You know, there are a couple times in my life where I can honestly say I know what this means. Right now is definitely one of them. I wrote a couple of months ago about the calling God has placed in my family’s life, possibly to relocate to India in a few years. For the first month of this journey, God was moving at alarming rates in many different areas. A friend of mine felt the calling about two weeks before but I knew nothing about her calling. After we found out about each other’s calling we compared notes so to speak to find out God was speaking to us in shockingly similar ways. Our husbands were behaving in much the same way and similar scriptures would come to us through different avenues. It was very obvious that God was doing something HUGE here. Everything was exciting and fairly smooth sailing for the first month, month and a half.
During the evening hours of the day God spoke to me through bible study and prayer, I learned that a couple who lives in India who run an orphanage were going to be in Tennessee the next month (April). They would be addressing our church and sharing about life in an orphanage. At that meeting, our pastor and his wife announced that we would be forming a vision trip to go to India in December to work at this couple’s orphanage and to seek God in where to plan an orphanage in the state of Rajasthan. My husband and I agreed at that time to work toward earing enough money to go on this trip. From that week to the present day we have encountered nothing but hardships. On one hand, it’s easy to get discouraged. On the other hand, it’s incredibly exciting! One of the ways you can tell you are in the Will of God is if there are forces coming against you to get you to stop.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 says it best. I know that if we were walking along the status quo, everything would be peachy. There was no time or financial commitment being made. There was no need to rearrange our schedule or set new priorities. See before we gave a definite, “Yes,” to traveling to India, it was all just talk. There was no action to anything. Once the action started, that’s when things started getting real. Let me break down how my family’s last month or so has been.
April 25-27: Andy and Susan came to share about their orphanage.
Josh and I had communication issues and I thought he was putting his foot down where India was concerned. Relationship conflicts started and lasted for about three days. I was so sick at the thought of not being able to do what I felt God had so clearly called (and confirmed through bible study, sermons, prayer time, etc) me to do that I literally only got a handful of hours of sleep over those three days. By the end of the 27th, we were on the same page and agreed that we would do out best to make it to India with God’s help.
April 28: Josh’s truck breaks down and has to be put in the shop.
Due to the shop rates and parts needed to fix his truck, we were put into financial hardship. Payment arrangements had to be made and we were forced to float money from one account to another. Stress builds. We borrow a family member’s vehicle so he can get to and from work.
May 1: Josh’s truck gets out of the shop only to find out it has different and more significant issues than we started with.
Naturally the vehicle has to go back into the shop. Because of the way the shop schedule, diagnosing the issue, ordering parts, installing them etc. it was going to be sometime the next week before it would be done. During this time, the loaner truck’s alternator goes out and has to be replaced. Add more stress and immediate financial pressure. Loaner vehicle is fixed.
Weekend of May 2: Josh’s boat breaks down.
All Josh has wanted since the fall was for his boat to run so he could take the boys fishing. Now it’s barely running. He calls the shop, it’s going to be $100 to fix it. He withdrawals the money early the next week to pay the boat mechanic and the money gets stolen from his vehicle. He has to withdrawal another $100 to pay the guy because the work’s been done and he is ready to be paid. It’s not like we could just say, “No thanks we don’t want your service anymore…” It’s already done. Truck gets out of the shop on that Monday (May 5th). The shop admits it was their fault as to why the second issue arose and wrote off the shop labor and the parts for the second visit. The first visit amounted to $500 give or take that would be due asap.
May 6th: Josh is on shift, the suspension on my truck goes out.
The day after my husband’s vehicle is fixed and the day after we sent out 60+ support letters to friends, family and churches we had attended in the past, my airbag suspension in my vehicle decides to go out. It was fine all day. The boys and I pulled into Sonic to get a drink to cool us down. All is well. Pull out of the stall after getting said drinks, it feels like we are trying to drive with a bounce house in each of the rear wheel wells. No I didn’t hit a curb on the way in, or a small child. They just….died while we were sitting there. I pulled over two blocks later to take this picture. The rear bumper was lower than my knees. Folks I am only 5 foot 3. That bumper was LOW.
