Today’s post will break from the mold of the others in this brief series. It will not include a poem, and there are no new photos (because we cannot find them). Today I would like to share with you the letter my daughter wrote upon her return from Canada last summer. I did change one word, with reference to time, since so much time has elapsed. But beyond that, these are her words. And I must say that they made this mother’s heart cry for joy when I first read the letter, to see what the Lord accomplished both in and through our little girl.
Summer Missions Trips: Chapter 2
Dear (Insert name here),
As you know, last year I had the opportunity to go on a mission’s trip to Quebec, Canada. I’d now like to share with you what went on all week.
On Monday, we were supposed to fly out of Pensacola at noon, have about an hour layover in Washington, D.C. and then fly into Portland, Maine. From there, we were going to drive to Pastor Bernard’s church in St. George, Quebec. However, things didn’t go as planned. Everyone on the team arrived at the airport at 10:30 A.M. so we would be ready for our flight. When Pastor Gourley, the team leader, went to check us in, he found out our flight had been delayed two hours, meaning we would miss our layover flight. Pastor Gourley managed to find another flight that departed at 5:15 that afternoon, but only 13 of 20 team members could go. Pastor Gourley selected the 13 to leave that day, myself included, and informed the other 7 that they would leave the next day. After all the plans were finalized, the 13 of us remaining went upstairs for precheck. Then, we waited at our gate for six hours. We landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a 45-minute layover, then flew to Portland. We landed at about 11:45 P.M. We had borrowed a 15 passenger van to use throughout the week, and because our travel plans had changed, the pastor lending it to us allowed us to sleep in his church that night. So, we got our bags and drove to Augusta, finally laying our heads down to sleep at 1 A.M. We hadn’t even arrived at our final destination, and already we could see God’s hand. He provided us with new flights, safe travels, and a place to sleep. Not to mention His grace in the hearts of the team members as they dealt with adversity.
On Tuesday, we drove across the border. We had absolutely no trouble from the border guard, and Pastor Gourley had exactly what he needed to take us across. As soon as we arrived at the church, we went out for nearly two hours of canvassing. We came back for lunch just after noon, then went out for more canvassing. The second set of team members flew out of Pensacola exactly 24 hours after we did, and had the exact same travel schedule. They arrived early Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were much the same, with a few hours spent canvassing in the morning and afternoon, and a cumulative 12 to 14 hours logged of stacking wood for the Bernards to use in the winter. On Friday we pulled out all the stuff we needed for the carnival and set it up. We set up the tents, losing four to the wind along the way. Tents kept being blown over, so we had to take the covers off and put them back on on Saturday. We were all also assigned our jobs for the carnival on Friday. Each person was given a task, anything from telling kids how to play a game (no small task when the kids only speak French!) to making popcorn and cotton candy. One member of our team had the job of running around dressed up as a clown all day!
We spent as many hours canvassing as we did hauling wood, and by God’s grace it paid off. There were over 290 guests at the carnival! Pastor Bernard later explained how great a number that is. You see, in Quebec, the Catholic church runs rampant, and Baptists are seen as a cult. People are hesitant to enter a Baptist church, or even to set foot on the grounds. If there’s a wedding at a Baptist church, usually only the family will come, and even then no one will arrive until the last minute before the ceremony starts. So, for 290 people to come to a carnival at a Baptist church is a marvelous thing. Plus, one man who was at the carnival attended the church service Sunday morning! Please pray that he, Bryan, will accept God’s good and perfect gift of salvation.
Now that I’ve told you what God did through us, I wish to tell you what God did in me. I saw His hand in two ways.
First, I saw God fill me with His strength when I needed it. He gave me strength to keep passing heavy blocks of wood. He gave me strength to keep working at the carnival even though I was incredibly tired from a long week. He gave me strength to keep walking and putting fliers on each house even though my feet hurt terribly. But what I think was most wondrous was the strength He gave me to speak. As I’ve stated multiple times, we were in a country where many people did not speak English. I don’t speak French; I don’t even speak English very well, especially to strangers. Talking just isn’t my forte. But on Friday, people were out and about, sitting on their porches, cutting their grass, weeding their gardens, returning from shopping trips, etc. So I was forced to speak quite a few times. One of the most astounding times was when I walked up to a house, and the resident had just gotten out of his car and was walking to his door. I walked up behind him, but he didn’t notice me. In a split second, God filled me with His power and I called out “Monsieur!” He turned and thanked me as he took a flier. In hindsight, that was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, but while it was happening, I wasn’t scared or nervous at all. Only God can do that in me!
Secondly, I saw God’s planning in my life. The church I attended when I lived in Virginia has a mission team of its own, and I had the opportunity to join when I was old enough. When I was handed the form to sign up, I heard the Spirit telling me to join, but I was scared. I silenced the Spirit’s voice. God opened a wonderful door for me, and I slammed it in His face. Years later, God opened the same door. He pulled it open just a little bit, showing me something that intrigued me: Canada. He drew me in with the opportunity to visit our North American neighbor. At first, that’s all the missions trip was to me, a way to get to Canada. But once we were there, it became so much more. I was there to help spread knowledge of the one true God. Once I opened my heart to God for Him to work, I saw His hand everywhere. Praise God, for He knows better than I! Praise God, for my stubbornness can’t disrupt His plan for me! Pray for me, that I remain receptive to His will.