“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8
“Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah’s declaration of surrender to God’s call has become my own heart’s cry after a life-changing week in Romania with a European Initiative team. I found myself immersed in an intense and redeeming experience where God drew me from the distractions of my comfort zone and pulled me directly to His heart.
If there is one thing I have discovered about God, it is that He is supernaturally adept at recapturing our attention. Even as Christians, we can become so enamored with the world’s trivial pleasures that we forget our greatest call—to proclaim the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). Personally, my anxiety for the future immobilized me and prevented me from connecting with God’s vision.
Thankfully, God did not allow me to wallow in my apathy for very long. Through a series of surprising yet ordained circumstances and connections, I signed up for a trip to Romania with EI. I would have the incredible opportunity to help evangelize in Roma (gypsy) villages as well as utilize my nursing background through women’s health and hygiene classes. I could feel a passion for missions bubbling up in me that I had long forgotten!
Within minutes of our teaching and evangelism, the Roma people instantly captivated me. Their striking expressions bore telling stories of adversity and rejection. They weather unspeakable storms on a daily basis. The level of poverty in these isolated and forgotten villages overwhelmed me. We were welcomed by large families into one room “homes” poorly constructed for the harsh Romanian winters. Despite the hopelessness of their situation, most of the children we encountered possessed smiles that could brighten even the dreariest day. Photographs don’t do them justice.
When confronted with such incredible need, I became discouraged. I reflected on my selfishness and materialism, and was humbled with conviction. Ashamed of my own fear of the future, I considered the surely difficult futures of these children. “Are these coats and boots really going to help?” I thought. “They need so much more than we can give them.” It was in that moment God reminded me I was right. They DO need much more than the physical things we can provide. They need Jesus. Our mission was not simply handing out supplies, educating women, and creating awareness. Our fundamental objective was to lead them to the One who is their refuge and strong tower, who “supplies all of their needs according to His riches and glory” (Phil 4:19).
After that epiphany, my spirit soared. All I wanted was for these people to comprehend who Jesus truly is. Not the Jesus that settles for church attendance, rituals and baptisms, but the Jesus who wants to know them intimately as a friend. I wanted them to believe he had a destiny for them that transcended their current situation.
I believe many Roma people we engaged left with a renewed perspective of their Savior. I know I did. It’s amazingly freeing to surrender to God—to offer yourself for His purposes and not your own agenda. Jesus is searching for people whose ears are attuned to His call, willing to proclaim, “Send me!” to the darkest places.