Does the Bible ever become so real to you that you can actually feel yourself in one of the stories? Recently, I’ve been feeling as if I’m one of the disciples who went fishing all night long and didn’t catch a thing. I can feel their weariness, their disappointment, and their desire to keep trying just in case they might catch something.
For the past few months, I’ve been wondering when I would have some tangible fruit to show for my labor. I’ve been making plans to start a children’s home here in Atlanta, and like the disciples, I’ve been coming up with nothing in my net – no home and no kids.
So I decided to stop striving to make something happen, and see what the Lord would do. So I began fasting from some things and praying during the lent season, and I was ready for the Lord to do anything.
One day after I began my fast, I was babysitting for a good friend of mine who has 6 kids. As we were talking about children’s homes and all of my dreams, she said,
“Maribeth, if you start raising kids here in the States, you’re going to get stuck here. And you don’t need to get stuck here. Your heart is so rare that you need to be with the worst of the worst. The kids here have a foster care system and an education system helping them out. There are kids in the world who don’t have anything. That’s where you need to be.”
She’s right. I’ve never wanted to get stuck here. In fact, I’ve known for quite some time that I was called to the nations. I’ve just gotten really comfortable doing ministry here in Atlanta with kids who I already know that are dealing with the same junk (sexual abuse, neglect, violence, etc.) as any other kid around the world.
In that moment, as I was talking to my friend, I felt as if Jesus had shown up on the scene, telling me to cast my net on the other side (of the world).
This came as no surprise to me, seeing as how the entire time I was praying about starting a children’s home here, I was also asking the Lord about the nations – Sierra Leone, in particular, which is on the west coast of Africa.
Last May, I went on a trip to Sierra Leone with a group led by my “papa” in the faith, who has a ministry called Lifegate International (www.lifegateinternational.com). When I came back, I knew that I knew that I was supposed to move there and work with the kids in one of the villages named Brigette.
I had thought that I would get a home started here, pass it off to the right people, and then go to Sierra Leone when the time was right. But apparently the time is right already. When I heard that they are building an orphanage in Brigette, I had a “duh” moment, where I felt confirmation about moving there.
So I’m taking a short vision trip next month to Sierra Leone to get a few things in order before moving there. I plan to leave on May 17, and scout it out for the next three weeks, so that I will be able to share with friends and family, and anyone who may want to support me about what life would look like for me there.
I’ve been saving up a few donations that people have randomly given me here and there, and so I am starting off my Africa scouting adventure with $800. That means I only need $2000 more to make this initial trip happen. Let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to be a part of this financially – I plan to buy my plane ticket in one week (April 23).
So here I am, casting my net on the other side of the boat, so eager to see what kind of catch I’ll get. Praise the Lord, who establishes my steps, lights my path, and makes it straight.