Don’t Forget About Joe

  

May 2006

Memphis, Tennessee     

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My very first Mission Trip!  I have been praying all year for this moment!  I was destined for missions, created for missions.  All the maps on my walls as a child and feeling like I needed to be somewhere else, not just boring West Allis, Wisconsin.  No I was made for more.  I was created to travel to the ends of the earth to help others!  I have been saved a year and a half now and it all makes sense to me.  Everything!!  Well maybe not everything… 

The itinerary was set, 3 countries, 4 mission organizations, 2 months.  I am destined to find my calling, my ministry.  Seek Diligently.  I won’t let God off the hook on this one until I have the answer to what I am searching for.   Then it began, the airport in Tampa.  The team was on a different flight from myself and one other girl.  The two of us were to meet the team in Amsterdam for a day of exploration then on to Ghana.  We boarded the plane filled with excitement and then we landed in Memphis to find our connection had been canceled due to a severe rainstorm.   

Could this really be happening?  Thoughts of defeat settled in rapidly.  Everything began to go wrong.  The airline would not book us in a hotel because it was not their fault.   The lady at the counter was completely rude and unhelpful.  If the storm continued we were told the flight to Amsterdam would be canceled the next day as well.  We would miss our connection to Ghana with the team and then we would be left behind.   

We solemnly hailed a cab and went to the nearest, cheapest hotel we could find.  We were ready to give up and decide that this must be God’s sign for us to not go.  Then I called my best friend who quickly put my eyes into perspective.  She began to yell at me in the name of Jesus and tell me that He would not have brought us this far to not send us all the way to Africa.  She reminded me that the trip began the second I got on the plane and if Memphis is where the Lord needs me then Memphis is where I shall sit until it is complete.   

Wow, not the, now…now…it will all be ok, confirmation I was looking for!  At that moment I changed my attitude and perspective and began to pray with my friend for whomever the Lord has for us to reach and witness to would happen and soon.  We repented for being so self-centered and prayed all night.  The morning arrived to a call from the front desk that we would be kicked out of the hotel early due to an overbooking the night before.  “Now what” , I thought, “more bad luck”, it began to creep in again.  Then I decided that if we are going to have a divine appointment then we must be out there to do it.  We had the front desk call for a cab and we sat in the hotel lobby and waited to go to the airport early, there are a lot of people there. 

A brand new white Escalade pulled up and a very large black man in Army clothing walked out and with a serious purpose started to approach us.  Immediately I began to pray and ask God that this is not our cab, over and over.  But it was too late; the man was standing over me and said, “You called for a cab? Get in.”   My friend looked at me with fear in her eyes and I motioned to her abruptly to come on. 

The man smelled like he had just doused himself in an entire bottle of cologne.  There was an open can of beer in a paper bag on the console and I could not help but notice stuffed inside the dash two large bags of what I am guessing was marijuana.  My friend looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights.  I had to think fast.  So I began to talk to him, I began to ramble on actually, about everything in my life.  I began to ask him questions about his life and as this hard man softened up and thought about the questions I was asking, I could see he was really hurting in his life.   

He stopped answering and I got nervous again, and he told us the flights at the airport are all delayed from the storm and we would be stuck sitting there.  He then asked us if we had ever seen Graceland.  As I responded out of nervousness, no, but I would love to see it, my friend kicked me.  He took a detour and drove us past Graceland to see it from afar.  I began to the bad ones?”  I said yes, God does and then he changed the subject. 

As we drove up to the drop off at the airport something inside of me could not leave until I prayed with him.  So I asked him if we could pray with him and he paused, tears filled his eyes and he bowed his head and we prayed.  The second we stepped out of the car the rain stopped and the sun started to peer from the clouds.  He got out of the car and ran to unload our baggage.  As I paid him he looked at me with tears swelling up in his eyes and said, “Please don’t forget about Joe. That’s my name, Joe” and he gave us both a huge hug.   

We checked in and the agent was very friendly and upgraded our seat for free.  We arrived in Amsterdam just in time to meet the team and make it on the flight to Ghana. 

I truly learned that Right Now we are on the mission field, it is not a destination but it is wherever the Lord places your feet.  I learned that there are divine appointments every day that we will miss out on if we are not purposefully looking for them.  If we are truly Christians walking to be more like Him then we need to have eyes and hearts like Christ as well.  To follow where He leads us, no matter how uncomfortable or unsafe the place may seem to be.  If He says go, we must go, and trust that his amour of protection will cover us and protect us.  Or you could miss out on your divine appointment to share the love of God with Joe.

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