I cannot say that going on a month long mission trip to Haiti was an easy decision to make. In the beginning I found myself trying to come up with reasons that I could not go, the price, needing a summer job, giving up my summer vacation, but I spent the next four months praying. God gave me his answer by opening doors for me along the way. I was accepted onto the team, found a summer job that was willing to let me leave for a month, and God provided all the money I needed through the generosity of my family and friends. These were the first of many examples on this trip where I counted the costs of following Jesus and found that not only does Jesus provide, but the reward that follows far outweighs the cost. During the last week before departing for Haiti, I once again saw myself counting the costs. I was thinking about home and everything I was leaving behind for a month. The fires in Wyoming and Colorado were blazing out of control, causing me to worry that I would arrive home to find the states I consider my home to be burnt up. My uncle has been fighting lung cancer for a couple years and had to have one lung removed in February. He was spending a lot of time in the hospital and we had just found out that he had cancer in his other lung as well. This weight was heavy on my heart. I was not even sure if I would be able to have contact with my family for the next month. I prayed and prayed and prayed...and had a couple tearful breakdowns. I finally found comfort in knowing that God was calling me to this service and that all my worries and burdens were in his hands not mine. Still my heart was heavy and these thoughts were still running through my mind the first week and a half in Haiti.
On the 4th of July I was able to call home for the first time since leaving. I had been having such a fun 4th, I assumed that when I talked to my mom I would learn that my family was doing the same. However, as soon as my mom answered I could tell she was crying. My uncle had been in the hospital for the last week on life support and the family was talking about pulling the tube, and the mountain land where my family summers our cows was in the path of a forest fire. The news was heartbreaking. I wanted so badly to be home with my family and to be able to tell my uncle goodbye. That obviously was not an option, so all I could do is pray and give it all to God. As I read my bible, God laid the following verses on my heart. In Luke 9:60-62 Jesus tells a man, " Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." God sent me to be His disciple in Haiti and to proclaim his kingdom, so no matter what circumstances I face, the cost will be great but the reward of serving my Savior will be much greater.
My uncle died three days later but I was able to tell him goodbye over the phone. I am thankful to know that it is not goodbye forever because I know I will see him again in Heaven. As far as I know, the fire did not reach our pasture but was stopped in the canyon just below. My family and the cattle were all safe. Thank you Lord! I still think about my uncle and the family left behind, they are in my thoughts and prayers daily, but I know God's glory will shine through the situation. And through all of this I have learned that becoming a disciple of Jesus is not easy. In Luke 14:33 Jesus says, "Any of you who does not give up everything cannot be my disciple." Although giving all I have to God will be difficult at times, I am willing to follow God wherever he leads me and to continue to proclaim his kingdom.