“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You; I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” Isaiah 25:1
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5
*****It is that time of year again: Fall stories! Wholehearted Woman Ministries’ mission is helping women be fully surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ and courageously on-mission for Him – one heart at a time. One of the ways we do that is by sharing real-life stories of Christian women both past and present who have decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly in this way. No matter what season of life you are in, God is calling you to a place of deep and wholehearted relationship with Him. We pray that each story told over the next few months is used by God to fashion your individual heart, to know and experience Him even more deeply, and to joyfully do His will to His glory! “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” (Psalm 107:2) Read on!
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The summer before my (Jenni’s) senior year of college, I worked at a Christian summer camp in Oklahoma. It was there that my path crossed with another fellow counselor named Emily who I quickly found to be a kindred spirit in the Lord. We were both out of high school already (many of the other counselors were sweet high schoolers), and we each had a heart for kids, education, and missions. She became a true friend in those few short months, and we have stayed in touch through the years.
Since then, Emily has worked as a special education teacher, has lived on the mission field, has been involved in her local church, and embraces adventurous opportunities such as running and canoing. She is a willing servant of the Lord wherever He may lead her and embraces life wholeheartedly. She recently shared with The Wholehearted Woman about some of the seasons of life she has walked through with the Lord. She also allowed us to include a bit of where the Lord is leading her in the coming year, and it is a beautiful story of trusting the Lord in all seasons and being willing to both stay and go wherever He leads! This is Emily’s story…
Before I begin to dive into the story I’m going to share there are three things you should know about me-I have a heart for missions, I love working with kids and I really like sports (playing and watching).
In 2016 my church announced they would be taking a mission trip to Haiti to help with soccer camps. I knew from the moment the trip was announced that I wanted to go. There was just a slight problem. It would be the during the school year. And I’m a special education teacher. And I only get four personal days every school year. (And the trip was five school days.) I wasn’t worried about the timing of the trip because as I prayed about going on this trip I just KNEW that I was supposed to go and trusted the Lord to make a way.
It was at the end of the school year when I signed up to go on the trip and knew I had to wait till the start of the next year to ask off since the trip was in October. Within a few weeks of signing up my entire trip was paid off! And this just confirmed to me all the more that I was supposed to go. Fast forward to the new school year and I put in for time off so I could go on this trip. I originally asked off for five days. Shortly after submitting my time off it was denied. I asked my principal why she denied it and told her why I needed the time off. She told me it was because I asked for five days and I only get four personal days. I told her why I asked for the time off and how I knew I was supposed to go on this trip. She stood her ground and wouldn’t change her mind.
I knew that I was supposed to go on this trip and began to look at other ways I could go on this trip. So I decided I’d ask for a personal leave for a week and settled in my heart that I could go without being paid for a week cause I knew I was supposed to go on this trip!
Well, long story short my personal leave request was denied and my principal questioned why I’d go above her and ask for a personal leave. Again I told her I knew I was supposed to go on this trip. She didn’t respond and just left our conversation after that. (Mind you at this time the trip was less than a month away at this time.)
A couple days later my principal comes up to me. She tells me to fill out the request again that she has to approve, but ask off for four days and to just call in on the fifth day. So I fill out the form. (And at this time we are about a week/week and a half away from the trip.) As I handed in the form the Lord told me not to talk with any of my coworkers about waiting for a response from my principal-to simply trust Him to make it all work out.
There was no response the first day (3 days till departure).
There was no response the second day (2 days till departure).
On the third day there was still NO response (less than 12 hours till we were leaving) from my principal AND my principal was in an all day meeting outside of the school.
So I asked the secretary if the principal said anything to her about my request. With a sense of disappointment in her voice she said no. By this time I was determined to go on this trip regardless of what my principal said as I knew I was supposed to go on this trip! Before leaving the office the secretary had a light bulb moment! She remembered there was one last place she could look for my request… she opened up a folder and sure enough my request was in there signed and approved!
The week I spent in Haiti was nothing short of amazing! I learned so much! And this trip provided such unique insight into the day to day life of a missionary as we stayed with the missionaries at their house! By the end of the trip I fell in love with the ministry and the missionary family we served and lived alongside.
After our nightly debriefing on the last night I talked with the wife. I just thanked her for all that she did and the love in my heart for the family and the ministry. I told her I’d love to come back and help in anyway I can. She very wisely told me people often feel this way on the last day and to pray about it upon returning home.
A few months later the missionaries posted they were looking for a teacher for their two youngest kids. My heart about burst out of my chest when I read this! Long story short I reached out to say I was interested and a few weeks after we had a plan in place for me to come down for six weeks during the summer to this to see if this was going to work and turn into something long term. These 6 weeks were life changing and something I’ll never forget.
Much to my surprise it didn’t work out for me to stay and that’s mainly because they needed someone who could commit right away and be financially able to support themselves.
Yes, this was initially disappointing, but through it all I have learned so much. One thing that the Lord has shown me time and time again is He is writing my story. I just need to trust Him. Plus He has a way of making things work together way better than I do! And for that I’m so very thankful.
Fast forward to today, and a new opportunity has developed. I recently accepted a teaching position…in North Africa! At the start of the summer, I was invited by some friends who live in Northern Africa to live life with them for a few days. While there I had some experiences that have left a lasting impact on my life! Throughout my life, through short term mission trips and this past summer, God has confirmed His call on my life to missions more times than I can count! And this trip was no exception. Responding to the call, I will be joining a team that focuses on church planting in the Arab World. All that’s left is for me to obey!
More to come in Emily’s story! If you would like to sign up for her email updates, click HERE!
“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!” 1 Chronicles 16:24