I'm sitting in the basement of my cousin's house in Atlanta writing up this post since it's been a while...

After WPC, I haven't really had a chance to relax much because I was working almost everyday the following week and then we hopped a plane to Chicago, and from Chicago to Atlanta, and on Monday, we'll be returning to Chicago. We've been visiting friends and family for the most part which has been pretty fun.

On the 30th of this month, I will be flying out to London, UK to attend the South Asian Global Convention. And then I'll be back for a bit before I fly out to India to spend the next eight or nine months. God works in mysterious ways...

You see, at the beginning of the summer, I was busy planning this trip that would involve London and SAGC followed by a mission trip to India. It was a great idea, we had a really good itinerary and almost everything was put in place and it took a lot of hard work and prayer. But that plan eventually fell through for several reasons which was incredibly disappointing for me (not going into details here). As disappointed as that was, I remember thinking, "God, I don't understand why things aren't working out, I thought I was following You and here I am disappointed and frustrated and utterly confused...but I trust that You have something bigger and better for me..."

I remember this story I once heard of a little girl who had a string of pearls, they were fake of course but she loved these pearls very much and they were her most valuable possession. And one day her father asked her to give him her pearls. The little girl of course, didn't want to, but the father insisted and eventually, although very hurt and upset, tearfully handed over her string of fake pearls. When the father saw that his daughter had given him her fake string of pearls, he bought out a beautiful new string of pearls which were real and cost much more and handed them to the daughter who was of course delighted. (That's Beni's abridged version of the story.) And many times, I think, life and our relationship with our Heavenly Father is like that. Sometimes, we like to hold on to something because we value it for whatever reasons... and God is saying, "Just give it to me." And it's not that He's out to take what we have, but it's that He wants to bless us with something better.

And so back to my India story... letting go of the first planned trip was like handing over my fake string of pearls. It was painful and going on a mission trip was something I have literally been waiting my entire life to do and I had actually done quite a bit of planning and praying and preparing and everything and when things weren't working out, it was really frustrating. But when I did finally turn it over to God, what He gave back to me was more than what I could have imagined. He closed to door to the short term trip, but He has opened up the doors for a long term mission trip... I was so excited to hear about oppurtunities in Malaysia and Laos and Cambodia, and even though I had always thought that I would go to India, I was willing to go wherever the Lord sent me. Each step was like me dying to myself and saying, "Lord, You know what is best." And the whole time, while I was dealing with my emotions and expectations and God's teaching me what it means to follow, He understood the desires of my heart (since, duh! He put them there in the first place!).

A few weeks ago, the doors opened for me to move to India for almost a year to serve and do ministry. That's the India part. I also had another desire, which was to attend the South Asian Global Convention in London but finances were tight. God worked that out too by His grace and I'm so excited to not only to attending, but also leading worship and playing my guitar with Integrated and a few other bands as well. God is so amazing!!!

I handed God my fake pearls, the short trip which was everything I was looking forward to for so long, and He handed me something even more beautiful and more brilliant that what I could have planned out for myself... and there's much more to this story about the goodness of God, but time and space don't permit its recounting at the moment. Needless to say, I am so thankful to the Lord! And as the theme song for SAGC2007 says, "My God is mighty to save! He is mighty to save!" AMEN!!!

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