Week of May 9th:
My vehicle goes in for repair. We hadn’t returned the loaner vehicle yet so all of that time in between God was faithful to provide transportation to us at no cost. Yea God! My vehicle is fixed right away but costs close to $500.May
May 12: Josh’s boat dies again.
Josh’s boat dies again, this time it is down for the count. At this point, our money reserve is empty and a lower engine repair isn’t cheap. It will sit until we can either afford the repairs or GOD provides another working motor.
May 25th: Meeting about our upcoming Haiti/Dominican Republic mission trip at church.
We were asked to bring our passports to this meeting so the leader could scan in our passports for Cadasha (the organization we will be working through down there) and to print a copy for the church’s records. We also need to be able register online with Cadasha since we hadn’t done that on our own time at this point. We both brought out laptops. Because my husband is a civil service worker he keeps an overnight backpack in his truck with his glasses, contacts, electric razors, etc. We through his computer and our passports in there and went to the meeting. Everything got turned in, we are good to go! We had also taken the India mission trip money that we had raised into church to turn it in but because we were so busy with Haiti stuff, we forgot to turn it in.
May 26th: Josh wakes up to go to work and discovers someone got into our trucks overnight and stole the backpack.
I get woke up early the next morning to Josh calling me with the news. The police come and file a report. I didn’t touch my vehicle in case they got in there. I couldn’t see from the window that anything had been taken. I walk the neighborhood and find no traces of the computer or any of our belongings. All we really wanted was our passports because at that time we had 18 days until we left for the DR. No luck.
We discover that we were missing mission money and put two and two together to realize it had gotten left in my vehicle Sunday evening when we came in for the night. Remember, we didn’t get it handed in to church that night because we were rushed?? We called the police to add it to the report.
Mau 30: We travel to Atlanta to get replacement passports expedited.
Thankfully the $420 needed to replace the passports was able to be covered by my church’s mission fund. A church member heard about our situation and gave us $200 for travel expenses and our pastor let us borrow one of his vehicles to make the trip. With the luck we had had with our vehicles that month we were worried about taking them on the road.
All in all, God was amazing to provide for that situation. Instead of focusing on the reason for the trip, we decided to treat it as a date to Atlanta and we actually had a really good time. We were given instructions to eat at The Varsity in downtown Atlanta. Turns out it was right up the road from the passport office.
May 31: God provides two yard sales worth of items for us to sell online to help make money for our India mission fund.
When God provides, he provides big! We have joked in the last few days that the $0.50 auction group on facebook has moved into our house. I am thrilled to be able to go to the meet up this week so we can free up some space in our home. We literally got so many donations to sell, it filled our garage, our school room and part of our living room! Yowza!
That brings us to June. We were told at the passport office we could expect to get our passports on June 4th which is a Wednesday. Much to our surprise, they arrived on the 3rd! What a relief! We were going to make it to Haiti! Woot! $225 in donations came in on the 5th of June to help us make our deposit for India (due the day after we get home from our Haiti/DR trip). That’s such a blessing. We have two weeks to raise $1,000 and one of those two weeks we will be out of the country. I have listed a bunch of items for sale on the $0.50 action page on facebook but it won’t be enough to get us to our deposit amount. Only God can do that at this point. I started today making follow up calls with the churches we sent sponsorship letters to. Hopefully while we are gone on our mission trip God will provide in awesome ways. I KNOW we have been called to go on this trip. I know that he will provide. Sometimes the wait and the anxiety I sometimes allow myself to feel in these times is overwhelming. But I know my God is bigger than all of that.
Please continue to pray for us. If you feel lead to give financially to help us make our deposit deadline for the India mission trip, please send your contributions to the following address:
Trinity Baptist Church
C/O Jennifer Neel
1513 McArthur Street
Manchester, TN 37355
BE SURE TO PUT “WARREN FAMILY INDIA MISSION TRIP” IN THE MEMO!
I appreciate my readers and the feedback you provide here, via email, facebook, text and calls. Thank you for holding us up in this crazy time. Pray we keep our eyes fixed on Christ during these trials. Pray for God’s will to be done.