This post is full of linky love and orphan love. Yay!
The past year has been an adventure for us to say the least. This time last year, Josh was spending his last few days with Cedar Creek Church of God as Youth Pastor. We were embarking on a new journey to plant a church in the area... or so we thought. It's amazing how God can take the plans that you think He has for you and remind you that HE is Lord. Praise the Lord, we can begin to see the good that has come from what seemed like a failure at every turn.
I have related to Peter very much this year, feeling like I had the courage to step out of the boat and go towards Jesus but soon noticing the waves around me. I found it easy to focus on my circumstance instead of Jesus. Thankfully, He is always there to stretch out his hand and pull us back up to where He is. In spite of all of the failures in Peter's life he was still used in mighty ways for the gospel. Thank you Lord.
Through the trials of this past year, God brought a wonderful thing in to my life. Shortly before our time ended at Cedar Creek. I had begun a journey with a direct sales company called Thirty-One Gifts. At the time, I thought I was joining just to get some super cute bags at a good discount... maybe enjoy a night away from home with some other ladies every once in a while. As we soon found ourselves struggling financially, I began to work this business with new motivation.... just to make ends meet.
It's amazing how the Lord can be teaching you about something very important without you even realizing what He is doing. I started to learn the best ways to spread the word about my business. Finding new ways to share and get the word out, I soon saw how the little bit of effort I had put into my business had multiplied exponentially. As if I had received a blinding flash of the obvious, I realized that this is exactly how Jesus wants us as disciples to spread his good news.
Give of my time and energy.
He will bless and multiply.
At the same time that I received this revelation, God was also laying it on my heart to become more involved with a faith based non-profit organization called Sweet Sleep. Sweet Sleep shows God's love to the world's orphaned and abandoned children by providing beds, bedding, mosquito nets and bibles to them. These children would otherwise be sleeping in unsafe and unsanitary conditions with little hope for the future.
I had first heard of Sweet Sleep a couple years back after reading about it on the Bring the Rain blog one day in this post. Since the organization is based out of Brentwood Baptist where my brother and sister-in-law go, I also heard about it when I would visit and go to church with them. Soon after, my sister-in-law, Sam, became very active with Sweet Sleep, eventually traveling to Gulu, Uganda on mission. She took all of the pictures in this post. And so, my heart would be reminded of these sweet orphaned souls even more and more.
I finally worked up the courage to send a message via a general info email address that was listed on Sweet Sleep's website. My email stated that I knew God had been urging my heart to help with their cause, but I felt challenged because I lived four and a half hours away from where Sweet Sleep is based. To be honest, I never expected to hear a reply from my email.
I was definitely surprised when I received an email back letting me know that they had been praying for people just like me who could be regional representatives for Sweet Sleep in other areas of the US. It's always a blessing to find that something you did turned out to be an answer to someone else's prayers. Still suffering from surprise, I agreed to pray about the tasks set before me. How could I not say yes? Knowing that it was a total God thing made the decision relatively easy. And so, I became the first of Sweet Sleep's Regional Reps.
I had already been hoping to go on mission with Sweet Sleep one day, but once I started to work with the organization in this capacity, I knew that it was something I had to do. I was set to wait on God and his timing though. The trip to South Africa was officially put on the calendar in early August. Through various experiences, he made it clear to me that this was the time for me to "go".
And so, I will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa on November fourth through the fourteenth of this year. While I go to minister to others, I anticipate that God will move like never before in my heart as well. I pray that it will be so.
I have been blessed by what I have raised financially towards my mission trip so far but there is still need. If you feel so led to donate towards this cause, please message me at cbeddingfield613@hotmail(dot)com and I will give you instructions with how to proceed.
If you wouldn't mind, please lift us up in prayer as we prepare to do the work God has for us in South Africa. Pray for our mission team, the children there, the country, safe travel and a special time. If you wish to follow our journey, be sure to check out the Sweet Sleep Blog.
I leave you with this video, made after a Sweet Sleep journey to Uganda. What Hope He has given...
P.S. If your church, children's ministry or youth group is interested in a helping orphans while hosting a fun event, check out some of Sweet Sleep's events and find out how you can help.