Mission trip around the world calls Schuler back to her home
It is amazing all that God reveals in one brief summer. Over the course of the year I had many questions that I had prayed earnestly about and had not heard an answer. One of these questions for me dealt with where I was being called to minister.
Last year I felt a distinct word from God saying to go on Youth in Mission. Without knowing why, I realized I had better go.
After I received word that I was to go to the Philippines, I was excited, but then came the doubts as to what I should do and whether this had really been God's will for me this summer- especially with all the other options opening up before me. But even with all the difficulties of fund-raising, a still, small voice told me to go.
When I arrived in the Philippines I was extremely excited and wondered what would happen and what God would show me on this trip. Again I prayed, "Lord, what do you want me to do for your kingdom?"
Part of me did not believe this prayer would be completely answered or at least not to the degree that it ended up being revealed to me. I suppose you have to be careful what you pray for.
Throughout the summer God really told me that I was supposed to do missions here in the states, in the bypassed peoples of the mission field of my own hometown. Believe me this was not just a simple onetime impression; throughout the whole trip everything I did seemed to point back home.
There was one experience that vividly impacted all of our team members. We were showing the Jesus film quite often, but this day we arrived at the location and were overwhelmed by a putrid smell that accosted us as we unloaded from the van.
Little did we know we would be going to the source of the smell, the dump across the street. Several entire families lived in this dump. Some of those families went to the church to which we were ministering.
As I walked into the dump, I prayed for the strength I would need. In the end, I got much more than I bargained for.
As I entered I discovered it was one thing to walk through trash and roaches; it was a completely different story to walk across the makeshift bridges over the swamp in the dump.
These bridges were any pieces of wood that could be found and usually were about two inches wide and, at most, an inch thick. It was not very comforting to hear the boards creak as we crossed them, but still we felt a guiding force leading us to minister to these people.
As I walked through the dump, my whole outlook changed. Though I couldn't understand the language very well and felt I was constantly teetering on the edge of falling into the swamp, God spoke to me in several ways.
At one moment, I turned around and felt I saw a place so disgusting transformed into one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen.
It was completely indescribable. In many ways the dump was the same, but in my eyes it began to radiate with the love that God had for those people. It was almost as though he'd given me a glimpse through His eyes.
In that moment He reminded me of people who live in similar conditions in the United States that I had chosen to ignore.
It took me going to the Philippines to realize what He had been trying to tell me all along - that my place was here.
Posted on Fri, September 14, 2001
by Tiffany Schuler, ECHO guest writer