Thursday, June 30, 2016

Here am I, Lord, send me!

I can’t believe it’s here already. It was months ago that I heard the Whitlarks talk about traveling once again to Lebanon. I have always loved hearing their stories and looking at their pictures in previous years. My job as a coach kept me busy in the summers and always kept me from such long mission trips. But I changed jobs last August and my heart yearned to travel, and to “GO” as Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 28. It was then that God began to speak to me, even more importantly to open doors for me.

As the months passed on, everything was falling into place. Blessings followed blessings and the excitement began to increase. I was going to be able to go to Lebanon. I was going to see the sweet faces that I had only seen in Jennifer’s pictures. I was going to be able to serve and share the love of Jesus at Dar El Awlad as Jason had previously. And best of all, I was going to be able to experience for the first time, alongside of their daughter, Hannah.

The past 4-5 months have been filled with prayer and excitement. But, as I shared with others my travel plans, I would listen to their apprehension and I could sense the worry in their faces. This was hard. Especially when the nervousness and anxiety came from people I loved and looked up to. The anxiety would creep in, but excitement would surpass it.

More time would pass, and more people warned me. They voiced things like “traveling to this part of the world would be dangerous”. And I was questioned because the risk was just too high. Fear. Doubt. Worry. Anxiety. Concern.  All of these have flooded my thoughts. All of these emotions I have become all too familiar with. They began to consume me.

Then the terrorist attack in Orlando. Followed by continued news reports of ISIS and Fallujah. Top it all off with the bombing in Istanbul. Satan was at work and evil was all that I would hear. Am I being crazy? Is this safe? Should we be going at all? Fear overwhelmed me.
That was just it – Fear. Fear of what? I prayed, earnestly asking God, desiring to be obedient. I voiced my fears. I put them into the light. The lies were louder than the ‘still small voice’. These weren’t going to consume me anymore and they certainly weren’t going to be my guiding force. “Get behind Thee, Satan!”

It was through tear-streaked face and a heart seeking God that I was reminded… “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). “He will never leave me, nor forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6). “For the Lord did not give me a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). God’s voice became louder than the news, the gun shots, the bombings, the questioning, the doubt – louder than the lies.

I now heard truth. I was encouraged, and reminded, that my very life is in the palm of His hand and that is not dependent on geographic location. He is with me always. And I know for a fact, that there is no safer place than being in the center of His will. So here I go. “Here am I, Lord. Send me!”

So here I sit, wavering back and forth on emotions. Fear and doubt contrasted with love and faith. The spiritual battle wages within me. But my God is bigger! And I want to tell the world about Him! So I pray. I “cast my anxiety on Him, because he cares for me” (1 Peter 5:7) and I know that when I “cast my cares on the Lord and he will sustain me;” because “he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). God’s Word is power and my God is faithful!

And I am going – in less than 36 hours – in His name; for His glory; to further His kingdom. And I will rest in the fact that “The Lord watches over all who love him” and that “He is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4b).

And I continue to pray. Not just because it’s all I can do, but because it is all I need to do. Would you please join me?

Kelly Levesque

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Our Lebanon 2016 Team

We are so excited to be returning to Lebanon this year.  Our team for this year includes 5 members and we will be leaving late this week.  They are Jason, Jennifer, Hannah, Kelly, and Tim.  3 of us have traveled to Lebanon before and 2 are new to the trip.  We are excited to be traveling together and are so hopeful that God will do amazing things in and through us.  We covet your prayers for our team and for our trip as we prepare and go.

Hannah is our youngest team member and the daughter of Jason and Jennifer.  This will be her first trip overseas.  Her mom, Jennifer, has been on this trip twice and her Dad, Jason, has been on this trip once.    She is a 9 year old student in Waco and will be in 4th grade in the fall.  We are so thankful that she is going on the trip this year and that she will join her mom and dad in Lebanon!  Here is an interview with Hannah to get her thoughts on the trip: 

What are you most excited about for the trip:
“I am excited to meet the boys and enjoy time with them.  I am excited about the field trips, devotionals, and bible studies.  I am very excited about trying new foods and visiting the Lebanese grocery store!  I am excited to travel with people I know very well.

What are you most nervous about for the trip:
“I am nervous to be so close to a place in war (Syria).  I am nervous about not being able to speak Arabic and understand people.  I am nervous to fly over the ocean and be so far from home.

What do you think Lebanon will be like:
“It will be beautiful and different from America in a good way.  I think it will be interesting and a good place to visit.”

How can people pray for you on the trip:

“Pray for all of the things that I am nervous about.  Pray that God would give me strength to teach the kids about Him, and to be kind and patient with the boys.  Also, pray that I would have a great time in Lebanon.”