As I stood gazing at the bright orange glow of an Indian sunset, I pondered over my presence there. For days now, I had been watching that sunset each evening, watching the exquisite beauty of it and worshipping my King, Whom the majority of these natives did not know. How had it all come to pass so quickly and yet, so definitely for me to end up here, in this foreign place? What had I done to deserve it? The answer was simple: nothing. Nothing that I could have possibly done would be measured up in repayment with this great privilege of sharing Christ’s precious gift with these people. Now, as the sun sank lower and lower beneath the clouds of this (God’s) country, I stood in awe and praised my Lord for bringing me here.
About five years ago, after reading Elisabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael “A Chance to Die”, I felt intrigued and desired at once to go to India to serve and to share the precious story of our Savior with those who had, perhaps, never heard. God asked me to wait for Him and His timing. While only twelve years old, waiting to go wasn’t very hard, because I was still young and very apt to play most of my time.J But as I grew older, the reality struck me and I learned that waiting was certainly not very easy anymore.
Two years ago, when my high school years began to come to an end, I became certain that if I was to use my single years to be a missionary, God must surely open the doors very soon. I was wrong. After so many years of waiting, of feeling the strong sense of being called to the mission field, I had only been hoping it was so. It was but seven months later when the Lord literally spoke to me with His still, small voice. What I was told was definite — it was Divine, and it was my Lord asking me to do something that was, in truth, bittersweet to me.
No matter how bad I wanted to go and share the Precious Love I had already been witnessing, I did not like going away from the family I loved dearly. I knew that they would not take this distinct calling very gladly. Like Amy Carmichael, I made a list in my head of what things would be wanting, if I did indeed go away to live among the natives I had come to love. But this was beside the point. As I cried out unto the Lord and asked Him if He was sure I needed to go. His answer was a positive Yes. There was no mistaking it. He did not allow me to disregard the calling, which I might have done in acknowledgment of my family’s feelings. The one thing that gave me the peace and courage I needed at that difficult time, was to rest quietly in my heavenly Father’s relieving arms.
Finally, the Lord led me to speak to my parents. As I related to them what He had said to me, tears tried to show themselves because I felt they would not consent. My mind, capable of almost everything in regards to doubting, thought of the many times my parents had portrayed unfriendliness to the idea of sending their daughter to a country half way across the world, at such a young age … as every parent would do.
However, they responded kindly, though solemnly. There was nothing to be said against what God had so clearly told me, and now they comforted me and encouraged me to seek Him daily for the outcome of His Will. They reminded me as well, that He would surely open the doors according to His will, and I need not worry of what might happen. As I told my mother that I was so uncertain of the future (how I was going to get there, what part of India I would minister to, etc.), she reminded me of His promise, “My burden is light”.
A week later, I was searching high and low for an organization that would sponsor me, anywhere in India, but particularly in the South where Amy Carmichael had been. More than anything, my heart was set on working at the Dohnavur Fellowship, which she had founded for children in moral and physical danger, in 1901. It seemed rather hopeless, because many people had told me that foreigners were not allowed to work there anymore, due to new and updated governmental laws. Therefore, I searched organizations in case I should not be accepted to go to Dohnavur. Instead of waiting on the Lord and His timing, I did not sit still, and ran ahead of Him and tried to find my own way without any success.
Another week passed, and an extremely bitter headache struck me, forcing me to lie down and do nothing but moan for the pain of it. We discovered, after five of us had been obliged to succumb to the illness, that it was the flu. For those three weeks in bed, I used the opportunity to pray, asking for His forgiveness and searching and meditating on His Word.
When I decided to let go of doing everything on my own, I did not know what was just ahead — and so soon ahead. I knew that He was asking me to wait on Him and be content for however long He chose. I understood that it could be years, perhaps even decades, before I would ever set foot on the sands of India.
It was just a month after I had completely recovered from the flu (needless to say, recovered from my shameful experience), that as my family and I enjoyed our supper one evening, the phone rang. It was my grandmother saying that she would be arriving in the next 20 minutes. We were all surprised, yet very excited, as usual! She had been in the habit of traveling the hour and a half drive to our place every few weeks, for a three-day weekend visit. However, she would let us know if she was planning to come at least a day or two beforehand — not just 20 minutes!
Albeit, we welcomed her joyfully and planned to play our favorite game of Canasta with her that night. It was then that she announced she had come to gladly take care of us children, should our parents want to go somewhere overnight in celebration of their upcoming wedding anniversary. They accepted the gift and decided to try out a nearby Bed and Breakfast for the night.
When they came home the next day, beaming and excited, I wondered inwardly what they could have encountered while away. They told me they had a surprise for me. As you can imagine, I pressed them to tell, but they wouldn’t say, until the whole family sat down to listen. As my grandmother prepared herself a mug of hot coffee, I could hardly think of what the “surprise” could be, and sat eagerly expectant. Daddy began by telling me that they had met an Indian young woman there that night, who was on retreat with five other foreign girls from the Dallas Theological Seminary. Mother was delighted with all the accents, and (knowing it to be growing late) did not take much of their time.
