I've received several emails and texts and had many conversations in the last week or two with people concerned about my mission trip this summer and all wondering the same thing "WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU GO TO SUDAN?"- I know this is a long blog, I actually went back and shortened as much as possible! Sorry :) The concern, love, prayers, and support of my family and friends is something that blesses and touches my heart and therefore I want to take a few minutes to let everyone know "What's Jessika thinking?!?" Let me start with a story...
I was 18 years old attending Texas Tech, sitting in the dorm room of a dear friend (Shout out to Randi). My friend was telling me all about how she was going to spend 3 months in Kenya, Africa for the summer. I thought she was INSANE. I said to her "I'm so glad that God has not called me to do anything like that"! And after a bit I went to my dorm room to go to bed.
Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It was 4 a.m. and I woke up with the pit of my stomach turning and I knew God wanted to say something. As clear as you can read these words He said to me "Jessika, you will go to Africa". For once in my life I didn't argue, I didn't try to debate, I didn't cry, I just said "okay Lord, I'll go".
I have now been to Africa 3 times in the last 4 years and am eager to go back. Every Christian is called to be apart of making the gospel known to the ends of the earth. All of us are called to impact the world that is directly around us, your home, your neighbor, your co-workers, the people you see at the grocery store etc. Some people God will tell to go to other continents, other countries, other states, and other cities, some will be asked to give of their finances, some will be asked to give of time, all Christians are asked to contribute in some way.
A few months ago I was talking to God about my desire to go on a mission trip this summer. God gave me the country of Sudan. To be honest I didn't know much about Sudan (for instance that it is now two countries or even that Darfur was in Sudan) all I really knew was that it was in Africa.I told God I would go to Sudan and the doors opened up and provided a place for me to go in S. Sudan.
I have since researched Sudan and obviously in the past few weeks the media coverage of Sudan has grown. Perhaps the circumstances have intensified, but I know that my God does not change. He knew what would be going on in Sudan when He asked me to go and I have surrendered my life to my Father God. I trust Him with my future.
I purchased traveler's insurance with my flights because someone that I trust instructed me to buy traveler's insurance way back at step 1 (I really thought that she was crazy for making me "waste" the money and now see the benefits to having it). I have the ability at any time if God says "Jessika don't go" I can cancel my flights and receive a full refund, I can change the location of my flights, or whatever I need to do, but for now as long as they will let me in the country I will go.
Thank You so much for the continued support and prayers. From day one I felt strongly (more so than normal) that I needed to build a large prayer base for this trip and as media coverage unfolds of the situations over there I realize that this prayer base is not just needed for the finances and planning of this trip, for my safety as well as the safety of the Sudanese people, but for peace for my family and friends.
Be Blessed, J. Tate