Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Call to Go

One of the things I love most about being home for the summer is sitting around the dining room table with my family. Usually there’s something funny going on: someone is either getting picked on or just said or did something hilarious or is telling a funny story from their day.

My stepdad recently buzzed my brother’s hair, I got a trim today, and my mom is getting her hair cut tomorrow, so we recently discussed hair styles. In a bit of humor, my stepdad told me to get a crazy hairstyle before I go to Asia, so that it will catch on. Casually, he remarked that “when [I] go back in three years,” everyone in Asia will be wearing their hair like that.

When I go back in three years? Wait… 

And that’s when I felt it. That little pinprick in my heart. Kinda like a cross between a jolt of electricity and the flap of a butterfly’s wing. Or perhaps it’s easier described as a push or poke or a bright light, maybe? (It sounded like this to Abraham and smelled like smoke for Moses.)

It’s happened to me a couple times. My heart skips a beat, my peripheral vision clouds over, I can’t breathe.

Sometimes it happens when God is calling me to say something. Or not to say something. But I’ve felt it strongest when God is speaking to me. It can happen in the midst of a worship session or in a random conversation. I felt it, just for a second, at the dinner table the other night.

Sometimes it’s clear like it was at dinner. That moment during May of my freshman year when God all but audibly called me to my vocation (teaching), was more than distinct. I cried walking down the hallway with a bunch of eighth graders. When God called me to intentional singleness last February, I was sitting in the prayer room on my college campus and I felt it inside. There’s no way I could pretend I didn’t hear what God said to me.

Other times, it’s been less noticeable. I can’t remember one specific moment when God called me to Asia, and I still don’t know if I'll ever serve in Asia long-term. But my heart is hugely with Asia for this summer. I knew in May 2011 that God called me to be a teacher, and I am drawn towards late middle school / early high school, which is what led me to volunteer with the organization I’m serving with this summer. Then Asia came into the picture, because that’s where the organization works. So I said: Cool, I've never been to Asia. I want to do something awesome this summer and for God to be glorified. And it’s teaching English, something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

And slowly, God broke down my defenses against Asia and revealed to me that he has great plans for me there. He has great plans for the team of college students I’ll meet in Los Angeles and work with Asia. And he has great plans for the students I will be teaching.

Recently, I’ve been having a hard time keeping my eyes from "leaking." I was given a copy of a pre-service Bible study called “God’s Heart for the Nations” for my trip and my eyes started watering while I was completing the first lesson. I couldn’t even get through the first preface to the third edition of John Piper’s Let the Nations be Glad without tearing up. The Sunday before Memorial Day, I spoke at my grandma’s church and received a love offering from them.  While I was preparing, the pastor and I previewed the video I was going to show before I spoke. I couldn’t even see the video once it started playing because my eyes were watering, and I struggled to keep myself from being noticed. And don’t even get me started on when I received the Operation Servanthood book, my luggage tags, T-shirt, waterbottle, and official journal in the mail. I opened the journal and skimmed a couple pages and felt like my heart was exploding.

It’s weird, because while I do have a tendency to cry, I don’t cry all that much. Nothing (except for the beauty of my Savior and my vocational calling) has captured my heart so much as this trip to Asia. Maybe it’s because this trip opens up a world (literally) of overseas opportunities for my future. Or maybe because this is the longest time I’ll be overseas, without anyone I’ve met before.  Or maybe because Asia is hitting me hard. (I would love to share more about that when I return!)

While I was getting ready for this trip, a guy friend of mine who has been to Asia three times before handed me an envelope with some cash for my trip. It was quite a lot of money for a college student, and I thanked him profusely.

On the outside of the envelope, he wrote a note, signing it “sincerely, with blessings, from a bro,” and his name. One line from the note caught my attention: May your preparation be worship. …That makes me cry, too.

In these next three weeks before I leave, I must make prayer a vital part of my preparation. I must make worship (the conscious effort of placing God first and giving him the glory due him) a vital part of my preparation. My friend was saying that all of my preparations, whatever I have to do to get ready, be an act of worship. I love that.

I have no doubt this trip is going to be difficult. Five weeks, two countries, over thirty-eight hours in airplanes (not to mention layovers), at least three different beds and roommates, and a classroom of 16-20 teenaged students. Yeah, it’ll be tough. But, hey, with God, nothing is impossible. With God, I have nothing to fear.

"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you." (Joshua 1:5)

"The One Who called you is faithful and will do what He promised." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

"God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:9)

What I'm Listening To:
"Hold On" - B*Witched (this is one of my pumped-for-the-summer songs)
"I Refuse" - Josh Wilson
"Conmigo Estas (You Hold Me Now)" - Hillsong

P.S. I won't be updating this blog while I'm Asia. If you would like to receive my e-mail updates, please scroll down to the bottom of this post. For more information about my trip and how you can help, see my page here or send me an e-mail. Thanks!


  1. Prayer and worship are two of the greatest things you can do to prepare, even more than bringing a toothbrush. :) May God bless you as you go. Best wishes from the ninja

    1. Why, thank you, sir! I appreciate the encouragement. :) May He bless you as well.

  2. It's inspiring and convicting to see your heart for the people you'll teach in Asia, Alex. Great post-- especially about worship.

    1. Thank you, Evan! It's definitely God - I didn't even WANT to go to Asia. :)

  3. I'm certain that nether you nor the continent will be the same when you get back :) You go girl, and may God be with you along the entire way!

    1. Thank you, Tiffany! What a blessing that He will be with us always!