Panama 

2 years ago I signed up for my very first over seas missions trip. It was the first year that I was working with the U Matter Internship and we were going to Panama. I remember turning in money that had been donated and applying to get my passport. I was so excited. This trip was special because Carlos, one of our teammates and one of my spiritual brothers, is from there and we were going to work with his sister and in the community he grew up in. Weeks later I got called into a meeting to be informed that we would not be going to Panama that year. I knew that Carlos was crushed. I don’t really remember being super upset.  Instead of flying to Panama that summer we drove  to San Fransisco to work with City Impact. 

Here’s a few facts about who I was 2 years ago:
My relationship with my dad was constantly up and down. I had huge anxieties that I would end up living a life like him or worse. 

I did not allow men into my life. There were guys around me but I never allowed them to be true brothers or father figures because they always hurt me, left me, or would end up being men that would act like they had integrity and would prove later that they were far from the character they portrayed.

I was scared. Almost everything scared me. In that my confidence in God and in myself was extremely low. I didn’t believe that I had life changing things to say. I didn’t believe that God wanted to use me because I had messed up too many times. 

All in all I believed I was disqualified. 

In the past two years I have seen the Monique that everyone knew completely shift into the woman that chooses to know who she is. San Francisco killed a lot of fears that had to do with substance abuse and the choices people make regarding that lifestyle. Though the fears of becoming like my dad didn’t fully subside my understanding of the fact that he has made choices to be in the spot he is in now started to grow. I finished college which was a huge accomplishment for me. It added confidence. I now saw that I could literally do hard things. And I could do them better than I thought. I went through a period of time of trusting different guys. Getting my hopes let down but rising up again in Guatemala. I see now why God needed that to be my first overseas trip. God kept it small. Allowing me to only really know one person who happened to be Grant. Guatemala changed my life. Simply because God took my heart of stone and made it flesh. He brought another man into my life that would help me learn what a fathers love looks like. God gave me strength to finish a half marathon with my pastors by my side. 

And finally God gave me the strength to go to see my dad when I had a long year. He gave me the love to pour out. He gave me the support to know that I was doing a good thing. 

Now two years later I am on a plane with 6 of the original people plus 7 others going to Panama!!!! Knowing that God had us wait so that he could add others is such a great feeling. Through this journey to Panama not one person on the team ever had to ask for money send out support letters or anything. God provided every last dime for us to go. He has shielded us from random attacks and has provided for us when we get knocked down. 

I expect God to move in ways that I’ve never seen. I expect a hope to ignite Panama that people will go there to become hopeful again. I expect to see dreams come true, reclaim lost dreams and dream new dreams. I’m excited for this trip. 

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