What are the seeds for an individual’s dreams? How does God speak to individuals? What makes a chef want to be the best in the kitchen or to improve the dishes she makes? What is it that drives teachers forward year after year? What is the impetus behind the businessman who looks with eyes of enterprise as he scans possible business ventures? Where does our fire come from? From where does our zeal arise?
“When I was five years old, my kindergarten class went on a school field trip to visit the homeless under the bridge in my hometown of Houston. Coming back, the first thing I said was, ‘Mom, I’m going to be a missionary. I saw poor people.’ And my mom’s reply was, ‘Honey, we’re poor.’ ‘No mom, these people are poor poor.’”
It wasn’t until I was 22 years old that I went on my first mission trip to Haiti. My next trip would be to Greece only five years later, and it was in Greece that I was finally given the place and people I was meant to minister to full-time:
So many things led up to this moment—too many to count, really—but all were important. Maybe the most impacting moment was when my team and I were still in the States just before heading out to Greece to minister and share about Jesus. My team and I decided to make it a movie night. We watched a movie called Lion about a lost Indian boy and all the events leading up to his adoption. As an adult, he has a quest to find out where he was from. When I watched the movie through, something broke in me and I couldn’t even explain it. For two hours straight I sat in the dark watching that film with tears flowing continuously down my cheeks—I didn’t even bother wiping them. Over and over I kept hearing a voice crying, "That’s my son! That’s my son!" When the movie ended I went and approached God about it all. This was His response:
“Elizabeth, it was you crying those words out. It was a piece of My heart you asked for.”
It’s true, I asked for this. I knew the cost—the pain—but I never realized how much of myself ached for children like the boy in the movie Lion. When a part of my missionary outreach team was sent to work in the refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos, I saw firsthand what my heart saw in the movie: so much pain and anger; the people there were like wounded animals. My heart grieved over that anger, and I was faced with my own. Who is the victim? Who is responsible for this?! Is it the Greeks? Is it the Taliban or ISIS? I realized the only way to win was to love. I wasn’t angry at the refugees, but I realized I can’t be angry at those who have cause these people to flee their country either. My call is to simply love them just as Christ does. But whose need do I attend to? Which one of these many countries are you calling me to, Lord? Again,
“It was spoken so plainly to me. I can’t explain it any simpler than that. I simply knew that I knew.
These Afghani people were all children of God once—they still are—and I will fight every principality and power to bring their childhood and person-hood back into God’s redemption. Every school I’ve been through with Youth With A Mission has brought me closer and closer to that goal. My Discipleship Training School, School of Evangelism, and now my School of the Bible. Soon I will be doing the School of Strategic Missions and, from what God has told me, this will be one of the final pieces in cultivating my heart in understanding my mission before I’m to set out full-time. I won’t stop growing and I won’t stop learning, but this is only phase one. Soon I’ll be entering phase two, and I honestly have no clue what great things God has in store—not until I get there, I guess!
What means and methods can God use to speak to individuals? Mission trips? Certainly! A passion for cooking? Most definitely! What about people who like to serve, or folks who dream of owning their own business? Good grief, yes! Don’t let your personal passions and likes be separated from the Kingdom of God! Move forward into the direction you know you want to move your life, all the while being faithful to listen, seeking it out with the Lord.