taking that final leap of faith. moving past the prayer and into the practice. that’s what this trip taught me. this past summer I had the honor of traveling to Kampala, Uganda for a mission trip. I learned a lot about genuinely leaning into hearing the Lord’s voice and paying attention to his whispers while on this trip. on our way to Kampala we had a major set-back with flights and ended up stuck in Amsterdam for three days (yeah, great place for a missions team to great stranded i guess?). anyway- we were frustrated and confused why God would set us back three days when we could be in Uganda sharing His love. The Lord showed up in the most unconventional and amazing way, on board for a KLM Royal Dutch airplane with a lady named Stacy.
here is an excerpt from my journal on July 21, 2017:
“Today was amazing. we finally traveled to Uganda. when we were on the plane Josh was sitting next to a lady named Stacy and she was Ugandan, but was going to school in Cuba to become a doctor. she was traveling with her friend Faith.
I was watching a movie a few rows behind Josh and Stacy and I got knots in my stomach. you know the “ooooh-Jesus-is-about-to-do-something” feeling?? yup. that’s the one. I felt a nudge from the Lord to pray for that random lady next to Josh, so I went to the bathroom and prayed over Stacy. I didn’t even know her name yet. I prayed that the Lord would allow me to talk to her and that He would make a way because I didn’t want to force anything. I walked out of the bathroom after a very long time (long enough for people to think I was probably battling with the airplane food, but nope I was just talking to Jesus). I went and talked to Katie and while we were talking Josh called me over to him and Stacy. I was so absolutely nervous. I was thinking, “oh, Jesus, what are you about to do next? give me the words to communicate with her.” I was just absolutely freaking out on the inside.
I walked over and Josh introduced me. after the introductions she noticed the giving key I had around my neck that said COURAGE. she asked me what it was and why I was wearing it, I told her about giving keys and how you get one with a word you need a reminder of and when you meet someone who needs it more you give it to them. then, Josh said, “So, Ashley, Stacy thinks pain doesn’t allow you to know God. would you mind telling her your story?” I thought, “okay Jesus, I see you. you rock!!!”
I began telling her all about my sickness and how my daily pain doesn’t nearly compare to the joy I have found in the Lord. she was very receptive, but continued to ask questions. I was about to walk away when Josh hit me with one last question, “Ashley- does Jesus love Stacy?” I got down on my knees in the middle of an isle on a plane and looked deep into her dark chocolate eyes. she looked as if she was empty, and nothing but Jesus could revitalize her. I responded, “Stacy. when Jesus was on the cross you were on His mind. on the cross he saw every sin you have ever committed and says you are still worth it. and when Jesus rose from the grave he was rejoicing because he can finally be in relationship with you!” I continued by telling her how I had gone to the bathroom to pray for her even before I knew her name. I asked her, “if God doesn’t love you why would he send me to the bathroom 45 minutes ago to pray over you when I didn’t even know your name?”
I looked at her and could almost tangibly see her heart begin to soften. I sat back down in my seat, but continued praying over her throughout my flight. at the end of the flight we all left the plane and I saw Stacy for one last time. I walked over to her, took off my giving key, and handed it to her. I told her, “I want you to have this key. every time you see it, I want you to think about this plan ride and say a prayer.” I gave her a big hug and she whispered to me, “you are so strong and beautiful.” and that was the last we saw of Stacy.”
this is a reminder to step out today. to let go of the fear and let go of control. when I gave this situation to God he did something astronomically more than I could have ever imagined. who knew praying over someone in an obnoxiously small airplane bathroom could really change someone. don’t ever downplay the nudge you get to take a step of faith, that nudge may just be the difference in life and death for someone.