Friday, July 30, 2010

Show Us Your Life--My Testimony

I grew up as an Army brat and so I did not have the privilege of living in the same town all my life or attending the same church. Oftentimes we went to the church on the military post where we lived--and sometimes the showing of youth was small. I truly cannot remember how we ended up at camp, but we did. We went to Teen Valley Ranch in Plumtree, North Carolina. Yes, I said Plumtree. It is nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina and it is beautiful. And when I was in between fifth and sixth grade, it was the place that showed me I was lost without Christ. I was 11, and I was lost. I felt out of place, like I didn't belong anywhere. Moving every three years can take its toll, but that was not it. That was what I thought it was, but that was not it. I just had this hole in my heart that only my God could fill. And there, at TVR, with my counselor named Billie (she was a girl), I gave my heart over to Christ. I tried to download their video so you can watch but it wouldn't work. Here is the link. I watched it and had a huge smile on my face. I remembered that during our orientation they would tell us every year: "Don't wander off the ranch property. People who live in these hills shoot first and ask questions later." And they had a rope swing that you did not jump off of into water and they had a great saying about it and I can't remember what it was...any help Anonymous?

Anonymous, watch the video---it will bring memories flooding back that you did not even know you had!!!! Like the time I went horseback riding and my horse got bit in the butt by the one behind it and took off running off the path into the woods (where they shoot you first and ask questions later), jumped a creek (which felt like a raging river to my 11 year old self) and then decided to stop in the middle of nowhere to eat some grass. I was blessed enough to not be shot before one of the counselors found me and my wayward horse and brought us back. Good times, I say, good times!

Ok...all that to give you HOW I became a Christian. I know it was a real conversion, because the tug on my heart by the King of kings was strong. But I did not know what to do with that tug. We moved after my 6th grade year of school to Northern Virginia and joined a great youth group. We had some fun times in 7th and 8th grade and once I entered high school, I had the privilege of going on some great mission trips. One of those trips was to Jamaica. Now, this may be what you think of when you think Jamaica.

We did not go to that picture up there. We did, however, on our one day off, go to the one below.
That is Dunn's River Falls that you make a human chain to crawl up...and we did that. And it was awesome! But for the most part we were not looking at this scenery.
We were looking at this:

We were there with Youth for Christ to help Jamaica Youth for Christ by doing things like building a chicken coop for a girl's home or building an addition onto the director's house in order to store supplies that can be passed out to the needy people of Jamaica. This where my faith became real. Not because I was so passionate or so on fire for God, but because I was such a doubter.

Stick with me.

We were building an addition to the house and we had to pour concrete. Only there are no concrete trucks in Jamaica (or if they are there, we couldn't afford them). So we had to mix concrete by hand. Fun. And we had to have the concrete poured by a certain date in order to have the addition done in time before we left. We got to the house and started to mix the concrete and the water was turned off. Jamaica does this sometimes. Certain cities just turn off the water unexpectedly with no word ahead of time and no time frame for how long it will be off. So our wise director gathered us all up and said, "They have turned the water off and we HAVE to mix this concrete. So we are going to hold hands around the hose and pray for the water to come back on."

Seriously? We are going to PRAY over the HOSE?

Well, we all bowed our heads (I was good at looking the part) and someone prayed, and then someone else and then someone else--all the while I was looking around with one eye (the other was closed out of respect :) ) and thinking all of these people were crazy.

Then I got hit in the face with the gush of the water coming from the hose...literally. God not only turned the water back on for our group, but we got pressure we had not seen the whole time we were there and He sprayed me in the face with His power. The water stayed on only long enough for us to mix our concrete, then it was gone again. I am happy to say that I realized then just how BIG my God is and how much He is in the details of my life. And then, I got sick.

I usually got sick on mission trips (strep throat, tonsillitis, stung by a tropical jellyfish and couldn't walk and had some crazy-karate kid-like therapy done on my leg) and so I usually missed out on somethings. This particular trip, we were in 2 different locations. Once I recovered from tonsillitis, I was moved from the girls' home to the director's house during the day. I wanted to stay at the girls' home with my friends but it was outside and they did not want me outside after just having a fever and infection in my throat. I might have done more of this if I had stayed there. Clearly, "Keeper of the Nails" is a very serious job when building a chicken coop!

I went to the director's house, thinking I might get to paint the new addition, but I did not. I had to stack blankets. Really? You brought me from the sick house to stack blankets. Wow...I am important in God's plan aren't I? "The Blanket Stacker" job had me all twisted up inside. I had seen how powerful God was, but I could not see how I fit into His powerful plans when He only saw me as the blanket stacker.

That fall, September 12th, 1988, to be exact, Hurricane Gilbert hit Jamaica. It killed over 40 people, destroyed homes, buildings, churches, and left an already desperate people with nothing. Well, almost nothing. Our chicken coop stood. Our addition to the house and the director's house itself stood. And all those blankets? They were dry. Safe inside the director's house. And they were passed out to people who had lost everything.

Somehow "Blanket Stacker" suddenly seemed so important. And I realized that my powerful God had seen this coming--and He knew how much the people would need the organized stack of blankets. The blankets that HE had asked ME to help Him have ready. God showed me how even the mundane is huge when He asks me to do it. He continues to show me everyday how involved He is in the details and how He can take a sinner like me and use my life for His glory.

Now it's your turn...hop over to Kelly's Korner and post your testimony story!

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  1. Oh wow! I'm visiting from Kelly's Korner, so glad you shared this! What a reminder!

  2. I loved reading this. God shows up in the most crazy toilet cleaners and blanket stackers! He loves you AND somehow HE LOVES ME, too. Great testimony...mines not so pretty and should really be a book not a

  3. Thanks for sharing your testimony. I, too, went on a mission trip (Puerto Rico) and it really opened my eyes at how God moves and loves even across cultures.

    PS...LOVE that your son is a Carolina (the real Carolina *wink*) fan. Go Heels!

  4. I loved reading your testimony! You had me cracking up throughout, especially with the "praying over the hose" story. Isn't it great how God shows us his presence - even in situations we deem silly or unimportant (until of course God shows us his presence and then we realize that maybe the situation isn't so silly or unimportant after all) :)

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. Okay, I don't remember much from TVR besides the rope swing, archery, overnight hikes, and the horses, but I loved the video! When should we send the kids? I always love hearing your testimony and I love that we serve a God who is all in the details. He is amazing that way...preparing us all along for the unexpected that He is in control that!

  6. Paige, that was beautiful. I did laugh at "
    Seriously? We are going to PRAY over the HOSE?"

    But no work is too small. You might be the head, the right arm or the fingernail on the pinky toe, but when you put it all together, you get one body!!!