New experiences always come with new fears for me. Before I left for Loja, I wrote out my top three biggest fears. Here they are:
1. What if I can't learn the language? What if I can never communicate my heart with the people I am there to minister to?
2. I am going to miss my family and friends so much. What if I feel completely alone every day I am there?
3. (Here's the dumb girl fear) By the time I get back from Loja, I will be almost 28 years old with absolutely NO possibility of boyfriend, let alone marriage. What if I have to do this alone for the rest of my life?
After I wrote these, the Lord spoke to me and said: I am all you need.
Now, two years later, I want to share with you how he answered each one of these fears.
1. I'm not going to lie and say that the language learning was easy. It wasn't. One day I would feel completely sufficient in my Spanish and the next day I felt like I couldn't even say my own name. But you know what? God had me start a Bible study in Spanish two months after I got there. Every week when I walked through those doors to meet with those three girls, it was as if the Lord turned a switch and my Spanish was more than sufficient to do what he had called me to. We would study His Word and I would understand and be able to respond to about 80% of what was said. The interesting thing is that He didn't make my Spanish wonderful and easy all the time... most days I would have to rely on him completely for every word that came out of my mouth, but when I was doing Bible study or sharing the gospel, it was there... so that I could share my heart.
2. At the beginning, I shared Jesus with the people of Loja because they were my "ministry." But over the months, they became so much more. I shared Jesus with them because they were such dear friends that I cannot imagine spending eternity without them. I spoke the truth of the Word with them because I loved them, not out of obligation. I can try and communicate the depth of love I have for my friends there, but mere words will never do it justice.
What does family mean to you? To me they are the people who love me no matter what, who take care of me, who will fight for me and I for them. By this definition, my family lives just as much in Loja as they do in the States.
3. This is one that I thought was too far beyond the power of the Almighty... if that's possible. But Jesus did the impossible and brought my friend of 7 years to Loja to minister along side of me. This man encouraged me, listened to me, supported me and was my best friend for the past year. Who would have guessed that the man I want to spend the rest of my life with was walking beside me for so long?
The same God who said, "I am the bread of life. I am the good shepherd. I am the way, the truth and the life," also said to me, "I am all you need." I didn't know how He was going to answer the scariest questions for me, but he did. One by one, He took care of them. One by one, He calmed my fears and said, "I am... and that should be enough."
Now my new adventure is so open it's scary. I am going back to Dallas and asking, now what?? But even in this the Lord is saying, "Give me your fears. I will answer them one by one. Fear not, for I am with you."