First thing’s first, I want to say THANK YOU! If you’re taking time to read this, that most likely means that you’ve prayed for me or supported me along the way. One of the biggest praises from this mission trip was to see how many people contributed to sending me, especially financially! Every mission trip takes a BIG step of faith for me because of the cost attached! I’ve never had so many different people contribute to one specific mission trip as I had for this one, so once again, thank you all!!!! I’m praying that Jesus blesses each and every one of you more than you can imagine. Thank you for your faith and obedience!
I don’t take for granted that God allows me to be a missionary. I love that His desire for me is that I serve Him fully as a missionary and pastor in Jackson, Mississippi and that He still allows me to travel abroad to share His great name!
“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15
Over the past few years, I’ve traveled to Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, and different parts of India for ‘short-term’ mission trips. Jesus did so much during those times! Adding onto the list, I’ve just returned from another missions trip to Africa!
Since being back, I’ve been spending lots of time praying about all that Jesus did during my trip…I’ve frequently woken up around 3AM, and I’m not too sure if it’s Jesus or jet lag?? It’s always a pleasure and a challenge to share my mission trip experiences with you guys! I pray that some of what I’ve experienced will inspire and encourage you to take a step of faith in your own lives.
AND WE’RE OFF TO AFRICA: MOZAMBIQUE & SWAZILAND 2017
The day after we landed in Pemba, Mozambique, we were sent into the ‘bush bush’ to share the Gospel. This means that we travel to far off villages, most of which have not heard the Gospel, we visit various homes/huts to pray for people, and we invite them to join us in watching what we call the ‘Jesus Film’ in their own language. It seems like every time the film is played that 100’s of people show up to watch! At first glance this outreach time seemed a little chaotic…I couldn’t understand the language, I couldn’t find the people that I came with, and so many children were asking me questions that I couldn’t understand, but so desperately wanted to answer. But through all of that, I knew that something beautiful was in the works.
As I was sitting in the dirt, Jesus spoke to me, ‘Mariah, I need you to release understanding to me…’
I quickly responded with how much I thought I trusted Him, and what answers/understanding I felt entitled to. He then repeated to me, to release understanding to HIM…and I accepted His command, knowing, once again, that there was something beautiful in the works. He began speaking more and more to my spirit…encouraging me, telling me how to pray, and showing love to me! As I looked at the stars, He told me to pray for truth and endurance to reign in the village. He told me how important it was for me to pray what was on His heart. He told me how much He loved me, just as a little girl decided to tuck my hair behind me ears with a gentle smile.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
How many of you know that God knows our hearts better than we do? He knew that in order for me to experience the fullness of what He had for this missions trip, I had to surrender my own ‘understanding’ and trust Him deeply, and that’s what I chose to do! Jesus then reminded me of His great love, His love for others, and His love for me! During my time in the bush, and for the rest of my time in Africa, I was able to watch the love of Jesus minister to so many people, including myself. He freely gives His love to us!! My prayer and my encouragement to you is that you take time to ask God if there is anything standing in the way of you receiving ALL that He has for you in this season? I know that I could have EASILY been distracted by my long list of questions for God… I could have missed the beautiful treasures that God wanted to pour out over me. In His mercy, He showed me the way! My prayer for you is that you would listen to His voice, and allow the love of Jesus to minister to YOU as well!
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him…not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
On my 22nd birthday, this little man was brought to the baby house with little hope. His mother died during child birth. Jesus allowed me the opportunity to meet and pray over him in 2014!
Now in 2017, this same little boy is now growing to be healthy and strong, knowing the love of Jesus. I loved getting to see him again! He’s so full of life!
Little ‘M’ and I used to play a game just laughing and saying ‘I love you!’ back and forth.
Now she’s grown, still says ‘I love you!’ and was so proud to show me how she listens to the Bible!
A few years back, my friend began sharing Jesus with a group of ladies who were working as prostitutes. Today those ladies are walking with Jesus and running an amazing business together! One of my highlights from returning to Mozambique was getting the honor to meet them and wear this skirt they made for me!
Beautiful people in Swaziland, making a living by sewing beautiful bags and toys. All for the glory of God! Please continue to pray for these sweet ladies.