Rachel Jenae

Perfect Gifts

Three days before my 32nd birthday I received an email telling me that a seat had opened up for a women’s trip to Sierra Leone with my church. I’d been praying for months about where I would go this year and while there were several options on the table, nothing pulled my heart strings until I heard this news. It was the perfect birthday gift.

Five months earlier I made a big decision to move out of the home I’d been in for 3 years and move in with family friends. I needed to pay off a little debt and wanted to start saving for things I knew God was telling me were coming and the door opened up in the perfect timing. Two months later, and by the grace and favor of God, I was able to pay off all of that debt. Then the following month, my car transmission decided to die and I started the inevitable search for a new “used” car. Luckily I was able to borrow a vehicle for two months, which gave me more time to save and search for the best deal. Into this year, I found that great deal and was able to pay cash for it, though it cleaned out my savings. Three days later, I found out about this trip. Needless to say, there was no way I was paying for it on my own. But like so many other times in my life, God showered down His goodness and made a way where He was leading.

I’ve never felt so certain that I was suppose to be on a specific trip. The mounding details of confirmation were astounding, and I wasn’t even asking for them. Two days after being asked if I’d like to fill the open seat I found out I could get half the trip paid for to go as the team photographer. Done and done! Within the next 6 weeks leading up to the trip, the grace of God through so many willing hearts poured out everything I needed to go. It never felt so easy to just follow where God was leading. Could it really be this easy? Ok, maybe not easy, but simple. Like I do my part and don’t worry about what I can’t do anyways. Grace in it’s simplest form. Unmerited favor.

So before I dive into telling about the trip itself, I wanted to give due praise for the journey leading up to it. To those who have given in so many different ways. To the Dunn family I live with giving me a place to live. To friends and family who gave financially. To those who covered and bathed us in prayer. To those who encouraged me before I left when I was doubting my own words. Every piece has fit together so precisely and perfectly. The timing of each gift so needed and felt. Thank you. May your hearts expand as only God can do through the stories impacted by your gift.