Jenilee is a mom and a missionary who does crazy things like running marathons and moving to Africa. You can read all about her adventures at http://ourgoodwinjourney.com/ or check out some snapshots of her life on Instagram.
I was 17 and home from my first youth mission trip to Honduras. On that warm summer day, I sat quietly in my parked car.
I remember that moment so clearly.
It was one of those serious, reflective moments, the kind that cause you to sit still and honestly appraise your life. I looked around at my beautiful little town, my cute little car, my stylish purse tossed on the passenger seat next to me and the many happy people buzzing in and out of stores around me.
Everyone was absorbed in their own lives, completely unaware of the place I’d been, the things I’d seen and the immense need of hundreds of children in the mountains of Honduras who were right at that minute still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Mitch. Their need for housing, for medical care, for education, for basic necessities and most importantly, for people to tell them that God loved them.
I was old enough to know that it wasn’t just the villages I’d visited. There were hundreds and thousands of other children in many other countries around the world who needed those very same things.
I’d had a small glimpse of a great world of suffering. Of deep lostness. Of great hurt and need. Of true hopelessness.
In all honestly, I wanted to put it out of my mind. Who would want to dwell on those kids and families and villages and the huge task of helping them. I didn’t.
I didn’t want to consider the need for people to leave the comfort of their homes and go share the realness of Jesus with those who haven’t yet heard.
I didn’t want God to ask me.
I wanted to go back to being unaware. I wanted to go back to my job and spend my money on a new outfit from my favorite store in my cute little town. And, in my humanness, I wanted to forget and move on. I had senior pictures coming up after all…
“I’m not missions material.” I would tell myself. “I don’t like bugs. Or heat. Or weird food. I’ll say yes to ministry… but not missions. Surely someone else will go.”
I’m sure God smiled, “She doesn’t know how strong she can be with me. She doesn’t know what I can do through her if she is willing. She hasn’t learned that with me she can overcome any obstacle.”
I went on with life. Made a small photo album of my trip. Thanked the congregation for sending me. And closed my missions chapter.
Or so I thought.
Join us next week to hear the rest of Jenilee’s story!