The last time I fell asleep in this bed, I was preparing to embark on the biggest journey of my life yet- traveling to Africa for the first time. I was 13 (almost 14), two weeks away from departing for Uganda, and spending a week in Kentucky with family. Now, as I fall asleep in that Kentucky bed, I again consider the newest biggest journey of my life. I experience the same emotions. Unknowing. Anticipating. Called.
In 183 days, I will be getting on a plane, and leaving my family and all I know for 6 months. I will be flying to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I will be truly “on my own” for the first time in my life. No family, no friends, just a calling. There, I will meet a small team of other like-called 18 to 30 year olds, and we will be following that calling to South Africa, Namibia, and Lesotho. No “work projects”, no set “goals”, no “daily itinerary”, solely relying on the Lord to lead us. Trusting that God will show us who to share the gospel with. Trusting that God will enable us to make Jesus better known through creating relationships.
As I’ve talked to previous participants of this program, I’ve heard one key phrase many times over. “Build the plane as you fly it”. And as I think of that saying, I have realized that is kind of missionary I feel called to be. God didn’t call me to set up plans and save people on my time. God didn’t create me to know the plan ahead of time so that I can expect how He will move and be prepared. God designed me to go, to follow Him, to wait, to learn, to engage the people He has placed me with.
My trip to Uganda, four years ago, had a tightly knit itinerary. We had spent hours checking all the boxes, planning, and dreaming. We were ready, and we were excited. We had a plan for where God was going to take us. But like we should have expected, God had His own plans. About six weeks before our departure date, everything fell apart. Our trip seemed to be a disaster. Should we cancel our tickets? Should we cut our losses since it seemed God wasn’t in the plans we had made? Our human minds became very fearful, in the absence of having “a plan”. As we prayed over the trip, we realized an overwhelming sense that God was still present in our desire to go and serve. Somehow, we started making connections with ministries in Uganda through American friends in the United States. God placed seeming coincidences along our path and redesigned the trip, just a few weeks before we were to leave. Through the recreation of that trip, I really got to discover how many good and wonderful things God has planned for me- things that I got to experience when I decided to listen to Him and trust that His his plans are far greater than any I can make on my own. As we struggled over the loss of our plans, we gave up our humanly control over the trip. We decided to let God build the plane, and ended up letting Him fly it as well.
I don’t know the full plans for my IMMERSION trip yet. But I have faith that God is going to build the plane AND fly it, as I follow him in obedience. I’m trusting Him that He won’t lead me where He doesn’t go, and that He won’t leave in me places that He will not stay in.
As I fall asleep tonight, I’m excited, I’m scared, but more than anything, I’m anticipating the eternal fruit that God is going to create in Africa through my obedience. And right now, I’m going to fall asleep in the same bed I fell asleep in four years ago. I’m going to rest tonight in the same promises that I rested in back then. Four years later, I trust again, believing through faith that that the Divine Engineer is building the plane and designing plans and creating a perfect itinerary for my trip.
And tonight, I fall asleep easily, knowing that tomorrow and in all the days to come, I won’t have to fly the plane alone.