Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I will never forget looking through a Christian magazine for teens when I was a teen. This magazine highlighted mission trips for teenagers every summer, and year after year, my heart would leap and my soul would stir. I wanted so badly to join the other kids that were traveling the world to help, teach and heal. Deep down in my heart, the seed of being a missionary was firmly planted.

I didn't meet too many people like me. At college, no one talked about being a missionary, and frankly, it was an easy dream to push way down out of sight. Eventually, I thought that calling wasn't real back when I was 16; that maybe God planted the seed into every child's heart? And then He waited to see if I was worthy of being a missionary. Clearly, by the way I lived my life in college, I was not worthy.

Skip ahead a dozen years, and I experienced my first Harvest Fest at Elmbrook Church! I think I cried the entire time. I couldn't stop. I had never been in a church that celebrated and encouraged missions more than this one. As the missionaries from around the world paraded through our sanctuary, waving giant flags from the country they served in, I wept. I couldn't discern if I was weeping because I was so happy for these men and women, or if I was envious because I longed for that life. Either way, I couldn't get enough. I dragged Joe there, and when he looked at me a certain way at the end of one of the night sessions, I KNEW God planted a seed in him as well!

So Joe and I prayed to God, "Send us! We are willing to go wherever!"

We talked to the missions pastor. He asked, "Is there an area of the world where God is leading you?"

"Uuhhhh - no."

"Go home and pray over a map of the world. God will tell you where He wants you to go."

That was about 6 years ago. And we didn't get any clear sign from God! When we were called to adopt, that was incredibly clear - adopt from Ethiopia, adopt an older child, adopt a boy.

So then I thought, "Oh! God wants me to adopt dozens of kids from orphanages in Ethiopia! OK - God! I'll do that!"

"No, Traci. That was just a part of the plan. Remember when you said you would go anywhere?"

"Yea - Ethiopia would be so cool! I love it there! We could really live there!"

"No, it's not going to be Ethiopia."

Joe and Harry went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. They loved it. Joe came home declaring, "We can live there! We can be missionaries there!"

"No, guys. It's not going to be the DR."

"Seriously God! You have two people here who are spontaneous, adventurous, and who love you so much they are willing to go anywhere in the world!"

"Then I am sending you into Milwaukee."


"And you will not adopt...not now...and maybe never again. But you will help children and their parents be healed from the oppression of poverty. You will work hard to see that mommas are able to keep their children. And you will love the children and then give them back, freely and with joy."

And then, He showed me Safe Families.

Joe and I said, "OK - we'll become a Safe Family."

But God said, "Oh, you crack me up! I have something else in mind for you two!"

So now, Joe and I find ourselves working with a ministry that we feel is so right, so true, so worthy that we just can't stop thinking about it! This is the first time in our married lives that we are totally on the same page when it comes to working together in ministry. That alone, was a huge sign to us that this was God's plan for us. Doors opened - and continue to open. I am amazed at what God has accomplished in the past 6 weeks since Joe and I said God.

Our pastor at church is now calling us "missionaries to Milwaukee". He is a prayer partner and is working side by side with us to get this movement up and running. He just talked to us about MAYBE being a part of Harvest Fest this year. Joe and I almost cried - humbled to the core. All we are doing is saying yes to God. We are not comfortable with the label "missionary". But, maybe God has been planning this all along.

There are so many details - too many that they would bore you. But know this, God is moving in Milwaukee. And I can't believe that He has granted us the privilege of doing this work with Him. I am afraid my blog is going to become more now about our missionary journey - and no longer the adoption story. God has blessed us with a happy ending to our adoption. No, it is not perfect yet, but it IS happy - and I know, know, know that we WIIL have a happy ending.

God has just moved us onto Phase Two.


ESolgos said...

This is thrilling, Traci! I am so encouraged by your hearts to follow God's plan for your lives. I just want to hug you!

Jamie said...

I am so excited for how God is working in your lives and so anxious to see how you preform His will! You are an amazing family and we are happy to call you friends!


Amy said...

Will be praying for your family as well! :) EXCITING!!