"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Thursday, September 24, 2015

In Lebane, Serbia

Well, it’s been two weeks since my daughter, Joy, launched on The World Race and flew with her fellow team mates to Lebane, Serbia. Yes, she’s officially off  U.S. soil and onto a harder ground.
Her Team in Serbia

A ground where the victims of human trafficking are often set aside and ignored. 

Where the gypsies are considered ‘less than,’ and food is always an issue. 
Where she is no longer under the safe arm of me—her mom—the one who loves her like no other—and     who misses her more than words can express.

For eleven months. 

Yes,  eleven entire months.

Joy will be traveling to one country each month with merely a backpack, a tent and a sleeping bag. Oh yeah, and Jesus.

To countries where civil unrest is commonplace.

To countries I’ve barely even heard of.

To Serbia where she is currently ministering to the youth, gypsies and underprivileged. 

Where’s she’s been doing a little of everything.

Helping with church services, giving her testimony, painting and cleaning.
Shelling walnuts and helping the autistic children who haven’t any hope. 

2nd stop is Albania and then Macedonia. And then from Eastern Europe to Africa where her team of 7 will go to Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and then South Africa. 

And the third and final continental stop is Asia. They will visit Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. 

3 continents

11 countries

11 months

Now, that’s commitment.

She’s been giving hope. Yes, that’s what she’s doing. Offering the hope that only Jesus can offer. 

In order for Joy to follow her heart. Her destiny. She did just as Jesus commanded His disciples.

She dropped everything and is following Him.

She sold her car, her shoes and clothing, and her most valuable of all—her musical instruments. Her cello and acoustic guitars. Her ukulele and her electric guitar. And more.

Craigslist ad for her ukulele
She had a 5k fundraiser.

And a spaghetti dinner fundraiser.

She spoke at churches.

And at events.
The Proclaim FM morning show

She even had a benefit concert.

And she sold T-shirts and had a garage sale.

Because she knew she was born, ‘for such a time as this.’ 

And not going wasn’t an option. 

The World Race took precedence over Graduate School and her full time job to living amongst real and raw community.

Over living a ‘normal’ American life with clothing, a house and an apartment with her sister to living with merely a backpack, tent and a sleeping bag.
Her bedroom for the next 11 months

Over having the next year of holidays shared with her biological family to a year of sharing with 6 virtual strangers who may soon become closer to her biological family ever will.

Over literally eating, sleeping, living and socializing with her best friend, her sister, Bethany, to doing the same—but with 6 strangers.

Over her boyfriend and dog to the homeless and helpless.

Of living within her comfort zone and following the American dream, to living off the streets and realizing God’s ultimate dream for her and her life.

But she is growing. 

Growing more than she ever would or could at home in Ohio. 

Joy has seen a lot because she has been on many short term mission trips. 

Both Domestic and International.

In Jamaica
In tragedy and in good times.

But this is different.

This is an 11 month commitment and then some.

Nearly $17,000 of her own money.

Need I say anything else.

Let’s just let this sink in.

And I can say that I am perfectly content with her decision to go. To follow her heart and take up her cross and carry it across the globe. 

My heart is bursting with pride and joy.

The Launch of 11 n 11

Well, I’ve just returned from a fantastical Launch weekend where the Lord was present and destinies began to be fulfilled. Where my family and I were fed spiritually and physically. Where we bonded with ‘those of like precious faith’ and began new life long friendships. Where the speaker’s words transformed my vision and goals and the racers inspired.  Where I saw my eldest daughter become a woman of courage and my middle daughter following her lead.

And yet, after all of the fabulous videos have been viewed and reviewed; after all the Facebook Friend Requests have been accepted; after our last meal with our racer, and our tearful good-byes, I’m home. Where my van lost it’s alternator belt at 1:00am, on the way home from the airport. Where the dogs peed on the floor while I was away, the refrigerator leaks and the air conditioning does not work.  And most importantly, where my racer is not. Where life continues on in at a very anticlimactic pace. And yet, I am thrilled.

Yes. This is for the parents of racers that are just now beginning their individual Kingdom Journeys. Whose heart(s) seemingly broke as they hugged their racer ‘good bye’ for the last time this past weekend. Whose heart and mind are going to become more and more transformed, as we take our Kingdom Journeys simultaneously with our racers. From New York to Seattle and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Corpus Christi, Texas, we are united.  In Spirit and Truth;  In Companionship and Friendship. 

I came away from Launch with an entirely new perspective on The World Race. I had been extremely happy for my daughter, Joy, to travel on The World Race, but as I left Launch, I was thrilled for her. Without any apprehension or fear whatsoever. Sure, I cried. Most parents did and still do. Will I miss the little girl who just yesterday sat at my table counting cheerios? You bet. The 6 year old who loved to play dress up with her siblings? The 10 year old who owned every domestic animal known to mankind and nursed each and every one of them? The 14 year old who excelled at soccer, track and all things academic. And the now, the college graduate who is tattooed, pierced, wears her heart on her sleeve and loves the Lord?  Oh my goodness! With a resounding, “YES!” And I cry because of it.

But I also know we serve an awesome God. The God of the Journey.  The God of Kingdom Purposes. The God who casts out all fear and whose calmness supersedes any and all anxiety. The God of protection, who loves His Children like no other. The God of the Universe who called Joy to set Graduate School and a full time job aside. To sell her worldly belongings, take up her cross, and follow Him. Who challenged her to physically go and help ‘the least of these,’ and in the course of such, find herself. Who challenges her daily to find Him. To know Him. 

And for that I am excited. Happy.  Joyful and a host of other emotions. I look forward to hearing from Joy as she ministers and grows with her team (Tolmao) and her Squad (Y) and with the Lord.
Pure Love