Guest Post | The Narrow Road

Hey A Step in the Journey readers!  I’m Kimberlie from The Narrow Road  (however I admittedly am a much less frequent blogger than my friend Laura Beth).  I have known LB for over 4 years now and am lucky enough to call her a friend.  I’m an avid reader of her blog, with this oldie being a personal favorite, probably because it was also a present for my sister’s baby shower (you can now order them at her etsy shop!)  As soon as I saw she wanted someone to guest blog while she was in Africa, I was delighted to be included.  I started my blog when I began graduate school for professional counseling merely as a means to express what I was going through (Like this), and have begun using it as a way to chronicle my mission adventures and the like.  I’m thrilled to share my personal experience with missions while LB and III are in Africa on their mission trip!
I have a deep love and longing for Africa, which is shared by everyone I know who has been there or lives there.  It is a place unlike any other and has an air about it that is almost indescribable.  I am so excited for LB and III’s time there, and I’m sure they are going to be changed by their time in Uganda.  Let me back track a little though.  I had never been out of the country until I was 16 years old, and in the 10 years since then I am beyond blessed to have been to some really amazing places (Israel, TanzaniaKolkata). It is easy to say that I have the travel itch now, but more than that I have a desire to see the world the Lord created and an even stronger desire to go and use the skills I’ve acquired in whatever way possible for the underserved.    
I used to have the assumption about mission trips that if you were not able to build a house or wanted to do vacation bible school with kids then mission trips were not for you.  Well I will be the first to say I was wrong about that.  I don’t have the skills to build a house, or the strong desire to do vacation bible school with kids, but I have been used in some incredible ways on mission trips that I was not expecting, and it has generally been the case that I am most affected by the unexpected in those trips.  
I would venture to say a lot of people have some legitimate excuses for not going or wanting to go on mission trips, because I have likely used them as well.  However, reasons like money, time, and skill set     are often obstacles that can be overcome.  Of course seeking counsel and confirmation from the Lord on these matters is a priority and of utmost importance in my opinion.  I know for myself though, these reasons can often serve as a means of limiting what the Lord could be doing in my life through a potential trip.  I have a new perspective on approaching these types of opportunities and I try to never hinder what the Lord can do in terms of funding, vacation time, and abilities.  That being said, if none of those things come together, it could be that a specific trip is not for you, and that has been the case for me as well.  Every trip is not for every person.  It is important to ask questions, determine the goal of the trip, who you will be serving, and what impact going or not going could have.  This kind of awareness and openness to possibilities are key elements in my opinion.
I would like to share a story from my most recent trip to Kolkata.  A little back story is that during my last year of graduate school I interned at a place called Wellspring Living and did counseling with girls who had been sexually exploited or abused.  This was also the reason for going to India, to work with girls who have been victims of this as well.  Prior to my leaving, I discussed with the girls at Wellspring about my trip to India and what I would be doing while I was there.  At the girls request, they decided to make things for the girls at the home I would be visiting in Kolkata.  This, in itself, was touching because these girls can often have a one track mind about their own situation or road to recovery, as well as being typical teenage girls at times.  I was so proud of their maturity and concern for girls half way across the world who had been through similar things.  The aftercare home we went to was similar to Wellspring, in that the girls receive schooling, counseling, and overall care in the home after they have been rescued. I was able to give the girls the items that had been made for them, in addition to being able to read a card aloud to them about how even though they didn’t know each other, the girls understood the pain, were going through the same thing, and there was hope.  A few of the girls were crying and it was such an amazing experience.  The girls were so appreciative and told me to tell the girls in Atlanta that they loved them and wanted to keep in touch.  It was a privilege for me to be able to connect the issue both domestically and internationally as it links my passions for the cause as well.  They asked me questions about Wellspring and it was nice to be able to share some of my knowledge with them about what I do and why I love it.  The girls at the home had been working on a quilt all day and before we left they told us they would like us to take it back home and give it to the girls at Wellspring as a thank you.  Even without my involvement, this story solidifies the importance of missions for me and the reality that we are all human and desiring of being known and understood. 

With fellow IJM people

The quilt the girls made

I tell that story not to emphasize my part in any of it, but to demonstrate the impact that can be had on both parties and how just one person can be used to glorify God by being open and willing to the opportunity.  I truly believe being mission minded is something expected for those of us who call ourselves disciples; in addition to it being a proven benefit to emotional health for all others.  While it is not possible for everyone to leave the country and go to foreign places, there are so many ways to be involved.  You can also play a crucial, but usually unspoken part in mission trips through prayer or giving funds.  Moreover, it can be as easy as paying for someone behind you in line, volunteering your time, giving of resources or items to worthwhile causes.  God created everyone differently, whether that is being a steward of a large amount of money, having the skills to build a house, the ability of public speaking, or the gift of intercessory prayer.  The greatest challenge, in my opinion, is often not a lack of awareness of skills possessed, but more so a spirit of fear around what might be required of us.     
I am currently in the midst of decisions and interviewing for a year long placement abroad with an organization close to my heart, International Justice Mission.  Because of the season of life I find myself in, I definitely have some very recent first hand experiences with aspects of not being as open to possibilities and opportunities as I would like.  That is a work in progress though.  So if you Step in the Journey readers want to follow along as I chronicle the possible adventures, you can stop by my blog any time!
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It’s a true honor to call Kimberlie a friend. She is a great encouragement to me, & I am so glad she is a part of my life. I love her passion for Jesus & her willingness to follow wherever He leads her! Thanks for sharing friend.

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