Before I post anymore on Thailand, I want to share this with you all.
Yes, you read it right: I’m not going to China (at least not for now).
Where do I begin to explain? Let’s rewind to Christmas.
I spent this Christmas alone which gave me a lot of time to reflect and reevaluate my decision in going to China. By that time I still only had 5% of $27k raised (I’d been fundraising since September); I try to have big faith so I figured that the Father was just setting up for a miracle, but then I thought, What if this is the miracle? What if my lack of funds was the Father divinely closing the door to China?
Rewind further to the first time I said, “yes!”
Honestly, I felt encouraged by a person instead of encouraged by the Father to commit to China. I’m not trying to cast blame on anyone, I know the organization is passionate about sending individuals, but perhaps all of the enthusiasm led me to a decision without truly asking the Father first.
But I was also led by my memories, and the strong emotions attached to them. My experience in China two summers ago was one of the best times of my life. The Father did so many amazing miracles in my students lives, my team’s life, and my life. I developed a love for my students that is still alive and well today; I think about them often, and offer requests up for them when I do. So when asked time and time again by my organization, “Are you sure you want to go?” the answer was always a resounding yes! I think the folly in this question was how it was formed, if it’s ever a question of me wanting to go back to China, the answer will always be yes.
I think a better question would’ve been, “Do you feel that you should go to China in this season?”
The answer: maybe, but this is not how I’ve seen the Father operate in my life. Whenever He calls me to a place I KNOW, even when doubt creeps in, there is this unrelenting KNOW within me. I didn’t have that for China, not like I have it for Thailand.
There were so many other red flags during the process, such as my lack of excitement. I know we can’t always depend on emotions to be our compass, but 85% of the time that’s how He chooses to speak to me. I remember opening my acceptance packet and feeling…nothing. I faked my excitement, I thought that maybe I was just tired.
Even phone calls with the organization felt lifeless; I dreaded the phone conferences because I knew I’d have to explain why I was doing so poorly in fundraising, or why I hadn’t turned in certain documents yet. It’s not that the organization is bad, please don’t misunderstand me, they are an amazing group of believers, but for some reason (which I know now) I was drained by all the phone calls and Skype meetings.
Another red flag was my lack of drive. I had so many documents that I continued to push to the side, and mini goals that I was supposed to reach each week that I didn’t make time for. I thought things weren’t getting done because of my busy schedule (I’m a senior and I was taking 21 credits, while being active in 2 clubs, and teaching two days out of the week), but even with the heavy school load I was still getting things done for Thailand. Especially when I was at home I saw the vast difference between my drive towards China and Thailand.
For Thailand I flew all the way to D.C., walked in the cold rain, got stuck at the airport for four hours to attain some documents for departure. After all of that I was denied, but that didn’t stop me. Then, I took the train to downtown ATL (3o min. ride) to inquire about further information I would need to supply to receive the needed documents. When I found out that I had to bring it all in that very same day I took the train all the way back home, took necessary photos, printed material at the library, went to the bank (only to get turned down, but I decided to try again anyway), and took the train back to the office downtown in record time. Oh, and it was freezing cold. They’re many other stories as to all I was willing to sacrifice for Thailand, much of which I didn’t do for China.
At one point I was put in the place to make a decision between the two; my organization was concerned about me doing both, so my coach talked to his boss about the situation. While I awaited near my phone for days to hear the final verdict I had already made up in my mind that if the organization said that I couldn’t do both I would’ve picked Thailand over China.
This is when I should’ve known, right? I know, but by this time I already felt too deeply invested to change my mind.
Besides the memories of my time in China, my supporters were also what kept me going. I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want to let my friends down who had been pr@ying for me. I thought it kind of embarrassing to not follow through after all of the heartfelt posts about China, but I’ve come to realize that my decision to not go does not invalidate my heart for China and its people. I pr@y that the Greatest Joy WILL be revealed in China, whether I’m there or not.
I saw the red flags everywhere, I’m just sorry that I didn’t listen to them earlier. I’m so thankful that the Father kept me from raising too much. Those who gave, unfortunately, were not able to be refunded; however, that organization is doing amazing things for the Kingdom and I know it’s going to good use (it’s also tax deductible). Thankfully the highest amount given was $40, and I only had about five people give. I’ve already directly shared the news with each one of them.
I assure you, I’m not sad or upset. Actually, after making the decision to not go I felt relieved! Getting prepared to go to China felt like a burden (which is also when I should’ve known). I’m so happy that while I’m in Thailand I can be fully present, not worried about fundraising, phone interviews, or letting people down. I can enjoy the joy it is to KNOW and BE.
Also, and I must be honest, when I first made a decision to go back to China it was after watching one of the organization’s videos. The video shared teachers giving heartfelt testimonies, much of which touched me, but it wasn’t the tear-jerking stories that convinced me to go. At the end of the video there was one clip of the organization’s end-of-the-year, celebration conference. I saw it and something lit up inside me, I knew I wanted to be there. Can you guess where it was?