By Lyndsi Tellinghuisen
I applied for the Hope’s Promise connection team trip to Vietnam in June, then I blinked, and here I am making final preparations. Emotions weigh heavy on me as I prepare to take an airplane to a country that is unfamiliar and uncharted territory for me. As I wade through my feelings, the most prominent is a feeling of sheer excitement to explore this new place full of God’s people and His beautiful creation. I feel like a child on Christmas, full of anticipation, but instead of the gift being wrapped in colorful paper, it comes in the form of new relationships I will be making with the people of Vietnam. As I zero in on the final days of preparation, I find myself awake in the middle of the night as I eagerly await the experiences I will take part in.
Preparing for this trip looks a lot like this:
- Connection team meetings
- Writing and submitting fundraising letters
- Budgeting for trip payments
- Attempting to learn Vietnamese (so far I know the words “chicken” and “apple”)
- Packing and re-packing my suitcase with the help of Pinterest hacks
- Researching a new-to-me culture
Aside from the physical preparations, I find myself preparing mentally for a culture I am unfamiliar with. I am trying to have realistic expectations and be okay with the unknown. I’m walking into a culture that, having very little exposure to, I will have little understanding of. I want to be open and teachable. There is so much to learn about our God from others. I look forward to establishing amazing relationships with the people I encounter in Vietnam.
In the midst of planning, I see how God is already using this trip to teach me a valuable lesson. One, perhaps, I will learn over and over again. God reminds me that no matter how much I plan, He is in control. As long as I am open, He will lead me and work through me on this trip. I can’t plan the experiences I have, the people I meet, or the situations I am in. Planning is important, but you can, in fact, plan too much. This trip I will let go and let God handle the rest.
With a shift in mindset, letting God be in control of the journey, I have found it to be incredibly helpful to spend time in prayer and devotion. I set a goal to pray for the people I will be boarding a plane with this week as well as the adults and children we will be connecting with in the coming weeks. It has been such a blessing to be able to pray God’s protection, love, and blessings over my brothers and sisters in Christ. God has so much in store for us and I am thrilled to see what He is going to be doing through these beautiful men and women. I would be honored if you would come alongside us, in these final days of preparation and join me in praying for the Hope’s Promise connection team as well as the people we will be serving for the Kingdom. Your faithful prayers would mean so much to us.