My 14 year old daughter and my husband got called to go on a mission trip to El Salvador. It happened at church, towards the end of the service. The part where you start trying to decide between Applebee’s or Taco Bell. A lady got up to talk about missions. I was really leaning towards Chinese Buffet when Glory to my left, started crying. Um what’s happening? Kenny, to my right had his phone out, checking dates. “El Salvador!” was splashed across the screen on stage. What am I missing? Now they’re looking at each other across me and both are crying and smiling and gesturing to the front… seriously what’s going on here?
We’re not a mission’s family; the only place we ever go is Minnesota. I mean we drop off supplies at “The Little Flower Mission” up North by my Grandma’s, on the way to the casino but, that’s not really the same thing.
Our church works closely with Compassion International; as a whole, we’ve adopted over 250 children (like sponsor-adopt, not potty train-adopt.) Our family has two cute little ones ourselves. It seems they are sending a team to one of their Compassion centers and clearly, God is calling my husband and daughter to go. Huh? The Holy Spirit must’ve just jumped over me, cuz I don’t feel… anything. (Whew…close)
Fast forward three months and all I’ve heard since that day is, El Salvador this and chicken bus that and fundraising and passports and maps and children and “I’m so excited, I can’t sleep!” I was actually starting to get excited for them too, until my 16 year old pointed out that El Salvador is considered the “Murder Capital” of the world. What? (“Smart” spouse wasn’t going to tell “Sassy” spouse this fact.) My little baby girl in the murder capital of the world doesn’t really seem like such a great idea anymore but… I know she was called. I mean I saw it with my own eye. I guess it’s gonna be ok, as long as she stays with the group!
Plot twist! Kenny thinks God is calling them beyond the mission trip, to Guatemala and then Belize. Seems there was a hurricane that hit Belize and there are more people to help, more sites to see, Mayan ruins, once in a lifetime experience yada-yada-yada.
Um…That would be a no!
A mission trip with the church is one thing, but gallivanting around alone is just a big giant no. I understand you feel it’s His plan, but it’s still, heck to the no!! Go quick, love the little babies and come home quicker. Ugh here come the eight stages of grief (only five, I know, well… I’ve discovered a few more) to the point in this story where God speaks.
Can I just tell you it’s always good when God speaks! He never serves up feel better platitudes, like “take two scriptures and call me in the morning.” His words are literal “life” to the redeemed soul and thankfully, I have walked with Him long enough to be aware of this wonderful truth and listening for that small still voice that changes everything. Here’s what I heard him say, “Remember when you learned a powerful lesson about listening to your husband?”
Oh yeah… Wait, does that apply here?
We were newly married, I was 20-ish and he was 26-ish (think 1995.) I was waiting in line at Sam’s Club; there was a mom behind me, clearly on a tight budget. She was going through her mental check list, out loud to her small children. Something like, “Let’s see we got diapers and formula, have to wait on cereal until next time. We got Grandma’s meds, but no Peanut butter, that’s ok we can have grilled cheese again this week…” It was obvious she had a full household and limited resources.
My heart was moved by the spirit of God to pay for her groceries, but how? I was paying by check. We never had cash. We ourselves, were on a very tight…um? Sorry, what’s that called again? When you keep track of your money coming in and out… Oh yeah, the bane of my existence!!!
I decided to give the cashier an additional signed, but blank check, and asked her to fill in the amount for the family behind me. Keep in mind, this was a time when checks used to take a few days to clear and not much was online. Now I’m in the car and I feel God’s presence so strongly that I can’t stop crying, I cannot wait to tell Kenny!
I told him 🙂
Kenny: “Honey that’s great, very generous, I’m really proud of you… how much?
Me: “I’m sorry, what’s that now?”
Kenny: “How much was the check for? How much were her groceries? How much do we need to plan for, so ya know, we don’t bounce any checks and get charged late fees? How much?”
Me: “Um… I don’t… Know?”
Kenny: “Well, you need to call Sam’s Club and find out!”
Me: “What? They won’t know. They have …like… 28 check-out lanes and receive thousands of checks in a day. I’ll sound like a crazy person. Please honey, just have faith, just believe that God will provide.”
Kenny: “You need to call right now!”
There was more…Looking back at this story, I sadly remember, correlating my Godly husband to King David, when he sinned against God. In 1 Chronicles 21, David wanted to COUNT all the Israelites in his kingdom to see how rich he was and God sent a terrible disease and 70,000 men died. I think I said something like, “you don’t want to be “that” guy, do you?” (Not my proudest moment.)
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know my family in Minnesota calls my husband, “Poor Kenny!” Oddly this never offends me…I totally get it.
Kenny: “Seriously Chris, call!”
Ring, Ring… (The conversation that follows literally happened over 20 years ago, but I remember every word.)
Lady: “Sam’s Club, How may I direct your call?”
ME: “Hi, this is going to…um… sound really weird, but I was in there today and I…uh…left a blank check with my cashier. See I wanted to pay for the Mom’s groceries behind me and I…”
Lady: “Oh that was me, you were in my lane. You probably want the amount huh?
Me: “WHAT? You were the check-out lady that waited on me?”
Lady: “Yeah, I just got transferred to customer service moments ago.”
Me: “Wow, um ok so… you know that check I gave you…”
Lady: “It was $136.50!”
Me: “What? $136.50, how do you know that?”
Lady:“I memorized it. I thought you might walk back in and want to know.”
Me: “What? Seriously? I, um… thank you!”
Lady: “Have a great day.”
Me: “Uh…You too.”
(I know you won’t believe this part, but I fell off my chair!)
Me: “IT WAS $136.50!”
Kenny: “Thank you! That wasn’t so hard was it?”
I guess not, sorry about the King David thing….
GOD speaking (In my words, not His, cuz I can’t remember His exact words, but I WILL NEVER FORGET THE LESSON OR HIS FAITHFULNESS,) “You never have to doubt that I work perfectly within this marriage, I work within your husband and you simultaneously. You are not at odds, you are in unity, I have knit you together and you work perfectly, even if it seems like he’s…always… wrong.”
They left today for Murder City; I trust God (and my husband) to take care of things. I’m thankful that iron sharpens iron within a marriage, as we submit one to another, but I’m more thankful that God is just super cool and can throw speeding cars out of our way (a future blog.) May His will be done!