Instead of writing out a list of goals this past January, I set out to accomplish something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. That was going on a mission trip. I let my family know this was something that would happen, and I began to ask them if they would help me figure out the details. A few weeks passed, and an opportunity appeared to go on a trip with Rice Bowls to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I was truly so excited and felt like this was exactly where I was supposed to go. The only things that were keeping me from this trip were a few months and a little bit of money.
I began to try different ways for fundraising. Through social media and writing out my own support letters, my trip was fully funded within weeks. This truly made me thankful for my church and my community. They chose to give their hard-earned money to help me be able to GO, and I will be forever thankful for that.
As the months passed, I decided I would not take this trip lightly. I began to pray for this trip fervently. I honestly prayed harder for this trip than I have prayed for a lot of things. I was so expectant, and I knew that the Lord was right in the center of this. I was thankful that I had my parents who reminded me that little things – such as what I was going to pack or how long the plane ride would be – didn’t really matter compared to the work that Christ was doing and would continue to do in my heart and the hearts of those in Honduras.
We prepared, we packed, and we were ready to leave. It was time to go. On Friday, May 31, I got a text from Johnny, our trip-leader, saying “Call me ASAP.” I was slightly concerned but also figured it was something to do with our flight that we had to be up for at 3:00 AM. The following morning, I procrastinated. Then Johnny called me, and I answered. He had to deliver the news that our trip had been cancelled due to political unrest in the city we were supposed to be visiting. I was truly devastated. I had never been to this country, let alone the city, and I had never met these people; but my heart was broken for them. Selfishly, my heart was broken for myself. I did not quite understand why MY trip had to be cancelled. I thought that I had checked all the right boxes of preparing with prayer and the Word. Wasn’t that the right thing to do? Now I am very thankful for the cancellation of this trip, because it shifted my perspective and helped me realize that the preparation of my heart would come solely from the Father, not from my own ability.
I was upset for a little while. But, after a piece of cheesecake and some board games with my mom and dad (the best way to get to feeling better), I prayed and gave it back to God. He is really faithful, and our trip got rescheduled within a few weeks. We would try this again on August 30. The funny thing is that God was not done writing this story. He had a bigger plan and a few more things to reveal to my heart before I would be sent.
On March 18, my dad and I were sitting on the couch talking about the difference between being called to go and being called to sit still. He said to me, “It is not safe to GO if God has called you to sit still; but it is definitely not safe to sit still if God has called you to GO.” That day I wrote this thing he had said to me in the notes app on my phone. I did not really have a reason to type it out, except for the fact that I look up to my dad and appreciate his wisdom. He told me that long before the first trip was cancelled, and I wouldn’t think about it much again until right before the rescheduled trip in August.
Eighteen days before I would leave for this trip, my mama took my dad to the emergency room, because he had been sick. We just wanted an answer so he could get back to his regular self. That day we got the answer: my dad was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor called Glioblastoma Multiforme. After hearing that news and grieving with my family, the last thing on my mind was going to Honduras. If anything, I was not going to go anymore, because I selfishly wanted to stay here, to be comfortable, and feel loved right here with my family.
Well, Dad wouldn’t allow that the last too long. The Tuesday after he got diagnosed, he was lying in the hospital bed and said, “Karson, only 17 days until you leave for Honduras!” I remember looking at him like he was absolutely crazy. My eyes filled up with tears, and I was mad. I remember feeling so angry that he thought I was still going to go. I couldn’t go anymore. I couldn’t leave my family to go serve others in a different country during this time. Over the next few days of being in the hospital, he found every opportunity to bring up Honduras and to remind me in the slightest ways that him being sick wasn’t going to be my way out of going. The thing is, I still felt called to go. I just didn’t want to go now. I remember sitting outside the ICU, pulling up the notes app on my phone and seeing where dad told had told me five months earlier that “it definitely wasn’t safe to sit still if God had called me to GO.” I remember being even more angry, because he was right.
I ended up going to Honduras, and my dad has been rocking his recovery. In Honduras, God continued to remind me of how He had been writing this story since January when I decided this would be the year to go. He is so faithful. In Honduras, I met so many sweet kiddos with crazy circumstances, and I got to experience sharing the Gospel with them through love. I played tag with them. I loved on them. I ate really yummy food with them. And through that, I began building relationships with them. I absolutely cannot wait to back.
At Church at The Mill, I have learned a lot; but the core roots are “gathering, growing, giving and GOING.” I am thankful to have a church that has instilled in me from the beginning to “go.” If you are reading this and you are feeling the call to GO, I ask that you would. Our church sends so many groups and partners with so many organizations like Rice Bowls that send people. You have the opportunity all around you. And, friend, I know it is scary. I know there are things here that might seem more important; but if you are feeling the call to go, it is not safe to sit still.