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. 

Some People See it…

San Francisco touched every part of my heart I never thought one trip could address all of the things God has currently been teaching me. From purity to issues with my family, it left no part untouched.

On Thursday, we did meal deliveries and as I went through some of the worse building in San Francisco, a thought came to my mind, this is the life that my dad most likely lives. these buildings housed the unwanted, unloved, and the people that made too many mistakes in life. Time after time I walked up to these rooms and knocked on doors that no one would answer, either because they were terrified, high, or were just too sick and sad to answer the door. It broke my heart. The moments people would answer the door I was excited. We got to talk to few people that day but one of the biggest conversations I have ever had happened with one of my team members.

As we waited my team, Carlos, and I we looking down on the streets and just talked about how crazy it is that so many people live here. I then told him about the thought that had came to my mind about my own dad that I haven’t seen in almost 8 years. It really sucks being here and knowing that my dad lives close to this life style. I remember saying to Carlos, “I can’t help but wonder if there is anyone out there loving on my dad like we are loving on these people.” Carols then said, “Well you know Mo, God sees that you are loving on His people, and you can trust that he’s taking care of things with your dad.”

I will never forget those words. Carlos reminded me of the reassuring truth that My Heavenly Father sees the desires of my heart and He also desires my dad to be with Him too. In that moment my passion to pray for my dad was rekindled.

This morning I woke up early to call my dad. As I waited for him to pick up fear started to come up. I hadn’t talked to him in weeks maybe even months, I forget, but I just knew that he would be everything but happy to hear my voice. The phone call connected. A tired beat down voice muttered, “hello” Dad? It’s Monique I could hear his face light up, Pumpkin! It’s so good to hear from you.

I talked to my dad for about 10 minutes and in those 10 minutes I didn’t feel condemned or like a horrible daughter because I hadn’t talked to him. He was pleasant. Towards the end of our conversation he randomly said to me, ” you know some people see it earlier than others and others take longer. But your mom saw it and got out. It just took me a little longer but I see it now. You pumpkin, you’ve always seen it. You see it and help others see it too”.

I don’t know what it was that he was talking about but I like to guess that it is the meaning of life. The fact that life isn’t mine but it belongs to my Creator. That some people don’t see the meaning but when they do, they get out of the mess that they are in. My mom saw the meaning. She saw that there was more so she got out of the mess she was in and lived the abundant life Jesus prepared for her.

Impact

Impact- noun

The action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.

The effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another

 

 

About six months ago I met with a dear friend of mine. She told me of a trip coming up to Panama that we as a youth group would be taking together. I remember her telling me to be praying about it, and I immediately felt fear. In the months after I wrestled with a lot. I got to the point where I was fed up with fear. My New Years “resolution” was to not be controlled by fear any longer. I then decided to go to Panama. God says go and I figured if I was going to love on His people then He is all for it. I jumped off of a big cliff of not being prepared and simply went. As I started telling my family and friends about this trip, people responded well, finances started being taken care of and things were good.

About a month ago I started a few more fundraisers and some things were not right. People were still responding and helping out but there was a check in my Spirit. I later found out that doors were closing with Panama and instead I would be spending the week in America instead of Panama. I can not say that I was not excited. Though there was disappointed, especially because this would be the ultimate fearless trip, God had already been working on my heart and preparing it for the city of San Francisco. So I am pleased to say that June 10th– June 15th of this summer I will be in San Francisco. The team and myself will be with City Impact. I love that we will be in the Northern part of our state and be able to love and spread grace and joy to people of that city. We also will be meeting other teams from all over the country. I am excited to spread knowledge that I have but also receive positive mindsets that others have. I cannot wait to go on this trip. God still had things taken care of. My trip is 100% paid for and I know it will be grand. So San Fran get ready… some awesome people are about to come and you will never be the same.

 

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