A dream just came true! After visiting Egypt, Israel and Jordan in 2014, I knew in my heart that the next study tour I’d be joining should have something to do with the Bible. I was informed by the same tour group that there would be a Paul’s Missionary Journey scheduled sometime after 2015. Since then, I’ve been praying about it. I’ve faithfully set aside whatever I can (on top of tithes and offering, bills, savings and investments) and continued to trust the Lord to provide.
The schedule however has been moved thrice. At first, there weren’t a lot of people interested. The next time it was moved, dollar rates were sky high and then it was moved again due to a coup attempt in Turkey. So I had to wait. During the wait, the Lord allowed me to go through continuous spiritually-maturing circumstances, which sharpened my discernment, made me realize that I needed to pray more and there was so much transformation that my heart still needed to go through. You know, it wasn’t an easy journey but I can say right now that it was worth it. The storm has passed and I am grateful for truly, the Lord never left me. I only took my eyes off Him which is why I sank (I can very well identify with Peter, thank you very much).
When the call for the first deposit had to be made, I looked to the Lord. I looked at my bank account. “Looord,” I said “If this is Your will, I know You will provide.”
And He did but it wasn’t as I expected. If there is anything I’ve been learning about God, it’s that He breaks away from what is normal. He has taught me to trust HIS WAY of doing things not the world’s norm, not how things usually go. In His power and omniscience, He can override JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. He can move hearts, He can make the resources available in an instant and in the many times I worried, I would end up with my mouth gaping open because He’s proven that HE CAN. IF IT IS HIS WILL, HE WILL PROVIDE. I like what Heather Lindsey mentioned in one of her Bible studies, she likened God’s provision to sending her children to camp. She knows sending her children to camp will be good and fun for them. So as a mother, will she just send them there without providing for them? Of course she will prepare clothes, pack for them, make them sandwiches, make sure they eat–she’ll make sure that her kids will have everything they need when they go to camp. And then it made me think “OH RIGHT. And that’s just her being a mom. What more our heavenly Father who sees and knows all things? He knows what we need before we even ask for it. He knows exactly what to supply us with.”
After the finances were taken cared of, there was the issue of the VISA. Compared to Israel, Egypt and Jordan, it was tougher to get visas to Greece and Turkey. Worry filled my head again. Ano ba, Ingrid. Parang hindi ka natuto. I’m thankful that we didn’t need to appear before the Turkish Embassy but there were a ton of requirements we needed to submit. Applying for the Schengen visa tested my faith (and patience) because 1) they were very strict with requirements and papers 2) if you’re SINGLE and of working age–there’s a tendency for them to keep an eye on you. During my embassy interview, I was nervous. The consul asked me a lot of questions mainly about the papers I submitted, what I do, does my boss know I’ll be away, who will I be traveling with, how long have I known them, what are the names of the husbands of my companions, etc etc.
One thing I’ve consistently known about God is that He really does lead us STEP BY STEP. It’s not a one time, big time showcase when He answers our prayers. Our faith is a journey, isn’t it? Our maturity doesn’t just happen overnight. The Lord knows exactly where to meet us and He knows how to take us through each step as He grows and perfects our faith.
Hay Lord, what can I say? Now that I am back in the Philippines from my enlightening and highly educational trip, I now laugh at the moments when I worried myself sick. It makes me want to poke myself “Ingrid, Ingrid, Ingrid… oh you of little faith.“