Sunday morning of Valentine’s day weekend 2015, my beautiful mother (my favorite valentine) had traveled to Los Angeles from Oregon for a visit. Our weekend was full of love and it couldn’t have been a better intro for what was about to present itself.
The ushers seated us in practically (what felt like) the front row, smack-dab in the middle! The only people around us were seated one row in front, pretty far over to the left. As I worshipped and agreed with the leaders in prayer throughout the service, one of the women in front of me seated to the left repeatedly turned around, looking in our direction. I asked my mom if I had something on my face. I didn’t. I then started to rack my brain as to how I could possibly know her. She kept looking and smiling excitedly as if she knew me. I uncomfortably smiled back, still unsure as to what or who she was looking at. My mom then said “That woman keeps looking at you, do you know her?”
Her question was interrupted with the Pastor of the church calling the woman, Dr. Patricia Bailey, up to the stage to give a testimony regarding her most recent trip to Turkey that our church had financially supported. Her team had gone to assist refugees at the Syrian border whom had been displaced due to Isis. My spirit quickened with excitement learning who this woman was and how we shared a common love for missions.
After service I jumped over the row of chairs in front of me, on a mission to get to her, allowing nothing to keep me from getting to her. I thanked her for obediently following her call; introducing myself, I said “Next time you go to Turkey, I want to go.” She took down my phone number and said she was so excited and that the world is in need of willing hearts. I expectantly waited for her call that afternoon.
I did not hear from her, so the next day I called her office, leaving my phone number, in the case that she had lost mine. About a week went by and then the phone call came in that would alter the course of my life.
Answering the call, she explained to me that not only would she be returning to Turkey, but that she had an entire school devoted to rising up leaders who have a heart for global development called the Global Leadership Training Center. My body flushed as I experienced every emotion possible in that one phone conversation. I agreed immediately, thrilled and in awe, honored to be 1 of the 10 women invited to attend. Slight anxiety came over me as I realized the program was across the country and I had only a few weeks to prepare. Slight sadness came over me as I realized this meant closing the beautiful chapter of my life that I have so enjoyed in west Los Angeles. Excitement filled my heart, knowing that my destiny was at my doorstep and I would not miss it for the world.
The following weeks were filled with a week spent in Oregon, celebrating my dad’s wedding and soaking up the love from my best friends and family back home, the goodbye to my place of employment where I had spent a year healing, a trip to Las Vegas for my birthday, and a business trip to Kansas City. It seemed that there was a solid plan in place and I couldn’t wait to get started! Days before we were to depart, the person who had planned on driving cross-country with me (L.A. to North Carolina) bailed on me. All of the logistic plans that had been set were now out the window. Finances appeared depleted, and it was just my dog and I. My purpose was calling my name, and the opposition was trying to throw any distraction to trip me up. I refused to relent, pressing onward on the cross-country journey with my dog and the same car I had driven cross-country twice before.
Divine Peace came over me as I traveled those 3 days, time flew as fast as the miles. My loving parents were not physically with me, but supported me constantly. I am ever-grateful for their love, support, and partnership with me as I pursue a life that is about more than myself.
11:27pm on Friday night, I pulled into the driveway of my new home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where I would be transforming my mind, spirit, and soul for the very best cause. My soul-sisters greeted Kelsa and I with such love. It sank in that I was born for such a time as this.
And I was right on time.