By Amy Balzer-Pemberton
Hi, my name is Amy Balzer-Pemberton, and I returned from my first mission trip to Uganda with Lynn in February. And I can’t wait to go again!
My walk with Women of the Pearl started at St. Luke-Ann Arbor in 2012 when Lynn was starting a Bible study and we would be helping her perfect how she would present it to the women in Uganda. I thought, ok, I am all for supporting other women, so I went down to the basement every week and found much more than a Bible study: I found friendships I treasure, absolute honesty, and inspiration in these women.
So fast forward two years later when I am walking here at church with my husband Bill and my dear friend Lynn and she asks me to go on the next mission trip with WOTP. My first reaction was NO, I can’t do that … I have “insert a million excuses”… but my husband says, “Oh, she’s going!” We own a small business, so me being gone for 10 or so days means revenue lost, plus being away from my son who was 8 at the time seemed outrageous.
One thing you need to know about me is that I am one to go “kicking and screaming” into a new situation and THEN after God hits me with a 2×4 a few times I realize I am JUST where I am meant to be.
A mission trip was not something on my radar. I was all for supporting Lynn’s ministry with marketing skills, prayers, money, but I wasn’t a GOER, just a SENDER. I was sure of it! So I waited for another 2×4.
This weighed on my heart for awhile, until I went to a fundraiser at Sue Regner’s house and oh man, I started to feel VERY called to be part of this trip (2×4). After more discussion and prayers with friends and my husband and son, I decided to take the leap of faith.
We organized a fundraiser in about two days and when we sat at the table counting the donations at the end of the day, I had received the exact amount I needed to cover my transportation and food, plus $1.04 that came from a little friend’s piggy bank. (Insert 2×4.)
Even as the trip neared, I was still full of doubt that I really should be going. As I got on that plane, I was beside myself, thinking I had truly made a mistake. Even after being in Amsterdam a few days, I had a major meltdown, sure I had misread God’s direction.
And then something happened … I had been studying the Word so much more in my preparation. Lynn had created a wonderful plan of Bible verses for us to read as we prepared.
I don’t know about you, but I often find that verses “FIND” me. They find me over and over (because I need a 2×4), and a word kept popping out … SELAH which means “be still and listen to the Lord.”
If you know me well, you’ll know that still is not a word that describes me. I always have a full schedule, ten things going at once, and I feel I have to multi-task even when watching a movie.
Our first morning in Uganda, we finally had our team of eight together, and started our day with Sharpenings–which is opening to a verse and discussing it. Do you know what word was in our first verse? SELAH. (Insert the final 2×4.)
I somehow was able in that day to just give in to what God had planned for me on that trip. I drew Him close, I was still, I was patient (so not like me), and the Lord showed me peace like I have never known. Ten days of wonderful peace. I was even reading a book in Uganda and the last word in the book was …. “SELAH!”
I had spoken while with our team about needing to find that kind of peace and balance in my home life. I had my child so overscheduled, some days he had two to three places to be after school.
He’s our only and I somehow feel like I need to expose him to everything he may think is interesting, and my expectations for him were so high. He could never meet them, really.
I feel that God wanted me to make some changes in my life and draw nearer to Him through this process. I have found time to be in His Word now on a daily basis and really feel peace on a daily basis, not just once in awhile.
Now that I’ve been home just about three months, we were able to make positive changes at our house. Liam’s schedule is much lighter, and our priorities have changed to allow for more down time, more family time.
I feel that God led me to be a part of the February 2015 WOTP team so I could bring my unique skills (like nail painting the gospel) AND He could show me how to be still and draw near to Him.
I feel like I am more aware of God’s voice now, and hoping the next time He’s sending me in a certain direction it will feel like a feather when it hits!
The next Women of the Pearl team will be leaving for Uganda on June 28, 2015. Please lift them up in prayer as they prepare for this amazing faith journey. Women of the Pearl is a ministry to women in Uganda, which looks to empower women through the Gospel of Christ and through education to bring glory to God. To learn more about Women of the Pearl, visit the facebook page.