“I Said the F Word Today…A Lot!

For those interested, here is the AMAZING story of God’s miraculous provision for us while we were on the World Race!  This one is by my amazingly talented wife.

And I promise, I’m done, this is the last post today.

From March, 2013:

“I think it is best for you guys, and the squad, to go ahead and proceed as if you are definitely going home.”

The tickets were bought. On March 5th, at the end of our 6 month debrief with L Squad, Josh and I would be flying out from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and landing in Kansas City, Missouri.

Our Race was over. It was a hard reality, but one we had no choice but to face. With an over $10,000 deficit in our fundraising account, and our final deadline for fundraising here, there was just no feasible way we could stay for the final five months of the Race.

Tears were shed, emails to family sent, and an announcement was made to the squad. In my journal, I wrote, “It feels real now. Now that the decision has been made. It’s so hard to announce it to the squad. I think because I know it will hurt them. So, it’s hard. God, I just want You to be glorified in it all. To me, it seems like providing a miracle is the best way to do that, but I know You didn’t, and You don’t do them to prove anything. Please help the squad to understand and to grieve properly.”

I had started the grieving process, and the squad had, too. Sometimes, I was okay with it, and sometimes I was incredibly sad. Sometimes I felt no emotion at all.

Losing the rest of the Race, something that Josh and I have been preparing for for almost two years, is a big deal. We weren’t just losing the experiences and the passport stamps, we were losing our family. We were losing the 60 people that we have lived every day of the last 6 months with. They have laughed with us, cried with us, told us their deepest struggles, and loved us.

I had gotten to the point of being at peace. I didn’t want to go home, but I was at peace about it.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my Bible and journal, and headed downstairs for our worship/teaching session. Cheyanne was leading worship, and I closed my eyes and began to sing. I wasn’t particularly happy or sad, but not fully into worship either.

After a line or two, Anton came over to me, and said, “Question. Do you want to stay on the Race?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Okay. We’re going to say something after worship.”

During the worship and teaching, I was looking forward to that “something”, but with a bit of nervousness. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and honestly I was emotionally spent after the last few days.

In my journal, I wrote, “God, please do an incredible work through this last push from the squad. You know that I am at peace about going home, but it’s definitely not what I want. I’m Abraham, with the sword poised above my son. Provide a ram. A way out of this. I WILL SING PRAISE, I WILL SING PRAISE, NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL REMAIN. I WILL REJOICE, I WILL DECLARE, GOD IS MY VICTORY AND HE IS HERE!”

After the teaching, Tess got up to make announcements, and invited Anton to come up. He grabbed his Bible and computer, and began.

“I wanted to talk to you guys about something really important, and that is Josh and Jen. They are not going home because they choose to. They are going home because they need $10,000. There’s $10,000 just sitting in this room. We are the body of Christ, and we have the power to help them. So, here’s what we are going to do. We are going to pass out pieces of paper, one for everyone. There are 56 of us. The math works out to about $180 a person. If everyone gives $180, they will have enough to stay. If some give more, that will give room for others who are only able to give less. We’re going to tally them up, and if it’s not enough, we’ll do it again. If it is still not enough, we’ll call AIM and see where that will get us.”

The papers were passed out, and I began to pray. Tess came up, and asked if I wanted to share anything. I grabbed my journal, and made my way to the front. As I spoke, my squadmates wrote down things on the papers, walked up to the front, and dropped them in a box. Anton took the papers out, one by one, and tallied them on his computer.

“These last few months, especially this one, has been an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been joyful, I’ve believed, and I’ve been upset, and angry. I want to share some of my journals from this last month with you.

There was one night, when there was a miscommunication with the AIM office, and they were going to buy our tickets home in two days. We were going to have to leave before debrief, without closure. I was angry. I sat on the roof of our building, crying my eyes out, and crying out to God. ‘God, I’m angry. I’m disappointed, I’m broken hearted. Why would You give us this dream only to cut it short? Why don’t we get the same opportunity because we are married? Why would You give me a family that I love so much, just to take them away? I’m so filled with regret over what I didn’t get to do. I don’t want my Race to be regret. Why did You promise me You would provide everything I need if You haven’t? Why haven’t You come through for us?’

