“I longed to make a bold move with my life. Yet I had no clue where to begin. Or how. With each passing day I grew more desperate. Nights were the worst. Awake and crying my way through most of them, I had only one prayer: “God, use me or take me out. Please, I am begging You. I don’t want to live this way. I can’t live this way any longer. I’m desperate to know why I’m here. Use me or take me out.” Although I was blinded to it at first, over time – painstaking time – doors began to open.” ~ Kimberly L. Smith (Author of Passport Through Darkness – such an incredible, incredible, book on missions)
For Kimberly her journey into missions began by a video of boys with no shoes in South Sudan. For me it was a documentary on HIV in Africa. I was so struck by the magnitude of pain and the avalanche of poverty and starvation and diseases on a people. Then before me on this screen was a debate not so much over the suffering though it was evident and not hidden but this documentary was a debate over responsibility – it seemed such a waste. I wanted to scream “WHO CARES!?!” but deep down I felt a burden of responsibility. I wanted to scream who cares who was right or wrong a generation ago?!? But yet generations can no longer speak up and answer for themselves and for their children that will never be now. So I scream – WHO CARES NOW??!! I tried not to finish watching but it was as though I were glued there. WHO CARES I cry as I watch…about those that are hurting and dying…because at the time I knew I had heard about HIV all of my adult life and I hadn’t cared at all until this moment. Sometimes I can’t even fathom how this heart I had could turn away so blindly at one time….but God was giving me a new heart in that moment. Yes, He was! and it was like a knife went into my heart and cut it out. My heart wasn’t pricked – it was cut out and replaced. Two hours later I felt a pain I had never experienced. It was a feeling of fervency and guilt. I was guilty and the blood of my old heart was now mingled with their blood and it was on my hands forever unless I did something. That is the way once you know. I was guilty! No, I didn’t cause their disease but I did just as much damage in the Father’s eyes by living my posh life and not caring at all what others suffer….. and in that moment I heard myself say, “Lord, what can I do? If you can use me Lord – Here am I, Lord. Send ME!!!” and then I heard the Father say, “I AM going to send you to Africa!” When God speaks you never have to question it again, though we do in the waiting.
I told my family that night on the way to Olive Garden what God had said. We were sitting at the intersection of Cox Road and Franklin Blvd. It was a moment that has since defined my life. They looked at me at first disbelieving – after all this was me. Me – someone who at the time had never traveled outside of this country or without my family anywhere. Me -who was too shy to even ask probing question on how to get involved in missions or to even speak to the cashier at the grocery store. Me – who had at the time only been saved a little while. Who did I think I was? At my age should I focus on short term home mission? Home missions are so important and I may do that one day as all missions have a place – but God didn’t say the USA. He didn’t say Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic or Jamaica or even Romania (though that was a breakthrough and special time for me). No God said “Africa!” I wondered and my family wondered what God could ever use me to do over there. It is a valid question that i have often posed myself. It is the question that I was asked when I first began to plan to go to Romania – what can you do? Everyone went around the table giving a list of things and accomplishments. At the time I didn’t have a clue what I could do for the Lord or for this team. I didn’t sing outloud. I didn’t preach or teach children or even pray aloud. I didn’t have any talents or special knowledge that seemed to be of value. No qualifications. No commissionings. No ordinations. No experience. I wasn’t medically trained. What could I do??? It is still a truly valid question.
I have the answer though, I always have since that day. I am called to GO and to CARE!
Me – who didn’t care at all honestly now cares like my life depends on it and I believe it truly does!