Yesterday I shared how God has been providing for us in some amazing ways over the years, but more specifically leading up to our trip to Africa. I am an idea person, so when we first started realizing just how much this trip would cost, my mind started thinking of different ways to make it happen.
Earlier this year "Minute to Win It" was in town looking for people to be on their show. We don't even watch the show usually because it is on Wednesday nights and we are at AWANA on Wednesday nights. A few times we have caught the end of the show or watched it on some of the free Wednesday nights we had. If you have never seen the show, the contestants do all kinds of crazy games/competitions and each time they successfully complete the challenge they move up a level. Each challenge has a dollar amount and you can win lots and lots of money. When I heard about the local auditions I shot them an email. For whatever reason, I got a reply email with an invitation to audition with my family and a VIP pass so we could move to the head of the line. I was so excited and completely sure that God was going to let us get on the show. I figured we could give God glory since we had a good reason for wanting the money. It would also be a quick and easy way to have all the funds we needed and maybe some leftover too. I liked the idea of an easy solution to our money dilemma.
Things got crazy around here for a while. We checked out the "Minute to Win It" web site for all the different challenges that had been done. We set up stations so we could practice all the different games. I have to admit, I was terrible at all of them. I was too impatient to bounce a pencil in a cup or get a cookie from my forehead to my mouth. I wanted to get on the show because it sounded like an easy way to get to Africa but I really didn't want to practice so that I would be ready. Thankfully, my kids were great at almost every challenge they tried. Although they were having trouble getting a playing card to lodge itself into a watermelon by throwing it from 3 feet away. I'm still finding cards in random places in my basement. I was feeling a little nervous because we wanted to be good examples since we were using our money for missions. All the competition brought out some pretty ugly parts of our character and we hadn't even left our home. We laughed a lot too as we stacked Oreos on our foreheads and did other crazy stunts. We put everything else on hold as we worked on our training, not knowing exactly what would be expected of us at the auditions.
The day of the auditions finally arrived and we headed out to the furniture store where auditions were being held. Our 10 page application was all filled out and we had our matching shirts to boot. The store was overflowing with people and once inside the door the line of contestant hopefuls wound and wound throughout the store, they would have a long wait ahead of them. With our pass we awkwardly walked past all these staring eyes to the front of the line. Everyone else had only one page applications so we felt pretty good about our chances. The "audition" was over in about 30 seconds and we were walking out the door. That was very anti-climatic but we were all so thankful that we were not part of the crowd waiting all day in line to have the same experience.We never heard from "Minute to Win It" again. All that practicing for nothing except to annoy me whenever I find another ping pong ball, or card, or cup with holes in it, in a cupboard or under furniture. It was kind of a waste of time in the end.
Thinking about that experience showed me just how easy it is to get our eyes off of what God intends for us and that which is fun or will make life easy. I wanted to "win big" for a good cause but in doing so I would have missed so much. The people who have been praying for us for months probably wouldn't be, since most of these people knew what we were doing from our support letter. Our family has been so touched by the sense of community we have had knowing people are investing in us on our journey, both financially and through prayer. Practicing for "Minute to Win It" would not have prepared us for what we will be doing in Africa. However, working on remodeling the house that we helped "flip" was great preparation for all of us (since we will be doing construction projects). We have had lots of opportunity to work together as a team and support one another. Our character has grown as we have had to work harder than we ever have before and persevere to the end.
"God's ways are higher than our ways" and I've found that to be true. We are winners! My faith has grown leaps and bounds this year as I've seen first hand God's faithfulness. My kids wanted to be on "Minute to Win It" because they have never been on an airplane. They will get to be on an airplane for a VERY long time and God used our hard work, along with big and small gifts and lots of prayer from our friends.