Earlier this week you read about our coworker and friend Savanna who is on her first trip with With Open Eyes. Today, we’re so happy to have our friend and faithful ministry partner, Wendy. She shares about what she’s looking forward to this week and how she became connected with WOE.
Wendy, we’re so glad you could join us in Uganda! What motivated you to go on this trip?
My grandparents were/are missionaries, and my father has participated in many mission trips all over the world. As a little girl, I remember my dad’s first mission trip to Haiti with my grandparents. In my little eyes, he was gone forever, and I didn’t understand, but the missionary seed was planted.
My grandparents are missionaries, and my father has participated in many mission trips all over the world. As a little girl, I remember my dad’s first mission trip to Haiti with my grandparents. In my little eyes, he was gone forever, and I didn’t understand, but the mission seed was planted.
When he returned, I was in awe of all the stories and photos from his trip. Years later my grandparents decided to leave the comforts of Jekyll Island, GA and spend most of their time in Honduras. They traveled to different parts of Honduras but were mostly stationed in Rus, Rus for the early years and then ended up spending the later part of my granddaddy’s years on Roatan Island just off the coast of Honduras.
My grandma still spends as much time as possible in Roatan. When I was 15, I had the opportunity to visit them for the first time. My parents put me on a plane and sent me on my way. My life changed forever as a teen. I remember their precious faces and the love of one another and Jesus. It was an amazing experience, being able to spend time with my grandparents in the middle of the jungle doing mission work. I arrived as a spoiled, ungrateful teenager and left with only the clothes on my back and very humbled. I was able to visit my grandparents at other times growing up, and it just seemed reasonable to me, in my blood if you will.
My father has also traveled all over the world doing mission work in Africa, Haiti, Honduras, and the Philippines to name a few. So, I guess you could say that because of my lineage, it just seemed right, the right time for me, in my life to step out and do what I know He was preparing me to do all these years. I’m at a point in my life where my children are self-sufficient, so it’s much easier on the family when mom leaves. I finally feel that I’m in a place where I can leave my family behind. I didn’t feel I could do that when they were little.
Also, I was supposed to go to Kenya with WOE in 2014 and a few weeks before we left some unforeseen circumstances arose and I had to pull out last minute. It crushed me; I was so ready to go. I met with Jan, and we talked and prayed, and it was best that I pull out.
It just wasn’t good timing to fly that far away from home with everything that had happened. I can remember sitting in the meetings and Jan telling us we would need to share our testimony; I sat there completely panicked inside. I felt like I didn’t have a testimony. I grew up safe, with good Christian parents who are still together and still healthy I didn’t experience any childhood trauma. My life was good; I was married, had two kids who were healthy. It was a picture I thought was perfect! I had never had one storm in my life! It also didn’t help that I was I was completely terrified to speak.
Fast forward to 2016 and so much has happened. I now have a testimony. I’ve walked through some storms the past two years, and God has changed me, grown me and provided for me. He has given me treasures in the midst of chaos, and I’m not as terrified to speak!
I’m looking forward to embracing the entire experience. I’m going in nervous; I was a teen last time I did mission work. Now I’m 40 with a husband and two children. I’m nervous about how my body will react to the food/time change etc. It’s easy to adjust as a child, not so much now.
I’m looking forward to loving on the kids and playing games and seeing what WOE is doing in Africa. I’m looking forward to humbling myself in unknown territory and terrain and breaking out of my comfort zone. I feel very unequipped for the task before me. I’m looking forward to the whole experience, getting to know my teammates on a deep, intimate level (we are going to be stuck together for seven days straight)!
What an incredible story, Wendy! It is amazing what the Lord will walk us through as He seeks to use us for His kingdom. What do you hope God will teach you in Uganda?
I don’t have any hopes going into what God will show me. I’ve prayed to be His vessel and for Him to use me as He sees fit. I know that what He will show me from this mission trip is more that I could ever think or imagine. I’m trying to stay open and flexible, so I don’t miss anything along the way. He is already teaching me that He is indeed in ALL the details. I could share some little nuggets of how He has already provided!
One last question: Is there any Scripture that you’re thinking about or studying in preparation for your trip?
Our Bible study for the journey was the book of Philippians. So I’ve been studying and meditating on the entire book of Philippians, and it has been so deep and real.
As our trip winds down, we hope you’ll come back next week to hear from Savanna and Wendy regarding what happened on the trip, what their experiences were and what Jesus did with our team. We can’t wait to hear their stories!