To make a long story short, the Indian girl (Pauline) learned of my desire to become a missionary to her country. She was excited for me, and when my mother asked her if she had heard of Amy Carmichael (most of the Indians that we met never had), she replied that she had attended the school that had been founded on Dohnavur’s premises. Needless to say, my parents couldn’t believe what they were hearing. The young woman standing there in front of them, had come from the very place their daughter had wanted to work at for so long.
My parents told her that I had been informed that the government did not allow foreigners to work there anymore. Pauline matter-of-factly answered them, “Oh, she can go through me.”
My parents related to me, that at that moment they could sense the Holy Spirit’s presence and felt sure that this was God’s perfect will taking its course. I began weeping at once. Flabbergasted at such a piece of news, I knew without a doubt that it was my Lord yet again. Who could doubt it? My Jesus had surprised me yet again, and only one week after I had given everything entirely up to Him. Do we not serve such a wonderful, loving, all-knowing God? If only I had sat quiet and let Him take over, perhaps He would have shown me His will much sooner. He allowed me to stumble, allowed me to learn the hard way, before I could be given His gift for me.
I began corresponding with Pauline via phone, and she encouraged me a lot in the way of waiting, etc. It was soon after that, that she told me of a group of DTS students who were going to Tamil Nadu, South India sometime in June. I so wanted to go, but the thought of prices, etc. disheartened me. However, I asked Daddy if I could go, and when he consented, I stepped out in faith to pray for financial gifts.
Although I knew that being anxious would not help anything, I sent out a “support letter” with my parents’ blessing. We raised well over half of the money necessary, but because time was of an essence, a loan had to be obtained in order for me to go. This was what I absolutely detested, but God in His mercy, allowed me to go despite the financial crisis my family should be left in.
What could this mean? What did I do? Did I die for a great many nations, rise again on the third day, and deserve this life- long dream? Who had placed it there? Who was the only Person worthy of the credit? Did I deserve to be praised and thanked only for what God alone had brought about? After all that He had done, could I steal that wonder from Him? Could I become haughty and show others what a great person He had made out of me? Could I, in my very heart, despise others only because He had not done the same exact thing in their own lives?
I left for India just three months after my parents met Pauline. It was arranged for me to travel with her friend who was also a DTS student, and would be my roommate for the next eight weeks. Although I could not visit the Dohnavur Fellowship during my stay there, I was able to work at an orphanage just two minutes away from where I boarded, with the children I had come to love.
My stay there was a time of in-depth fellowship with the Most High God. I hesitated between two places where I would have loved to work and live for as many more years as God allowed. These two places were the Dohnavur Fellowship and the Father’s House orphanage where I was able to work for six weeks while I was there. Did God still intend me to work at Dohnavur, because He sent Pauline to us? Or, did He now want me to come back here and work with the orphanage children?
Which was it to be? That most famed answer in the whole of my Christian walk, came again: wait. My single years may be slipping away, but my trust remains in Him. It will always remain in Him; though it may lapse sometimes, my heart cries out and I want my confidence to stay in Him alone. Though I do not know yet, where in India He would have me go, I know that He will reveal it to me when He sees fit, in His perfect timing. In the meantime, He has given me the opportunity to attend community college with my sister, in hopes of transferring later on to an online or correspondence Bible College, as He leads my parents and I.
To those of you who are in the “waiting room” and feel as if you’ll never be called, I would like to extend my prayers and encouragement to you. Maybe you have a burning desire to go somewhere or do something, and yet He urges you to keep still and wait. Know that He cares for you a great deal, and it was He Who first placed that desire in your heart. As Hebrews 12:2 says, He is the “Author and Finisher of our faith.”
Sit still and wait patiently, as He asks of you. Occupy yourself by serving others or making things with your hands. God does not want His daughters to sit and sulk when He asks us to wait. Know that He has something so much more for you, something far beyond all of your expectations. As a friend told me, “Expect the unexpected.” That is so true. May our heavenly Father guide you on the straight and narrow. I know He has such a wonderful plan for you ahead, and all He asks, is that you be silent and wait. So as I stood staring at that marvelous orange sunset, I pondered over these things. Did I really, truly merit them?
NOTE from the Author: It has been four years since I wrote the above, and, with the years, my heart has changed. No longer am I determined to spend the remainder of my years as the “independent” woman missionary. No longer do I think that I can handle the world and its devices all on my own.
Two years after my first visit to India, I was able to move to the orphanage and spent three long, lonely months. Lonely, you say? Yes, lonely and miserable. I had dreamed, planned, and dreamed my heart out for the day I would name India my home. Now, when that was truly a reality, I was lonely and homesick for the family I left behind. The Lord began to work in mysterious ways, and I began to seek His face adamantly. He used an unexpected circumstance to bring me on an emergency flight back home, and home is where I have been ever since.
I realize that the Lord will move in everyone’s lives individually and I know that He had me go to India for many different reasons. I would not have refused to obey His command to go just because I knew that women were not usually called to go out on a foreign mission field all alone. He will lead where He will lead. The Lord has since led me to compile my experiences in a book, which will be released in His timing. For those of you interested in receiving news about it, drop me an email and I will be glad to send you updates as they progress. May our dear Lord guide you in ALL that you do! Your sister in Christ,