Two years ago, it was only an idea put on paper while vision planning; the mere seeds that God placed in our heart. Part of that vision was to host a student; to offer an opportunity to experience missions for longer than a week in the summer; a ministry opportunity- discipleship. Perhaps God gave me this dream because I had tasted a similar cross cultural exchange experience in college, but without the purpose or intentionality. I hoped to get it “right” this time. And just as He always does, God offers something better than I could have dreamed up.
He sends His daughter, Mikah.
In my “vision planning”, I assumed this student would arrive 6 months to a year after our arrival, so that we would be settled... familiar with our surroundings, with ample time to develop relationships and ministry opportunities, and create a rhythm in our home before adding to our family.
You know... "have it all together."
God had different plans.
Due to our delayed arrival to Gracias, Mikah arrived just a few weeks after us. Without a doubt, we were still figuring things out ourselves. The people pleaser in me wanted to have everything perfect for our guest; running smoothly and welcome her into a well adjusted family. What I could not have seen or planned was how our family would need this young lady during our time of transition. Right in the middle of finding our way. The chaos of the unknown. Her joy, love of Jesus and eagerness to share, has set a beautiful example for all of us. She has the ability to bring fun and intentionality to everything she does. Her deep relationship with the Lord and quiet discipline to seek Him in all things has provided a steady calmness to our family, when we could have easily become distracted by the emotional strain of moving; missing family; mental exhaustion of learning a new language and all of the other fun adjustments like bug bites and no A/C. We could have focused on these details, but instead we have Mikah, who knows her 5 month stay will go quickly, and she has no intention on missing out on what God has already established for her here. Time is of the essence, so she seizes the moment, ready to serve, lead or listen. She is open. Pliable. Expectant. A life completely devoted to God’s will for her life. Her spiritual maturity adds so many years to her, it is hard to believe she is only 18.
I was reminded of how Mary stayed with Elizabeth while she was expecting to give birth to the Savior. What an encouragement they were to each other. Everything was changing in her life-and all of the emotions she must have been feeling. The Lord gives a special person to understand and encourage. We have the gift of walking with and ministering beside other Christ followers. We need the encouragement to share in each others trials, joys, challenges. To experience the gifts and strengths of each other.
As a mom who is praying for her children to grow in their relationship with the Lord and desire to seek Him with all of their heart, what more could the Lord do to answer that prayer, than to place a young lady who is chasing after Him with all of her heart, right in our home to live out her faith day to day in front of them? A unique and special relationship. She has the ability to influence them in a way I do not. Like Elizabeth, I am asking, “How have I found favor with the Lord, for such a gift?”
Susannah has cherished having an older sister in our home. The Lord knew what that would mean to her specifically in this season. Mikah leading a 6/7th grade bible study in our home, has provided Susannah the opportunity to get to know her classmates in a deeper way. I certainly could not have planned for Mikah to assist in William’s 3rd grade class at Abundante Bilingual school, helping the teacher in a class with 36 students. Will has Mikah, his big sister in his class, and they share stories with us each day about the students and joys and struggles. And, while Carter has made friends on the basketball team, Mikah just knows how to encourage building relationships in a deeper way; getting a group to our house for game night and fun.
I know MANY have been faithful to pray for our adjustment and transition here. Specifically, for the children. We don't always recognize and see His hand while He is working, but this is one really big tangible way that He has answered your prayers and ours! Thank you faithful prayer warriors. I pray that we will have eyes to see the unexpected gifts as our stories play out differently than expected.