A blog chronicling the adventures of a Chicago-based hairstylist and makeup artist!

January 16, 2009

Amazing letter...

I have a good friend who wrote this letter to their parents recently. I was asked to proof read it and upon reading it I asked if I could post it here... because it is amazing.

"So I have had this phrase stuck in my head for the past few months, "Set the captives Free."

About three days ago I mentioned this to Shelby and Allie....

I have been considering the possibility that perhaps God is calling me to do work with international justice, for example, human trafficking (young girls sold into forced prostitution/sex slavery) is a huge concern in places like southern Asia. Shelby mentioned a few websites to check out (ie, IJM.org) and I began praying that God would make His will clear on the issue. On the one hand, getting into missions would be awesome and what better thing to do with my life but on the other hand, I've been concerned about timing. Just getting my degree, I've made it known at work that I wanted to get into management and were I to leave now, I'd lose any ground that I've gained working there. I was originally thinking that maybe a few years from now, after I had acquired some real world management experience to put on my resume, that then I could pursue missions. So this is the dilemma I went to God with, "Am I throwing away an opportunity if I went abroad? Or should I leave my job and assume God's provision?"

So Day 1 I talk to Shelby and Allie and pray that God would shed a little light on the subject...

Day 2. A package arrived from Allie. Apparently weeks before she had painted a picture with a note on the back. The picture and it's meaning are something that she felt God had specifically for me. The painting is of a tree with a vine growing up the side of it. A tree is comfortable and strong, independently standing in the same place. I am not the tree. In this picture I am the vine, clinging to the tree, wishing I was one. Allie felt that God wanted me to know, "You are a vine, go and branch out. Don't try to be a tree just because it is safe. You are a vine. Go, branch out and bear fruit." Any other day this might not have hit me the way it did but it arrived precisely the day after I had prayed for God to shed light on the subject.

Later that night Shelby sent me a text that she had randomly run into our friend Jay. Jay has lived in China for the majority of the last 5 years as a missionary. She mentioned to him the conversation that I'd had with her. His reply was, "Wow we could really use someone with a business degree in China." He gave Shelby his card to give to me. After hearing this and being a little freaked out because maybe God was, in fact, answering a prayer, I emailed Jay. Within a few minutes Jay had responded and then called me. We talked for a few hours. He talked about the different ministries and underground churches that he works with in China. Not only are there a lot of opportunities to "set captives free" there but many ministries also use China as a jump-off to do ministry in places where sex slavery is rampant, like Thailand and Cambodia. He said one way to start is to teach conversational English at a school for a year or two. This gives you, not only, income to support yourself while working with ministries on the side but gives you a good means of learning the language and becoming acclimated to the culture. And coincidentally, he's going back to China soon and a) needs a roommate and b) does coffee house ministry singing and needs a drummer and I play drums. "Hmmm" I told Jay about my dilemma with work and brought up some interesting points. Maybe I can impact eternity serving wealthy people, sizzling steaks (I work in a restaurant) but how much more impact could I have in China? He's talked to people on both sides, some who regret being "trees" and others who branched out as the "vines" and have never regretted it. After that conversation, I had a lot to think about. Was this all God speaking to me? Yesterday I wasn't sure....

Day 3, today. I slept in and went to work, no mind-blowing revelations or anything there. But last year I tithed to a couple of my friends who had gone to teach conversational English as a way to do missions in the Czech Republic. That was a year ago and today I received an email from their organization, completely unrelated to any of the conversations that I'd had over the previous two days.

I opened my mail and saw from TeachOverseas.org, an email saying, "You can make a meaningful difference in the world through teaching English in a foreign country. Your help as a Christian teacher can make a significant impact on students lives. A student in Asia recently shared..." and gave a short testimony from one of the students. I believe my immediate thoughts were, "Holy ---!"

If I've learned anything from walking with God, it's that God will ask you to do things that only He could pull off. Preaching a sermon series at children's church comes to mind. Public speaking is totally not my thing but God prompted me to prepare a message for some reason. I thought I would suck but I prepared it anyway, just in case, and when Saturday came around, lo and behold, the normal teacher was sick. The next thing I know, I'm preaching to a bunch of middle and high school students about doubt. The director later teased me, "See what happens when your obedient to God?" Obedience is tough, and in this case scary, but I feel like I NEED to be obedient to something that it seems God is CLEARLY calling me to do.

The biggest thing tying me to Orlando right now is my lease agreement. I'm talking to Jay more and will meet with him later this week to seek out if going to China with him is what God would have for me. If that seems to be specifically where God is tugging me to then I'd talk to our landlord, who used to be a pastor and missionary himself, about subleasing the whole house or perhaps he might even let us out of the lease. If God puts all the pieces in place, I could be leaving as early as March.

Since I would be working in China I wouldn't need to raise support. I would need to get a "teaching English as a second language certification" and a Visa but all those things take a relatively short period of time to procure. I guess we'll see what happens.

This is not something I could have thought up if I'd tried. We'll see what God does with it. I just need to be obedient."

Update: If my friend can find someone to sublease the house by March then the landlord is fine with letting them out of the lease. CRAZY! If you need a cute little 2/1 bungalow in College Park, let me know!

Update #2: The landlord put a sign in the yard of the house today and almost immediately, two roommates said that they wanted to move in February first. I told my friend, "Oh my gosh! This is SO wonderful!" Friend's response, "It's $%#*%&^ scary!" God is moving! WOW!

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