Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trip Preparations

This has been a very eventful and faith-building week.  Let’s back up a couple weeks.  I’m preparing for my missions trip.  Because I’m preparing here alone, and the other members of my team are scattered all over the U.S., it feels a little more difficult because they are not here preparing alongside me.  There will be 25 of us going into a closed country, and we will be welcomed as an orchestra.  Have flute, will travel.

I’m a people person, and wading through visas, documents and raising funds are not my greatest gifts.  Logistics – ugh!  If the truth be known, I really, really HATE it.  Because of this, a couple weeks ago I was having a pretty hard time.  I didn’t have enough funds, I wasn’t feeling encouraged, I needed a drum set among other things, and didn’t know where THAT would come from!

I have learned a few things in all of my 50 years of life - when you're down, go help somebody else.  So, that's just what we did.  Gathered a few friends, and helped deliver our church's dry goods donations to the Montgomery County Food Bank.  It was a great time.  Fun to be with friends and fun to do physical labor. We packed four cars to the gills, had a lot of fun, and ended up carrying 1,450 pounds of food up there.  What are my problems, anyway, when many, many people have the basic problem of not enough to eat?

Even though it was a dark time, deep in my inner being I knew for a certainty that the Lord would provide somehow.  I have enough experience to KNOW that He always comes through, usually at the last minute to test my faith!  But I was seriously getting concerned with the time pressure of obtaining the drums.

Last Wednesday, about ten days ago, our music minister let me speak to the choir.  I told them frankly that I needed drums.  A friend spoke up and said, “I have drums – you can have them!”  Check!

I told them I needed to take in drum sticks.  Members are giving money to go buy sticks.  Check.

After checking the kit, I found that I still needed cymbals.  Without enough money to even pay for my project, I didn’t know where they were coming from.  That difficult night I got an email from another team member who said he was sending me $400.00 toward cymbals and a stand.  Check!  Thank you, Lord!

Okay, then I had this veritable mountain of drum equipment in my house.  Our orchestra is meeting in Miami, and then we’ll fly out together from there.  I had visions of me plowing through the airports with my own sheet music-laden bags, my flute, two clarinets, a music stand, a second flute, five drums, a drum throne, cymbals, all the hardware and hopefully a toothbrush.  I was envisioning a little parade of me with five porters.  Ever so slightly over that weight limit!  That quickly turned into a pipe dream, thank goodness!

As it turned out, the cheapest way to get them to Miami was to mail them UPS.  So, off they went today.  $229.00 for the whole lot of them.  With the shipping cost that high, I decided not to insure them.  My feelings are that if God wants them there, nothing on earth can stop them from arriving safely!  Now we need to pray that they do indeed get there safely, intact, and on time as our trip is only 2 ½ weeks away.  Check!  Thank you, Lord!  With THAT work behind me, I am beginning to get excited!

I have some Spanish Bibles here sitting on the table, but they’re really big.  I’m going to be very overweight traveling, and I don’t think I’ll be able to carry them.  Hopefully I can get my hands on some small Spanish testaments.  God works in mysterious ways.  I am far from naïve, but I’m pretty sure a number of them will drop out of the sky in the near future for me.

There was also that needling problem of not enough money to pay for my trip.  Our music director mentioned some of my needs Wednesday night at choir and orchestra practice.  Today we got a big check in the mail.  Did I say check?  Check!  Lord, you always come through with just exactly what we need!  My lesson here is to remember to ASK!  When I try to do things in my own strength, I fall flat.  All you want us to do is ask, and depend on you, Father.  Now that people know what's going on, they're praying.  I feel those prayers.  Thank you, thank you!  I am ENCOURAGED!  May I bless others as you continue to bless me!  Amen.

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