly cry.
I was told there was a prayer labyrinth on the property. I wanted to be sure to visit it before leaving at the end of the conference. There was a lot to pray about.
After worship, the keynote stood at the front of the chapel, about to speak. His demeanor differed from his brighten personality during the rest of the conference. I sat at his table during a meal and took two of his classes. He seemed like a pretty easygoing and fun-loving guy, very laid back. Now he was emotional and seemed to struggle with something.
He said, "I prayed down by the lake this morning because God put it on my heart that someone here is having a hard time trusting God. I want you to know you can trust Him."
Now I don't know if this was part of his keynote or if this was real. Many people have issues trusting God with various things. The skeptic in me wanted to look at it like one of the psychic/medium people who makes broad statements and hits the nail on the head with at least some of the crowd. But on that morning, I prayed for that exact thing at that exact moment. Regardless of what the keynotes' intention was, God spoke to me. He heard me and He answered me.
If my jaw did not hit the floor, it was close. I had a, "How can this be?" reaction. God had been answering every one of my prayers, through other people and circumstances, and it was blowing my mind!
After leaving the conference, I went to the prayer labyrinth. I had no more prayers full of questions. I walked the labyrinth with prayers of nothing but gratitude.
We were going to Zambia.