Isaiah 6:8 ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am, send me”.’ I’ve heard and read this verse before but it has never been as relevant to me as it has this Easter. I have not long returned from a mission trip to Albania. Answering a prompt from God my response was, here I am, send me!
This was my first mission trip, having spent many years raising my family going on a mission trip was not something I ever thought of doing. Then approximately 18 months ago a friend asked if I’d ever been and suggested I go and would really enjoy it. I put the conversation aside and forgot about it. However, the seed had been planted and God reminded of the conversation in early 2017. Over the coming months, he watered that seed and my hunger to go on mission grew, until the day a trip to Albania was announced and inside I leaped and said, here I am Lord, send me. As a lone parent there were practicalities to work through not to mention raising the finances, but in my heart, I knew that God called me and therefore would be faithful in helping me get there.
In the months and weeks leading up to the trip, I was facing various personal challenges that brought a great deal of stress and anxiety. I started to wonder if I should pull out, but the pull from God and his calling were even greater.
Ahead of the trip we met as a team and started to plan. Everyone seemed to have an idea of their role and what they wanted to achieve. To be perfectly honest I didn’t, but I knew that was going to go anyway. As I spent time with God and prayed he simply reminded me of his love for me, and to go and love his people.
Wow, wow, wow! The entire trip was incredible from the moment we left. God is good all the time. It was such a privilege to be welcomed into their lives, their church and to share God’s love and hope for his people in Albania. We were able to help practically with their worship team; sharing advice, vision, and passion. We worked with the children bringing fun, creativity, and love. We cleaned up a housing estate; a very small gesture but demonstrating that we care and bringing God’s love.
We spent time with the leaders building relationships further, encouraging them, praying with them. We humbled ourselves to wash their feet, anoint them with oil and prayed, releasing them into their God-given calling. We climbed a mountain, singing and praying over the city of Sarandë, declaring greater things are yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in the city. We supported them in putting on an evangelistic Easter outreach. It was incredible; I’ve never been a part of anything so powerful.
It was full to rafters, standing room only, overflowing outside. People gave their lives to Jesus, lives were set free, God’s love was overflowing and the worship continued long after it finished and people had left. One of the most poignant things that struck me was that this was theirs. We supported and encouraged, helped in a small way, but they had put the work in and this powerful outreach to their community was theirs.
As much as I went to love, bless and help in any way I could, I received so much more. I was loved, I was blessed. I have made new friends that I am now richer for. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who welcomed us, loved us, danced and celebrated with us. I’m overwhelmed with God’s love. When they thanked us I thanked them more. When they begged us to return there wasn’t a moment of hesitation, of course, we would return.
Another part of the trip was the wonderful fellowship we had as a team. It was a privilege to grow together, for relationships deepen and strengthen, to pray and minister to each other, for the meals we shared and for the endless laughter and fun. Thank you, Jesus, for the blessing they were to me. Thank you for calling me. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of your love for the people of Albania.
Will I be going again? Absolutely! What will I say when God asks, “who shall I send?” I will say “Here I am, send me.”