Before I told anyone the I was going to Africa I knew I was in for a fight. I was terrified to tell the people that I love most in this world-the people that have known me my whole life. I am beyond thankful for the extraordinary friends and mentors that the Lord has put in my life to give me support in this journey. But I have grieved over the reaction my family had to this profound chapter in my life.
Without a doubt I know that my family loves me. They want me to always be safe and they want what’s best for me. But I also know that they have a hard time seeing outside of what they know. Everyone does.
I anticipated a fight, however, I did not see this battle coming.
On August 1st, I found out I was accepted for this internship with Show Mercy. I was working at Day Camp and waited about two seconds before telling my co-workers and day camp kids this news. I was so excited, I couldn’t contain myself. But even in my excitement, I waited two weeks before telling my mom. I was terrified for how she would respond as I spoke the words. When I finally told her there was crying and yelling and we didn’t speak for about a week after, which is uncommon for us. She was scared for me, and still is. When my dad and grandparents found out, things only got worse.
After seeing all their reactions, I got angry. I got angry that they didn’t understand that this was a true desire of my heart. I was furious that they thought I would go to live in a developing country just to spite them. I didn’t like that they thought I was turning my back on my future teaching career. I found myself wishing they would just be proud of me.
In my short time on earth I have learned how crafty the devil is. I’ve seen it in my own life. He makes soul-sucking things look shiny and good when they’ll actually take you farther from God. I’ve fallen for tricks only to realize in hind sight what was really happening. Satan weaves webs of lies. When describing the devil, Jesus says, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Unfortunately, the devil works in the lives of the people around us to confuse us and set us off track.
Satan is doing everything he can to increase fear in the people that care about me, in order that they see those things more clearly than anything else. The devil is trying so hard to stand in my way. He knows my biggest downfalls, my fear of disappointing my family, and he’s using that to try to keep me from going in the name of love. He is sneaky and crafty and everyday is a war against his temptation to lead us away from our creator.
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s sunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3
This battle started to weigh on me, but after a while it also started to make sense. I have now begun to learn the truth of just how afraid the devil is of our God.
The devil doesn’t want me to go to Africa. The constant fights and roadblocks have made that very clear. The devil is afraid of what I’ll do for GOD while I’m in Uganda. He trembles at the thought of me loving in the name of Jesus, being a light and hope in people’s darkness.
In James 2:19, he writes of the importance of deeds out of our faith in the Lord, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudders.” Even the devil trembles at the name of the Lord.
I know the Christians in my life believe missions are a great thing, but the devil is setting fears in our minds that make us forget the call we have received from Jesus to love others and the promises that God has made to us that he will never leave us.
With Jesus, the devil has no authority in my life. In the book of Luke, Jesus sends out 72 of his followers. He tells them to go into the cities, living off of the support of the people there, staying in their homes, healing their people. He directed them to say “Woe to you!” to the people that did not welcome them. Luke 10 reads “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’ “(verses 17-20)
Today things are improving with my mother’s emotional support of my decision to go to Uganda, and I am ecstatic! I couldn’t be happier that we’re finally talking about it and she is helping me prepare. But while still here in America, the biggest sadness I see, is the hearts of many people I love that are not in a place where they can understand why it is imperative that I go. There are tiny details that cause people to feel concerned and unsupportive, but these things are so small compared to the glory that God will reveal in me while in Uganda. The devil is afraid of the glory of God and he will not win, these desperate African people will be loved in His name.
My heart wrenching battle weighs on me everyday; people are so negative to me and they tell me all the ways I will fail. The devil is real, and I see him trying to squish his way into my life. When I get into arguments with members of my family, when people tell me they are unsupportive all I can do is look to my heavenly Father to be my source of strength:
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered in a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:8-10, ESV
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:10, NIV