The life of a Missionary, man - it is GLORIOUS.
It has been an unbelievably awesome first week at Intake at Big Woods in Abbeville. I have had an incredible experience living in community with over 37 other missionaries. The transition from living in a house with my parents in my own room in Thibodaux to living with 4 girls in a (really nice and home-y) trailer in Abbeville has actually been easier than I expected. God has definitely given me the graces I need to live through this transitional period. The first night was very very difficult because everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I got in bed and prayed the rosary but I cried and cried and cried. I didn't want to wake anyone up, so I went to the bathroom, sat on the floor and cried for a good while. Everything hit me... I moved away for the first time, I can't call my mommy and daddy whenever I want to, I am literally making a complete life change, I am living simply, and I am living amongst people I don't know. It was so overwhelming and terrifying and I felt like I was a baby. I was a small baby girl sitting on the floor absolutely terrified and alone. Then I looked up at an image on our wall of Jesus' face, in agonizing pain, with blood dripping from his head from the crown of thorns. I told Him I was afraid, but I was reassured that if I unite my sadness and suffering with Jesus, blessings will pour fourth into my life and my families life and all of the lives of the people I am praying for. My mindset since I have made the decision to drop my life at home and become a missionary to proclaim the Gospel and serve the poor in a foreign country has been: "I am a daughter of God, with childlike faith I am fully relying on God for EVERYTHING. He is enough. His grace is sufficient for me. He is literally all I need." I stopped crying, went to sleep, and woke up a different woman. I spoke with Brooke, one of the FMC Directors, about my tears that night and she knew exactly what to say to calm my heart and explained how to discern that the spirit of anxiety and fear is absolutely not of God. After I spoke with her, we had community prayer time (family style) and everyone laid hands on me and some of the others who were feeling anxious and scared and overwhelmed. I am so happy. I really and truly love it here and I'm glad I got my good first night cry out of the way because every cry since then has been of pure and complete joy. I CANNOT believe this is my life!!!
Just a glimpse of my day: I wake up around 7:30AM and pray the Rosary in bed. Then as a community we have breakfast, praise and worship and morning prayer (community prayer is always at least an hour) in the Big House. After community prayer we have a teaching workshop then a break for either service/chores/or lunch prep, then we have a lunch study after we eat. After cleaning up we have personal prayer time and rest, then dinner, community prayer/praise and worship/fellowship, and lights out at 11PM (but we're always finished around 9ish). Sundays are our free days and every day is a little different, but that is the general schedule. We are also spilt into 3 groups and are assigned either breakfast, lunch, or dinner prep each day. Along with preparing one of the meals and cleaning up after meals with my group, I am also assigned personal chores. My chore is to organize the community pantry and fridge and to help with the Proclaim Conference preparations (EVERYONE should come to the conference..it's going to be AMAZING. Seriously, come see me). I actually learned how to make Taco Soup and Spaghetti (everyone survived, Praise God!) so I am pretty excited all that I'm learning. The day by day schedule is so ideal because it is the perfect balance of community time and personal prayer time and rest time and workshop time. Living in community has been the ultimate blessing. It has calmed my spirit and quenched my anxiety and my fears and is re-ordering my life. I just cannot put into words how blessed I am to be living in such a wonderful community.
This is the question I have been asked the most, "Breana, you really can't date or drink or text for a whole year?!? You're going to DIE!" Well actually, I made a first year commitment to daily personal prayer time for at least 15 minutes, daily personal reading of Scripture, no personal use of phone/internet other than 2 hours on Sunday, and no alcohol or dating/romantic relationships. Of course it will be a challenge at times because things will always be challenging, but these challenges will bear good fruit. Dude, why not sacrifice to benefit the Kingdom? Why not sacrifice if it will save souls?
The other night during community Praise and Worship we sang a song called "God of Justice." I've never heard of it before, but watching and listening to everyone pour out their heart singing this song...oh man. As I watched one of the little Eckstine children sing, I just cried and cried (The Eckstine's are a family from Oregon with 10 children. Their youngest daughter, Rebekah, who I believe is 4, was the one I was watching). The song says, "We must go. Live to feed the hungry, stand beside the broken. We must go. Stepping forward, keep us from just singing, move us into action. We must go. Fill us up and send us out!" She is FOUR years old and singing these words. She is living to feed the hungry and to stand beside the broken. I know you're thinking, "who in their right mind would take their children to live in a third world country?" Umm, those children are SAINTS. Who wouldn't take their children to a third world country to proclaim the Gospel and to save souls? Do you want your family to be Saints? If we don't tell these people the good news, who will??? How selfish is it that we live in the world consumed by our culture where everything is about me me me and I will just dieee without my cell phone. Dude, some of these people have probably never heard of or touched a cell phone. Over 7 Billion people in the world have never heard of JESUS. Are you kidding me?
Why aren't there more missionaries? Why aren't people taking every opportunity they can to go out to all the world and proclaim the good news that there is more to this life??? I cannot believe that people around the world think that this life is it. I am being trained to be sent out to share this news that there is salvation! There is hope for the future! There is Heaven and there is a God who loves and knows you and want to have a personal relationship with you! This world is fleeting and this life is temporary, but Heaven is forever. For eternity. How can we deprive the world of this good news??
I can't... I have to go. I have to tell the world the good news. Jesus is sending me on the great commission.
Whew, sorry if that was a little intense hahaha! But I am passionate about this. I believe in this. I know that this is exactly how I'm supposed to be living my life. I have been keeping all of my family, friends, donors, and benefactors in my prayers and have been lifting you all up in community prayer as well (especially praying for my dad's work situation). Thank you all so much again for your generous monetary support and prayer support for my family and I!!! We appreciate each and every one of you seaux much.
If you'd like to read more about The Great Commission from Jesus Himself: