We Will Follow….Wherever YOU Lead

If you had asked me last year if I could write a blog like I’m getting ready to write – I would have thought you were crazy. Personally – I still think you are! LOL! Maybe I am too!

Since the quake happened – God has really been stirring in our home. Having spent that first week not knowing if Jose was really okay or not – seeing how quickly everything can change – we learned what really matters in this world.

So Jose and I began to pray for God to really use us. I mean to REALLY USE US! We thought that prayer was answered when we met the little boy in the red shirt – Juvenson. We have felt His presence with us every step of the way. Having spent time in the tent city – we have rekindled the passion we have for the people here. Yes – it was probably one of the most frustrating times trying to feed them – but the fellowship we had with them was priceless. Telling them about Jesus and how much He loves them – it made us feel ALIVE. I haven’t felt that alive in a long time – probably because I’m always pregnant! LOL!

ANYWAYS – We believed our prayers had been answered. So when Jesus started “calling” us about a new project back in January – we were totally shocked. The following calls happened from January-March (if you will).

Call 1

This Is Jesus. I’d like to talk to you about some mission work….

I’m sorry God. I think you dialed the wrong number. You dialed 011 and I think you meant to dial 001. That’s the country code for the USA. We are ALREADY missionaries. Please hang up and dial again.

Call 2

This is Jesus. I’d like to talk to you about moving your family to….

Sorry to interrupt God but I believe your prayer-wires have been crossed. This is the Castillo Family from St. Louis du Nord. I did not subscribe to a prayer about moving. You might try The Bay. That’s where the Indiana-Jones Missionaries live. Please put me on your “Do Not Call List”.

Call 3

Is this Jody?

Sorry. Me no speak English.

Call 4

This is Jesus.

Seriously? Fine…. LA LA LA LA LA.  I can’t hear you!

Call 5

This is Jesus. I’m trying to reach the Castillo family. I got a text about them wanting to be used. I really need to talk to someone.

I’m sorry. You’ve reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

*******

Is that not how it really is? Do we not begin to pray for something and then when God starts to talk to us about it – we stick our fingers in our ears!

Jose and I prayed to be used and He began to answer us. The problem was – we didn’t like His answer at first. In fact – once we heard it we quit praying about it! LOL! Isn’t that how it always works? We thought perhaps if we ignored it then it would go away!

Like a mosquito bite on your arm – God gave us an itch that would NOT go away. We had asked Him to lead us and He wouldn’t let us forget it. I mean I changed numbers. I got a new sim card. I refused to pick up the phone. BUT HE KEPT CALLING. Where is the whale that swallowed Jonah? Does he have room for a family of 9?

Seriously Lord – stop. Stop calling me. I cannot do what you are asking me to do. I can’t. This life is all I’ve ever known. Please – call someone else.

Jose and I have been married 9 years and have spent our marriage right here in St. Louis du Nord. This is also where I spent all my time growing up as a child. I was a 5 year-old playing with the kids in the nutritional program. I know the people here like I know my own personal family. That’s what the people in this area are to me – they’re family. Every time an illness/pregnancy takes me to the states I fight to get back to them.

So – when God revealed to Jose and I that He wants us to move – we were not hearing it! We are comfortable right where we are. We are established right where we are. We are home – right where we are.

*****

God just wanted us to hear Him out. So we quit fighting and really started to listen. We began to study God’s Word – and week after week we began to have peace. These are just a few scriptures that God used to speak to us:

Numbers 10:11

We studied the part where the Israelites were approaching the promise land. Moses sends out the leaders to spy but the spies come back with discouraging reports. So the Israelites made up their minds and began to complain. As punishment for their lack of faith, God condemned them to wander in the desert for 40 years.

Here is what my Study Bible says about this story: Those who travel, move, or face new challenges know what it is to be uprooted. Life is full of changes and few things remain stable. The Israelites were constantly moving through the desert. They were able to handle the change only because God’s presence in the tabernacle was always with them. The portable tabernacle signified God and his people moving TOGETHER. For us – stability does not mean lack of change – BUT MOVING WITH GOD in every circumstance.

Do I think that God is going to punish my family if we don’t follow him by having us wander around Haiti for 40 years? No. But does he have a work for us that we are missing because we’re too scared to follow? Maybe. Will we not be traveling with His Holy Spirit – together? Yes.

