"I think I’ve made a horrible mistake. I shouldn’t have gotten on this plane. I shouldn’t be here.”
Fewer words could’ve been more discouraging than these, but I couldn’t get them out of my head. I had heard these thoughts replay over and over again for about thirty minutes before I had made myself feel even sicker. I had gotten up to go to the bathroom to cry a few times before but this time the 'fasten seat belt' sign kept me in my chair. My brother, Clay, was sitting next to me and quickly noticed when tears started streaming down my face. He asked what was wrong and without thinking, I made my thoughts audible.
“I am so sick Clay. I should’ve stayed home. I shouldn’t be here. I’ve made a horrible mistake. I can’t stand being on this plane anymore. I just want to go home.”
Tears and sobs escaped my soul in a slightly suppressed manner so I wouldn’t make a scene. It had been a VERY long day, complete with throwing up teenagers, delayed flights, and middle-of-the-airport-floor card games. An emotional breakdown did not need to be added to the chaos of traveling. We sat there for a minute with my head on his shoulder, me sobbing and him probably wondering “what the heck am I going to say to this crazy lady?”
He answered me in a low tone, and it was only then that I could hear he was crying too.
“I don’t know a lot of things. I don’t know WHY you are sick. I don’t know WHY God wants you on this trip. I don’t even know why I’M on this trip. All I know is you ARE supposed to be here. I think I’m on this trip to be here right now for you. You’re going to make it.”
He was right about most of that. The only thing he was wrong about was the hypothesis that he was only on the trip for me. The Lord had more purpose for him than just caring for me. However, in that moment he understood and accepted the fact that sometimes the Lord just sends us for one person, and that’s enough of a reason to go.
Let me take you back to the 24 hours before embarking on this rigorous journey for a moment. We had already spent a long Sunday evening in and out of various medical centers trying to figure out what was wrong. The next morning (Monday) I woke up to my mom saying, “They worked us in this evening. Somebody cancelled last minute. Your imaging is at 6:20pm tonight.” That was cutting it close, but as long as we could get good results by 9:00am Tuesday morning, I could get on the plane. The hours that followed were miserable. I wasn’t strong enough to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, let alone finish any of the last-minute packing that still needed to be done. Thankfully, my mom and brothers helped me finish (Really they just did it for me). I had a packed bag, a scheduled brain scan, and a whole lot of hope. I also had a spinning head, a racing heart, and a numb hand, but I wasn’t about to let any of those things ruin what the Lord had planned for me. He had told me to go to Kazakhstan, so that is what I was going to do even if it killed me.
We were just about to pull out of the imaging center when my mom gasped and said, “Faith, look!” I stared in the direction her finger was gesturing and there was the most beautiful rainbow. It was then that I felt the Holy Spirit speak, calming me with these words, “I promised you would go back someday. Don’t forget, I’m pretty good at keeping promises.”
After we got home, the waiting began. It didn’t take long for my primary care doctor to call and let us know there was nothing that alarmed them on my MRI. It wasn’t until the next morning that we heard about the other imaging of my brain. That one was clear too, so I was mostly okay to fly. We still didn’t know what was wrong with me, but we had scheduled some appointments for after the trip. I was still sick and could hardly get out of bed. I questioned for a long time whether I should go or not (let me be honest, I had a few emotional breakdowns along the way, too). Eventually I stopped crying long enough to listen to the Lord, but His came through my brother Clay’s mouth. “You aren’t going to weigh down the team. We all care about you enough that we will carry you through this trip if you get worse. If everybody else gets too tired, I won’t.” When Clay stopped speaking, I still felt the Holy Spirit talking to me. “I will not let you fall this time. You are weak, but I am strong. I’m going to teach you how to do ministry from a place of rest. It’s time for you to slow down. I know you hate that, but that’s why I had to interfere.”
So, I went. But on that plane from Frankfurt to Almaty, I broke down. I lost sight of what the Lord had said to me and of what he had promised me. My doubts were bigger than my faith, I’m sorry to say. I’m just thankful the Lord didn’t leave me in that place.
Every day was a series of battles, but the Lord always fought for me. I still got crazy tired and sick occasionally, but my team was very patient and very caring. When I would lay down or sit up, my head would spin, but throughout the day I could see clearly.
It wasn’t until the last night of kids’ camp that I realized the Lord could not only sustain me, but he could ACTUALLY be the strength that kept me going. Previously that day I had been bed ridden yet again. Almost everybody at this point had an ailment of some sort. I wasn’t even the only one unable to function. One of our team members suggested that we all get together to pray over the sick before the event that evening. We worshiped and prayed for a long time and we even anointed each other with oil (thank you "aunty" Jam for the peppermint oil contribution to our prayer session). Y’all would not believe the miracle that followed. Each and every one of us, including the bed-ridden, were given new life. Not one of us looked or felt the affects of our sicknesses. Some of us were temporarily healed, and others were permanently healed. We all made it to the event with a skip in our steps. We worshiped and danced and listened to the lesson (it was in Russian, so we just nodded along as if we understood). Now this night already felt like a success, but I hadn’t seen anything yet.
I was about to learn the lesson that my brother had learned before the trip. “If it is all only for the one person, it is worth it.” I stepped out of the event when I noticed a young girl laying on a couch in the next room. I went in and asked the woman who was with her what was wrong, and they said she had passed out. I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless. She was helpless. But my God was not. He had just healed a dozen people. Surely, He could do it again. I sat down with her. I prayed. I sang. I waited. I don’t know how long I was in that room with that girl, but that’s not important. What was important was she was the one I was sent for. And I did everything the Lord needed me to do that day in HIS strength, not my own. The connection I made with that girl will last forever. When she woke up, it was like nothing had ever happened. The Lord was her strength too. She clung to me for the rest of the trip. Thinking about her sweet little voice brings tears to my eyes. She wasn’t the only person I feel I was sent for. The Lord did His work through my body in other ways too, but as we were departing from Almaty, Kazakhstan, I knew that if I endured all that just for God to touch that little girl, it was worth it.
Still so many unanswered questions, but one thing I was sure of, I would never be the same again.
The wheels left the ground and I held my breath…