Ten years ago this month I came "home" from the mission field of Costa Rica. I had been working with Christ for the City with their Renacer program (the rehabilitation ministry for street girls). Although I wasn't certain how long I was going to be there, I was sure I would be there longer than the three months I had been there for. Let me back up just a little. I fully surrendered my life to Jesus the Fall of 2001. I went on my first mission trip Spring 2002 (which happened to be to Costa Rica). I graduated from UGA in May 2002 and spent the months that followed raising support and allowing the Lord to prepare my heart to go. I left in January 2003 and in April the Lord started giving me dreams of me at RHUMC--which was nowhere on my radar. We all know how the story unfolded--the Lord opened the door for me to move to Richmond Hill and work with the youth for the next five years, but the part of the story I want to share today is what He has done in my heart when it comes to missions.
To be honest I did not leave the mission field in April 2003 very willingly. Even though the Lord gave me very vivid dreams of RHUMC and we know how the story ends now, I did not know all the pieces then, and I still thought there was a full time calling of missions on my life. I was confused, a little hurt by the Lord if we want to be honest, and wanted more than three months (all very selfish).
It is now April 2013. I can hardly believe ten years have passed. What I have seen the Lord do is more than I could have ever, ever dreamed of. Now both in Richmond Hill and at RiverStone He took my passion for missions and my passion to see youth walk in the fullness that He has for them and He put them together. I tried to count the mission trips that He has allowed me to lead the other day and I couldn't. I got overwhelmed by His goodness and now think the calling of "full time missions" for me may have just looked different all along.
This year overwhelms my heart even more than any other--because I get to watch my husband lead. In 2005 he came along with me on a mission trip to none other than Costa Rica. He had never been on a mission trip before--much less ever been out of the country. The second day there I ended up in the hospital in Costa Rica and he ended up leading the team beautifully all week long. He has been marked as a leader from the very beginning and I love that I get to see it coming out this year more so than ever before. We've been able to lead together over the years--but this year I get to watch him lead on his own and it's beautiful (he'd probably beg to differ with me--but I think it's beautiful :).
To read the full story of what the Lord has the McLendon's up to this Summer click here and here.