As I stood and read the ad, exciting thoughts ran through my mind. A missionary trip to India was being planned by COSMOS-- the student outreach group at Avondale College. I always dreamed of going to India, the birthplace of my mother.
What better opportunity to have my dream realised and at the same time share the love of God. I attended a meeting where a brief overview was given on the purpose of going to India. There was no mention of costs but ideas were given for fundraising.
Something I felt unsure about was if I could afford the ticket to India. Being a college student definitely did not help the situation. I decided to put this problem into God's hands. Just prior to this, I felt the need to seek a relationship with God and to serve Him. So this was the first situation I decided to wholly put into His hands. Drawing strength from God's promises, I put my trust in God and felt sure that if it were His plan for me to go to India, it would work out.
As good parents, my mum and dad wanted me to concentrate on my studies and not get distracted by fundraising and planning an overseas trip. Reminding me I could travel anywhere I wished after I finished my studies, I quickly gathered they were not going to support me financially.
Working every second weekend at a retirement home allowed me to pay half my college fees and other living expenses, but not enough to save for a trip overseas. Luckily I had applied for a dorm receptionist position and I was accepted. Then a job came up as a computer lab supervisor. I applied for it and was given the job. Suddenly I had three jobs and life was hectic. So the shopping ended and I started saving seriously!
I kept attending the planning meetings. Our group changed size from week to week, depending on how keen and committed people were. We held quite a few "curry days" to fundraise. I think thestudents must have been sick of eating curry by the end of the year. And then there was the chocolate. Thanks to a few chocoholic friends, I sold about 300 Freddo Frogs.
Our plans were subject to a few obstacles, which sometimes dragged our spirits down but we still hoped and prayed things would work out. Originally we had planned to go in our midsemester break in October, which was fast approaching, but we did not have our travel organised or our finances, so we postponed it to December. Then our student services director did not approve of us going to India because there was some civil unrest between India and Pakistan at that time. But we prayed about it, and the couple who were going to take us around India convinced the student services director that we would be in no danger.
December was nearly upon us, and the dread of exams was also fast approaching. Studying, working three jobs and fundraising was not easy. I relied on God to get me through my exams. It turned out to be one of my best semesters, with an average above 80 per cent.
With exams over, we could concentrate on organising our trip. Passports and visas were not ready, so we had to postpone the trip again, this time to January. This gave us more time to fundraise. Nat and Ruby went to a regional camp and some generous people donated money to help us with our finances. Bashanti and I were baking and selling muffins all holidays. We were also thankful to a few church members who gave us money. I kept praying and putting my faith in God.
With our passports and visas organised, we met a few days before departure to finalise our luggage and to prepare for the programs we would be holding for the kids. We all made it to the airport with just enough time to check in our overweight baggage, full of stuffed toys, blankets, clothes and Fruity Bix bars.
I was overjoyed to be on that plane. God really did answer my prayers. Visiting a developing country was an adventure. Knowing it was God's providence that allowed me to go to India was still more inspiring. Seeing how our plans slowly fell into place, the smiles of the orphan children when we gave them the gifts, and God's protection over us were all a real blessing. When you wholly put yourself in God's hands--both your mind and heart--you will be rewarded beyond measure. I discovered a little of what life is like for families living on the streets of Calcutta, and the orphans, lepers, deaf and blind children who have been sponsored by Asian Aid. We led programs at the different orphanages and schools we stayed at, and gave the children clothes and toys. I felt the blessing of God in my life more than ever before. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:4, 5. Jeanelle Isaacs is the web-site developer for the Department of Communication and Public Relations of the South Pacific Division