Keep My Eyes Above the Waves

ashley_blog-above-the-waves

It came and it went – 4 weeks in Colorado for missionary training was jam-packed full of language learning, culture learning and lots and lots of life learning. I was blessed to make friends with 29 other adults and 16 kiddos (all under the age of 7 going with their parents) headed to the international mission field. My time out west was a beautiful time of growth and restoration. I had spent 5 long months raising support and needed the time to relax.

While I was in Colorado, Reliant (my missionary sending agency) blessed me with their highly coveted “Hallelujah Call,” releasing me to assignment in San Salvador. I spent much of my free time scouring the internet for the perfectly timed flight with the perfectly placed window seat. Not quite finding what I wanted, I came home without my much sought after one-way flight. As it turns out, God was hiding it from me for a reason.


 

As many of you know, it has been my “big, bold prayer” from the beginning to be able to move to San Salvador by the end of December so that I could join their youth group in Honduras for Infinito, an annual youth conference for Central American youth. But what began as a huge prayer, deceptively turned into a huge goal. Praying for something big means knowing that the only way it can happen is with God’s intervention. Working towards a huge goal means knowing that it’s highly unlikely, but if you work hard enough, you can achieve it. I unknowingly had begun to take over control from God.

Over the past 3 days, I have come to realize that God is going to answer my big, bold prayer in a different way. Even though I have checked off all of the necessary boxes in order to be released to San Salvador, God has more work to do in my spirit and in my heart. After many honest and vulnerable conversations between Reliant, Pastor Victor in San Salvador, Rock City Church, and myself, we have all decided that it is best for everyone if I spend a little more time stateside before moving internationally.


One of the lasting lessons I learned in Colorado is that in life, we will have “Yay Ducks” and we will have “Yuck Ducks.” Yay Ducks are the good things that happen in our lives – things we are joyful about and thankful for. Yuck Ducks are the opposite – things that don’t go as planned, bumps in the road, moments that make it hard to be joyful. Life is full of Yay Ducks and Yuck Ducks. When you have both of them, as we all do, you have a pair of ducks…a pairaducks…a paradox.

{pause for eye roll and forced laughter}

Life is a paradox. I’ve heard it said before that if you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta tolerate the rain. In the midst of my troubles, I must see the joys. Deciding to extend my move date has been one of the fieriest trials God has allowed me to walk. It has taken me more than 48 hours to believe it, but God is in the midst of all this. He has still called me to mission work in San Salvador and He has not left my side. He knows that it is better for me to stay here a little while longer, building my faith muscle, than to go and have to come back because I wasn’t as ready as I could have been.

I will spend the upcoming weeks strengthening that faith muscle by learning to trust God in the midst of the unknown. God created me to be a Type A planner, but as many people know, life doesn’t always go according to plan. God is going to build up my “be still and wait” muscles as I attempt to do just that – be still and wait for His next move.

I will continue to work with Rock City Youth (HUGE Yay Duck!) to prepare myself for work in youth ministry in San Salvador. When asked what I will miss most about home, the answer is without a doubt Rock City Youth. Those kids fill my spirit with life and I believe that any extra time with them is the closest I will get to absolute joy this side of Heaven.


If you’ve ever been to the mission field, you know that one of the most important qualities you can possess as a missionary is flexibility. For better or for worse, things rarely go as planned and it is my job to remain flexible. Changing timelines are a perfectly normal facet of mission work. I have had story after story recounted to me over the past two days of missionaries who thought they were leaving in a month, which turned into 2 weeks, which turned into 7 weeks…they all eventually got to the mission field, but it was only after a season of flexibility.

During this time, I ask for your continued prayerful support. Trusting God is a moment by moment decision that has been made especially difficult in this time of uncertainty. What we can all be certain about is that I am going to San Salvador, we just don’t know when quite yet. I promise to keep everyone updated as things are made clearer.

When I prayed “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,” this isn’t exactly what I expected, but God knows what He’s doing. He’s never failed me and He won’t start now.

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