There is a kind of madness to traveling. When I first began to travel, I prescribed myself to the idea of “wanderlust” or simply “a gypsy soul” mentality.
That wasn’t it, though. Even though I enjoyed wandering down old cobble-stoned roads and admiring the architecture from the old world, this was only the adornment to the true deepest reason of why I enjoyed traveling.
It wasn’t the traveling part that brought me deepest joy, but the love of connecting to people all around the world in a deeper way through Christ.
I enjoyed when conversations could go deeper than the surface level – surface level conversations which may seem harmless until we let it consume us – music, movies, sports, jobs…
I thought about my moments volunteering in the hill tribe areas in Thailand… of my time in Brazil where the only conversations we had were of God (and when we were not talking about God, we were sleeping, eating together and still talking about God, or serving).
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
It was the same in Cape Verde and Czech Republic… serving with one another still remained the highlight of the journey – the purpose for why I traveled.
Of course, other travel excursions still were wonderful. Yet, they didn’t penetrate my heart at the deepest level like serving and God-centered conversations. Something felt missing – empty.
The more I introspect on the reasons why I enjoy traveling, I begin to realize it wasn’t about traveling at all.
It was because of purpose.
I remember talking to another sister of the faith I volunteered with in the Czech Republic. She shared the same sentiment that I did when it came to serving. It’s the mentality of being useful and needed.
God doesn’t want us to just sit idly. He wants our conversations to be fruitful. He wants us to connect with people on a deeper, personal level.
The things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. (Matthew 15:18)
Maybe you can relate: when you sit idly, you do things idly, or when your conversations become idle as well. You begin to numb yourself from the matters that actually count. You put things off – even your own dreams. I’ve been guilty of these moments, and it’s a debilitating state to be in.
We start to become what we consume. What are we consuming? Are we letting media, the news, the societal norms become our identity?
Or are we truly consuming what is good for our mind, heart, body, and soul?
However, as I spent my time in France with my host family, time didn’t feel idle. Time felt well-spent even when most of the days, we stayed in. On those days, we simply talked about what brought joy and peace in our life – our God.
July 8th – July 12th
I remember the last few days passing by as fast as they started. We spent most of the time at home. We prayed for every meal, we talked about God throughout the day.
Every moment felt purposeful for God.
But it was exactly what I needed. Being with this host family, felt like a respite. There were no time constraints, and yet I felt safe in this home – all worries were cast aside.
I felt the spirit move here in this house.
One of the biggest miracles Patricia revealed to me was her battle with cancer. In 2017, Patricia was diagnosed with leukemia.
It came as a shock to everyone. People in the congregation at the church would wonder why… They would even accuse Patricia that she must have done something wrong against God or her prayers were not fervent.
In her moments of sickness, Patricia recounted to me how it was hard.
It was difficult to stay strong in prayers when people around her would tell her otherwise.
By this time, with constant arrows of words that actually harmed more than helped, Patricia’s outward appearance deteriorating due to the cancer spreading, and her body shutting down on her, what topped it all was the doctors’ verdict:
Her body was over 90% infected with cancer.
She had tried chemotherapy, but after just one treatment, her body had an allergic reaction. She lost her hair from therapy and her body shut down, putting Patricia into a 2-day coma.
When she awoke from her coma, the doctors urged her to seek out therapy again. They told her that the results were fatal – she would die – if she stopped with therapy and did not get medical help. At this point, the cancer was life-threatening.
It would seem like a difficult decision to walk away.
But Patricia wasn’t walking away to fight the cancer on her own.
She was deciding to go to the best alternative – to the doctor – she knew would not fail her:
“You need to have the faith! 100 percent. But, I know, it’s hard. I lived it and there were difficult times when I saw my body covered with the cancer. I would feel the pain, but I always gave glory to God in my heart…People would see me smile and ask me why? Why would I smile when I was dying from cancer…”
Even amidst all of the suffering and her battle with leukemia – she smiled through it all, giving the praise and glory to God.
Patricia… she smiled… because she knew she was not alone. She knew she had a good, loving God that wanted her to overcome the arrows of the enemy that would try to discourage her and lessen her faith in God.
She had the peace of Christ even though her body was telling her to let go…
“God has the victory. And the enemy will lay at His fit. I believed in the promises of our God. I meditated on His word. I needed to continue to fight.”
The battle persisted until one day, Patricia walked into her bathroom.
She could feel the presence of God. As she stared straight into the mirror, God said to Patricia:
“You are my child and you are fully healed.”
She felt the peace of the Lord sweep over her. At that moment, she cried tears of joy.
As Patricia recounted the experience of her healing, I could see her eyes light up at the memory of God’s miracle. I saw her eyes beginning to tear up once again as if reliving the miracle all over again.
In my heart, I heard the spirit of Life encourage me.
And I believed. I believed in Patricia’s story 100 percent.
I showered God with blessings and praises.
He delivered a promise.
God showed me what true faith was so I could believe with 100 percent faith as well.