I have never in my left felt so much like Job-alone, and forgotten by God.

A few days later, while at PenHOP (Penang House of Prayer), I wrote, ‘God, I am so glad that You are always with me. You can take it when I get mad, when I ask questions, when I doubt You…I ask You, please give Josh and I Cambodia, India, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. My heart hurts to think of all the people that I can touch and that can touch me in those countries. I want to be a part of Your work there. I fell in love with these countries and the people a long time ago, so my heart hurts thinking about not going. And it hurts thinking of not being with the squad. I love them; they are my family. I want to be a part of their lives, and I want them to be a part of mine. Whatever happens, I want to remember that You are GOOD. Nothing changes that. You are GOOD, and You are GOOD to me.

If this is our last 2 weeks on the Race, I want to enjoy and live every second of it to the fullest. If it isn’t, I want to live the rest of the Race like this…You said, YOU WILL CALL TO ME AND COME AND PRAY TO ME, AND i WILL LISTEN TO YOU. YOU WILL SEEK ME AND FIND ME WHEN YOU SEARCH FOR ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART. I WILL BE FOUND BY YOU.’

So, I just wanted to share with you guys a little bit of my emotional journey over this last month. I love you guys, and even if we go home, I want God to be glorified in it all.”

I sat down, and Josh stood up to share.

“Back in Central America, God told me that we would be staying for the whole Race. I didn’t want to share that with anyone, because I didn’t know if I was actually hearing from Him, or if it was just me. When I had my spiritual counseling session yesterday with Michelle and Moriah, I was asking the Holy Spirit if I really do hear from Him. I felt like I knew the answer, but I still didn’t want to say it aloud. They kept asking me, ‘What’s the answer?’ Finally, I said, ‘Yes.’ I really do believe that I hear from Him, and that He told me that we are staying.”

As Cheyanne played, I sat in my chair, with my elbows on my knees, and my head down in prayer. “God, please do something. Please, please, please. Do something.”

I opened my eyes. Anton handed Josh a slip of paper. Josh made his way back up to the front. I could tell by his body language that something was going on. “Just say it, just say it,” I thought. My stomach was in butterflies.

“…Well,” he said, “they must have tallied it wrong, or I am reading it wrong, but it says $12,012.”

I’m not exactly sure what happened after that. I kind of had a sobbing, emotional blackout. I think the squad started cheering, clapping, crying, I’m not sure. Someone embraced me from behind.

We’re staying. We’re staying on the Race. We’re fully funded. I couldn’t believe it.

I stood up, with tears streaming down my face, and made my way up to the front. Shaking, I said, “We’ve been waiting and waiting for a miracle. And…you guys are our miracle. I don’t even know how to say thank you enough. But thank you, so much.”

Then, our squad surrounded us, and prayed over us. Johnny led the prayer, and it was powerful. Lots of hugs, tears, and spontaneous worship.

“Well,” I said, “I guess I have to fill out visa paperwork for India now!”

Today has been an absolute whirlwind. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. Fully funded. We are fully funded. More than fully funded.

After talking to Seth Jr at AIM, it turns out that due to an earlier miscommunication, he is pretty sure that tickets were accidentally bought for us to go to Cambodia a few weeks ago. He still has to check on it, to make sure they are still there. Praise God.

AAAND, as our tickets home were already bought, he also needed to check to see if AIM could get a refund on them. If not, that cost would go to our fundraising account. Their total? About $2000. BOOM.

So there you have it. Every last penny (and a lot more) of $31,000 has been raised. We have waited for this day for almost two years. And God made it happen in a more amazing, beautiful way than we ever imagined. The Body of Christ in action.

Because of you, and because of my squad, we get to stay on the Race. It’s still unbelievable as I type this. I said so many times over this last month that all I wanted was for God to be glorified in this. We did it. HE did it.

My journal entry from after the worship service:

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! GLORY TO GOD! I have never before felt so loved by You, and by my squadmates. You are incredible and worthy to be praised!” 🙂
From joshandjenmendenhall.theworldrace.org

 

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