Matthew 8:19

This is when Jesus teaches about the cost of following him. Verse 19 – Then a teacher of the law came to him and said – Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus Replied: Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the SON OF MAN has no place to lay his head.

What my study Bible says: Following Jesus is not always easy or comfortable. Often it means great cost and sacrifice, with no earthly rewards or security. Jesus didn’t have a place to call home. But while the cost of following Christ is high, the value of being USED BY HIM is even higher.

Matthew 9:9

This is where Jesus eats with the sinners at Matthew’s house. He sees a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth – “Follow me,” he told him. Then Matthew got up and followed him.

What my study Bible Says: When Jesus called Matthew to be one of his disciples  – Matthew got up and followed – leaving a lucrative career. When God calls you to follow or obey him – do you do it with as much abandon as Matthew? Sometimes the decision to follow Christ requires difficult or painful choices. Like Matthew – we must decide to leave those things that would keep us from following where God calls.

Do I believe that God has truly called us to minister in another area? Yes. Does it mean I have to make some painful choices? Yes. Does it mean I leave my established and comfortable home? (Yeah…..it kinda does).

Luke 9:23

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

What my study Bible says: Consider this: do you think of your relationship with God primarily in terms of what’s in it for you (which is considerable) or in terms of what you can do for him? Are you willing to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow him? Anything less is not discipleship; it’s merely superficial lip service. If this present life is most important to you, you will do everything you can to protect it. If following Jesus is most important – you will find yourself in unsafe, unhealthy and uncomfortable places. Nothing material can compensate for the loss of eternal life. Spend your life serving God and His people.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a man’s heart – but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

My plans were to live in St. Louis du Nord until I was old enough to join the granmoun home. I could wake up in St. Louis every day for the next 30 years and be content right where I am.

Psalms 139:7

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there. If I make my bed in the depths you are there. If I rise on the wings of dawn – if I settle on the far side of the sea – EVEN THERE – your hand will guide me. Your right hand will hold me fast.

God is omnipresent – he is everywhere. Because this is so – you can never be lost to his spirit. The good news is to those who know and love God  – because no matter WHAT WE DO OR WHERE WE GO – we can never be far from God’s comforting presence.

**************

I have to tell you this – be careful what you pray for – and be ready for the answer when it’s revealed.

God has been stirring our hearts like a big bowl of  boullion soup. We can no longer simmer on the sidelines. So about 3 weeks ago we approached Janeil and shared what God was telling us. God has asked us to follow Him…..all the way to Mole St. Nicolas.

I can’t explain it except to say that it’s totally out of our hands. We placed it in His hands and we refuse to pick it back up. I would love to layout this beautiful time-line of when I think everything will take place but the truth is – God’s agenda and mine have NEVER matched.  It could be as early as July – should God line it up that way. While I’m unsure about the timing – the outcome remains the same. Jose and I will move our family to Mole St. Nicolas to start a new campus plant. Beth Lockwood – our home schoolteacher – has been praying about where God might be leading her. When she learned how she could help mold the hearts of hundreds of children… it was hard to say no!

The mole is about 5 hours from St. Louis du Nord. It is on the far tip of the northwest zone. Much like the St. Louis campus – there will be a clinic, school, church, granmoun home, an orphanage for 300 children (many displaced from the quake), and a group center.

Because I am a nurse, Jose is the jack-of-all-trades, we speak Creole fluently, and we have spent most of our lives learning the Haitian culture – we should really thrive in this setting. With Beth’s love for scripture, teaching, and little children – she will be a natural fit!

Here is the amazing thing about following where Christ leads –  after you give up the initial shock – and let go and really listen  – He whispers peace into your heart. God has given us a peace that truly passes ALL our understanding. What once was fear has now turned into excitement. In fact -we haven’t been this excited in a very long time. We know that starting a new campus won’t be rainbows and sunshine – but we are ready to fight on His behalf. We are SO ready to be the face of Jesus…even if it’s on the furthest tip of the island!

Please pray for us as we begin this new adventure. We are leaving the comforts of our home and starting from scratch – with 7 kids! We actually have nothing in place there yet – no place to stay/electricity/water, etc.  But God told us to go. And FINALLY – we are listening! There is a lot to do and many people (family) to say good-bye to. We will still be ministering in the tent city. I will still be booking all the plane tickets/travel arrangements for the Americans coming into Haiti. BUT –  a new Haitian ministry now awaits us. AND….we couldn’t be more ready to follow!

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