It was a warm Sunday in July when she asked me, “Would you consider going on the Italy short-term team this November?”
Only the week prior had I listened to this fiery, warm-hearted lady and her husband share to our college group about their time as missionaries, and I had felt that stirring within me to be obedient to the global calling of God’s work once again. Only that very morning in church had we sung, “We go to all the world with kingdom hope unfurled/No other name has power to save, but Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It would seem that God had wasted no time in giving me opportunity to be obedient to his calling.
I wanted to say yes immediately—I mean, it’s Italy we’re talking about! But there were still reservations. I had to think about taking time off from work, which is always stressful when planning for a sub over multiple days. I’d be gone from my family over Thanksgiving. And this wasn’t a sightseeing trip—the team would be hard at work the whole time they were there, and I feared for my body that is so susceptible to fatigue.
Yet as I prayed about it and talked about it with those who give me wise counsel, I came to see that this was God’s timing for me. There are no husband and kids to worry about. I’m settled in my job, and it supports teachers going on missions trips. This particular trip would make use of my giftings. And if God calls me to something, he will provide all the strength and resources I need.
Additionally, I thought of my “Thirty Manifesto”—the things I want to define my life in my thirties.
Number 1 was, “Whatever God wants to do with your life, be ready and eager to surrender to it.”
Number 4 was, “Learn how to become bolder every day in sharing the Gospel—see opportunities to give hope.”
And number 11 was, “Remain curious about the world—travel its edges, uncover its stories, and learn to love its people.”
This trip fell directly in line with those values and goals, and I knew I had to say yes to it.
And so, I did. And now I leave on Thursday with our team to go to Italy for ten days to serve the church and the Lord’s purposes there.
The Lord has generously provided so many of my needs preparing for this trip, not the least of which is peace about all the plans, specifically at school for my absence. As one who likes to be in control of everything and who worries about leaving her “domain” in someone else’s hands, this is a huge step. But I did it once before when I went to Russia for two weeks, and the Lord’s hand was over me then and it continues to be now. He provides all that I need, and I’m learning to trust him with what is out of my control.
Saying yes in obedience and faith is not easy. It is the letting go of control and seeing what God’s mighty hand will do in the process. And while I have no idea what will happen, I have every reason to believe that God will bless our efforts.
I thrill at the thought of having my passport stamped once again. I thrill at touching down in a new country and learning to love new people and places. I thrill at the experiences we’ll get to have. And I thrill at being able to help support the work of a sister church in another country.
I’m so thankful for our church and the people there who have modeled lives of sacrifice and service to the Gospel. I’m thankful for all the people who have supported me in the past and are supporting me now on this trip. I’m thankful for the people I get to serve with on this trip and opportunities to learn more about their stories and how God has used them.
I would love for you to join with me in praying for this team and this trip—that we would be a blessing, that hearts would be open to the truth, and that God would do great things. We are but instruments in his hands—how privileged we are to share in his ministry. All praise be to him.
Photo by Rebe Adelaida on Unsplash.
2 thoughts on “The Call to Go to Italy”
Praying for you and team. Grateful for your faithfulness to our Lord!!
Thank you so much, James!