My time in the Middle East is at an end. After all of the planning, it’s completed. Now it’s time for some processing before heading back to the US and my final year of seminary. Today, I ended up with tears streaming down my face as I was overwhelmed with signs that God has been working on me to consider a call for a VERY long time.
This morning, Wadie took me to the school he worked at a couple of years ago: The Holy Land Institute for the Deaf in Salt, Jordan. When the full school is in session, there are over a 100 deaf children at this boarding school that is run by the Church. Most of the children are on holiday, but the 14 deaf/blind children were there since it is harder for them to take extended breaks without losing progress. It was an amazing blessing to watch the teachers work with them!
It also took me back to my youth when at school and faced with the prospect of writing a biography book report, I’d always ask to write one on Annie Sullivan. The Miracle Worker. Annie was the teacher of Helen Keller who was both deaf and blind. She taught her sign language when all had lost hope. On my first visit to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, I discovered that Annie and Helen are buried alongside each other there. Today, I thought of their story, that I’d read SO MANY times, as I watched the teachers working one on one with their students. It made my heart soar to be in this place!
In addition, it made me smile to notice the wooden shoes on the building entrance. The current headmaster, Father Andrew, is orginally from The Netherlands. Seeing these wooden shoes reminded me that my move to seminary is the first in which my wooden shoes did NOT make the move. For the next move, wooden shoes will once again need to make an appearance outside my doorstep!
After the school, we visited The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Salt, Jordan. It is the oldest Episcopal church in Jordan…and Wadie’s great-grandfather was the rector there. His grandfather was from there. Now, we were there.
As we left, I was overwhelmed and began to cry…ugly cry…at the realization that for both my friend and me, the Church has been in our blood for a very long time! My great-grandparents were the caretakers (sexton) of the church my grandmother grew up in. Grandma visited me in a dream on the night before I started seminary. The tears kept mounting. I just served on medical mission in Kurdistan…the realization of a call I had told my parents I was going to do when I was in 4th grade. Then this morning, spending time with deaf/blind students like those I’d envisioned would be helped because of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan’s faithful work. The calls on my heart from my youth cascaded down upon me and came pouring out of my eyes!
Recently, my Mom mentioned while messaging that one of my cousins had asked the question, “How did she know she was called?” Though it is a long answer, it is also an easy one. Most importantly though, it is not something I decide I alone. There are all kinds of people involved in the process. However, no matter how many people weigh in on the decision of whether or not they believe in my call, I need to believe in it. I give great thanks for the many affirmations received over this journey. And it’s not over yet.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
In a few minutes, I am headed to Paris. I’m not entirely sure HOW this ended up being my next destination but my paths have been made straight to get there and then to Amsterdam. As I left Kurdistan, my team leader mentioned that while I’m there, I may want to check out Corie Ten Boom’s home in Haarlem. Little did he know Corie’s story is another marker from my youth. Emails have been sent and we shall see what happens.
No time to edit this or add hyperlinks to the books and websites…just a request for prayers for God’s continued protection for all who travel and all who need direction. How does one know? Prayer and listening to what God has to say. We may not always like the answer or where it takes us, but we can be assured that our paths will be directed when we put our trust in God.