I apologize to YOU all for not doing a better job of keeping up with my blog. I've surprisingly been really busy, but that is not an excuse!
I would like to update you guys on what's been going on in the month of January and the beginning of February.
At the beginning of January I moved back to Big Woods in Abbeville, La where my mission company's base is located. I've had the opportunity to serve in our office here and see how much work really goes into missions. It has been really blessed to get to know everyone in the office a little better and to be able to use my time to give them a hand. Around January 16th we said farewell to the Eckstine family and Sidney Savoie, who are now at their first mission post in St. Lucia. I must admit that I am slightly jealous of them being in mission already! :)
January 20th, James, Susanna, and I left Louisiana and headed up north to Steubenville. We spent almost 24 hours in a car straight! It was quite an adventure! I saw snow for the FIRST time!! Woo Hoo!! It was absolutely beautiful! I was able to meet some really awesome people and experience my first Festival of Praise at Franciscan University. We didn't really make plans on where to stay while we were on our adventure, but the Lord provided in big ways! Our first night in Steubenville, we were welcomed by some of our friend's friends. The next night we stayed with some of James' friends. Each place we went, we were completely welcomed and greeted with hugs! It was amazing for me to see that when we share Christ, we truly are family! After spending two days in Steubenville, we hopped back into the car to travel to D.C. There, Susanna's uncle provided us a place to stay. On Monday the 24th, James, Susanna and I met up with Teresa Reardon (another missionary with FMC) at the youth rally for the March for Life. It was an awesome rally! We all participated in the March for Life. It was definitely a great experience! We finally made it back to Louisiana on 26th. I don't think I've ever traveled that many miles in such a short time! It was truly an exciting adventure! I spent the next week trying to get back into the swing of things and to catch up on rest!
So, remember how I said earlier that I was slightly jealous of the St. Lucia team already being on mission? Well, I've had a hard time still being stateside and waiting on the Lord's timing for me to move to Mexico. It's not easy waiting! I've completely had a bad attitude about being state side and I've forgotten what the Lord has called me to. In the last few weeks I've become very comfortable with my walk and relationship with the Lord. I've been putting in minimal time with Him and not really looking for opportunities to serve and love my brothers and sisters in Christ. When the opportunities to serve would come up, I would do the things that would take the least amount of effort and the least amount of my time. I've become very selfish in the last few weeks.
I am thankful that His mercies are new each day and He doesn't let us stray too far!
This past week I've been given three opportunities to serve and with each one I said yes, but was grumbling inside and sometimes aloud about it. On Tuesday I was given the opportunity to speak at a Catholic school in Franklin, La. Susanna and I shared about the missionary vocation to a group of seventh graders, a group of seniors, and a group of sophomores. I had forgotten how wonderful it feels to share what the Lord has done in my life this past year and to share missions with others. Second opportunity to serve was Wednesday. FMC put on a little family retreat about the domestic church. My attitude going into this event was, "I served yesterday, what do you mean I have to do it again today?" What?? I'm ashamed to admit how bad my attitude really was. I served that night, but my heart was not in it at all. The very next day John Paul Summers, the youth minister for FMC, asked Susanna and me if we could help him with a conformation retreat on Saturday. Susanna said yes immediately and I said yes a little later after grumbling a little.
I decided Saturday morning before we left for the retreat that I wasn't going to hold back for this opportunity. I decided before I left that I was going to be positive and joyful. Once we got to the retreat and spent a little time with the students, I felt the need to share my testimony. I told John Paul and we decided where it would fit in best. When the time approached for me to get up and share, I didn't think I would even be able to stand up because I was having a terrible anxiety attack. I'm thankful that the Lord takes care of us because John Paul completely forgot that I was sharing! I brought it to his attention that I was supposed to share and we decided that it would be best later in the evening.
In the middle of our praise and worship time I really felt the holy Spirit nudging me to get up and share and so I did. The Lord provided me with the words to say and calmed my nerves for the short time I was up there in front of the students. Again, I was reminded of how good it feels to do work for the Lord and I felt blessed to be His servant!
I realize now that my bad attitude and grumbling was sort of out of fear. I have become afraid, again, of putting myself out there for the Lord and allowing Him to use me. I have become afraid of being uncomfortable and maybe, possibly making a fool of myself. Sarah, fear is not of God! Sarah, this life is NOT about you!
The lessons that I have learned in this month are that the Lord's timing is ALWAYS perfect. I have learned that I'm not in Mexico yet because there are things that the Lord wants me to do right here in Louisiana. I have learned that I need to look for the opportunities to serve while I'm still stateside EVERYDAY and I need to serve with an open and joyful heart. I have learned that it is NEVER okay to get comfortable in my faith!
I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks and the opportunities to share my faith with others.
Please be praying for me. Pray that I will receive the grace I need to do the Lord's will each and everyday, and to wait for His precious timing. You are all in my prayers!