i went to hear shane claiborne speak at caritas village one night. i have read his books, and i know he's just a guy, but it is impossible (if you have a soul) to listen to him and not be moved. he tells the most moving stories of LOVE...just pure love. rich loving the poor, good loving the evil, hopeful loving the hopeless, and the amazing things they do for each other when they are filled with GOD'S love. needless to say, i was encouraged, changed even. my experiences in guatemala, haiti, belize, ghana, and inner city memphis had made me restless with everyday life, restless because i knew there was so much more and i was not a part of it. hearing shane in person just pushed me over the edge. i couldn't sleep that night thinking of all the things i was going to do. buy a house in the ghetto and feed homeless people, move to guatemala and work in a clinic in the jungle, join the peace corps, open an orphanage, plant urban gardens... the list goes on.
while my husband (bless his soul) dealt with my multiple personalities, i tried to process my feelings. when i had finally come to the conclusion that for now i was just going to be the best nurse i could be, start tutoring for hopeworks, and keep tutoring for MUM, i got an email.
this was just a group email from the recruiter of avanti italia reminding me that when i was doing my semester in florence, italy during college, i signed my name to a list saying that some day i might be interested in participating. of course if i was single i would have signed up the day i graduated, but i never thought ryan would be willing to do 2 years of mission work outside the country. I WAS WRONG. a few days after i had deleted the email and wiped the impossible thought of avanti italia out of my mind, my husband came to me and said "have you ever heard of avanti italia?"
from that day, we started the long and laborious process of fundraising for 2 years of mission work for 2 people. everyday has been a test of our faith, and it has become stronger because of every day. there have been so many generous people who have come into our lives and made this far off idea so possible. i really can't even begin to explain the feelings of gratefulness that i have for these people who are supporting us in a mission to people none of us have ever met. we are still short a few hundred dollars a month, but i know that God will provide, look at what he's done for us already. i cry every time i think about it.
so that's the deal. we have a church that will manage and distribute our funds while we are there. we just bought our plane tickets last week, and we are now in the extensive process of applying for visas. our last day of work is july 31, then we will move out of our apt, visit family, go to 2 weeks of missionary training, and fly out september 8.
since we began this journey, it's like i have been holding my breath waiting for it all to work out. all my thoughts have been focused on this mission and if it's really what God has planned for us. i almost kept myself from getting excited or talking about it, because i couldn't stand the thought of it not working out and having to tell everyone. now i feel like i can let out the breath that i've been holding for so long, and then i can take one in and let it out... and breathe normally again feeling confident in the fact that THIS is God's plan for us right now. wow, it feels so good to say that, because i finally really know.
so, i think i'm back to blogging, that is. in the future, i'll explain the ins and outs of AVANTI ITALIA and what we will be doing during these 2 years. for now, i'm relieved. relieved that God is in control and not me. and i can't wait to see what else is in the works for us!