Samaritan’s Purse- Hurricane Idalia update
At the beginning of the year, I felt the Lord leading me to something, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. When the mission trip to Mexico was announced, I knew that was it. Within weeks after, however, I cowered and let my flesh tell me it was a bad idea and didn’t go through with it. The week that the team left, I felt so much guilt, almost like I was letting God down. That same week, I saw a post on Facebook about Hurricane Idalia and the Samaritan’s Purse ministry planning a trip and I literally, at the last minute, jumped on the opportunity. Though I was absolutely terrified, this time I would not let fear get in the way of submitting to the Lord. After all, as is said in 2 Timothy 1:7, God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind.
On September 20th at 2:45 am, myself and seven others anxiously set out on our mission trip unaware of what was to come. After hours of travel, we finally reached Calvary Baptist Church in Perry, Florida. The first full day we met two wonderful God-fearing women who put their trust in the Lord and He answered. One of those women, in particular, had just been told she would have to pay out of pocket for the removal of massive fallen trees, consuming the backyard her young grandson had once played in. Knowing she couldn’t afford to have the trees removed, nor did she have the right tools or ability to remove them herself, she sought the Lord. Within THIRTY minutes, he answered her cry. She arrived home and saw Samaritan’s Purse volunteers across the street and spoke with them. The very next day, we showed up at her door and removed all the trees and debris at no cost. The joy displayed on her face was only the first affirmation we all needed.
The following day was met with some challenges. We met a woman with a heart of gold but when asked if she knew where she was going after death. She couldn’t provide an answer even though she had told us that she had seen Jesus and He had saved her from death twice. She was overcome with stress, threats, and fear in her own home. Looking back, we now know that the Lord delivered us to her with full intention. In fact, technically, we were not supposed to be there at all! God literally changed our direction and sent us to her. After hours of prayer and many deep conversations, this woman accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior! Now when asked if she knew where she was going after her time on earth was up, she said “YES! I’m going to the AC (Heaven)! Not the heater!” (She was a beautiful Greek woman whose first language was not English). This was yet another reminder that we were all right where we needed to be and by the glory of God, in that one day we gained a sister in the heavenly realm.
To close out our trip, we had the honor of helping a couple more sweet families and saw God continue to work and move in all His children, including us. Though all 8 of us had our own battles going on at home, we all knew that God had His hands on us the entire time and was working on our hearts too. This trip will have a long-lasting effect on many people including myself. It changed me in ways that I cannot put into words. What I can say however, is that I started this trip with 7 (essentially) strangers and ended it by gaining 7 beautiful friends and our memories of laughter, cries, and witnessing miracles together will live forever in my heart.