The day my heart wanted to leap onto a plane

I guess you could say I live in the best of both worlds, as far as Christian mission work. At my “day job” I get to be a (very) small part of  projects around the world, like bringing water to desperate people, healing in mission hospitals, helping disaster victims and refugees, and more. As a social media strategist, my job is to build our online community, interact with people, help tell the story of Jesus and his great faithfulness, and mobilize prayer warriors. Hopefully God will use my meager work to motivate people to become involved.

I get to stand in my cubicle each day and watch what God is doing around the world. Yes, I stand most of the time and I absolutely love it. That’s a story for another day. I get to share the work with beautiful, generous people online. My cube is not particularly wonderful, except that it’s room temperature, dry, and relatively neutral smelling. I have sweet co-workers and running water. There are no starving children, no disease, no death in my cube, but I still get to witness God miraculously meeting these needs around the world.

I often stare at the photos that come in, read the stories and blog posts from the field. I think, “What would it be like to BE there? To be unbearably hot, sweaty, itchy, smelly? To look directly into the hopeful eyes of the people we serve, face to face? What would it be like to hold a bone-thin malnourished infant and administer life-saving food? To take a cold shower each morning before serving God with every last bit of energy?” The least I can do for those who are there is to help tell their stories with passion and integrity.

I know without a doubt that I’m where God wants me to be right now. Yes, I can serve Him with my life here in America with warm water and air conditioning. But sometimes God puts a nugget of longing in my heart for the things He has in store for the future.

Today, I stood in morning devotions listening to a pastor from South Sudan. His booming, joyful voice bounced off the walls right into my heart. He told of God’s faithfulness in South Sudan. He shared the struggles and victories of South Sudanese Christians and the Muslims whose eyes are being opened to the Gospel. And everything in me wanted to be in the middle of that passion.

South Sudan Cleft Lip

Later, my co-worker sent an Instagram photo from South Sudan, where doctors are performing cleft lip surgeries all week. He captured 10-year-old Nyagun looking at herself in the mirror – for the first time with a full upper lip. Tears began falling as I tried to imagine what she was thinking. Just look into her eyes and try not to feel it. I have this overwhelming longing to hug her and tell her how beautiful she has always been.

I can’t help but remember how in 2009, God prompted me to set up a meeting with the people at Operation Christmas Child to ask how I could help them with my modest blog. That first blog carnival (as we called them back then) had about 30 bloggers linked up. Two years later, a friend sent me the listing for the job I have now at Samaritan’s Purse. This independent at-home entrepreneur who swore she would never work in an office was suddenly telling the Vice President, “I would LOVE the opportunity to work in a cubicle here every day.” And I meant it, too.

That’s the way God works with me. Will I definitely go to South Sudan or some other African country to live and serve? I don’t know. But I know God is planting seeds. Right now, He doesn’t want me to know exactly what kind of flowers those seeds will produce. But I do know this: they will be beautiful in their time.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Has God placed desires in your heart like this?  Do you want to share your story in the comments? If you have a relevant blog post, I’d love for you to leave a link.