The post below was written by one of our Storyteller Missions team members, Andria Sessions, who traveled to China with a recent team to serve orphans and orphanage staff in one of America World's partner orphanages.
It all started in March of 2013 on my morning drive to work. My drive was about 8 minutes long, and it just so happened that it was the exact length of Hillsong United's song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)". I loved the song, so much in fact, that I listened to it every morning on my drive to work for two weeks straight. I am by no means a "vocalist" but I could let it rip during the lines,
"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water, wherever you would lead me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior."
That verse hit me hard because I realized at that moment that, not only did I need to sing the lyrics, I needed to live them.
Fast forward about two weeks later, I was a sponsor at an Easter retreat with my church youth group. With no background knowledge of what had been going on in my prayer life the weeks prior, Suzette Jones approached me and out of the blue asked me if I wanted to go to China with her that coming summer. Without hesitation I answered her. I knew this was the part where God was taking my prayer through lyrics and turning them into reality. If I know anything about my God, its that if you pray a prayer as big as "Take me deeper than my feet could every wander.", He is going to make it happen. Before that time I had never had any desire to go to China, or Asia at all for that matter. I was comfortable enough in my small Texas town, I didn't need to cross the ocean to witness to others or even serve in an orphanage.
After the decision was made, the thought of how I was going to pay for the trip began to linger in my mind. I did not have $4500 sitting in my checking account and I only had 3 months to save along with having bills to pay. Our team began brainstorming all sorts of fundraising ideas and I even sent letters to members of my church. The morning before our airfare money was due, a church friend walked up to me and handed me an envelope full of cash that her Sunday School class had collected. It was the EXACT amount that I had lacked in order to make our first payment. From then on I knew that God was CLEARLY in control and I gave up on trying to be.
Once we arrived at the orphanage they split us into different groups. Some went with infants, some went with teenagers, but Brandon Jones and I took the toddler room. It didn't take me five minutes of being in that room for me to fall in love. I loved every child in that room but there was one that stole my heart. She was sitting in the corner, tears in her eyes, and the softest, most gentle looking face I had ever seen. When I walked up to her she was very timid and unsure about me being there. It was feeding time and the nannies loved that they had two extra hands to help them out. They gave us each a bowl and pointed to the children they wanted us to feed. Once I started feeding her she became more comfortable with me. So much so, that when we left, she locked on to my legs and started screaming and crying. It broke my heart. I was so tempted to ask the nannies if I could stay.
Brandon and I decided that we wanted to stay in the toddler room the rest of our time at the orphanage. We also decided that we wanted to give the babies "American" names because we didn't speak Chinese and we were having trouble saying their given names. I started calling her "Emery". I am not sure how it came to me, but it was what fit. All week I became more and more attached to "Emery". During our final day we both cried when I started to walk out of the door....but I had a little peace because the nannies had told me she was going to America. They would point to the children they knew were being adopted and say "America".
I never dreamed that I would get home and get to speak to the family that would be adopting sweet "Emery". We were told that America World would pass our phone numbers along to the families but I wasn't expecting a call. Less than an hour after emailing my phone number to the America World representative, my phone started ringing. It was a North Carolina number and I almost didn't answer it because I assumed it was a sales call since I didn't know anyone living in North Carolina.
I spoke with "Emery's" parents for about an hour. I shared every story about her that I could think of, and her parents cried with joy because they had only seen one picture of her up to that point and she had been crying in the picture. I was able to tell them about how she would imitate me when I laughed, and how she started blowing kisses and giggling. I was able to share that the nannies were taking wonderful care of her and loving her until they could get there.
My experience in China was irreplaceable, the faith that God gave me was unchangeable. Every moment of the trip was uniquely ordained by God. He placed every person and every prayer before us before we left. He walked with us while we were there, He opened the hearts of the nannies, and He formed a forever bond between "Emery's" family and myself. If I have learned anything during this experience, it is that God will make it happen if it is in His plan.
Let your faith be bigger than your fear and let Him take you deeper than your feet could ever wander....
Storyteller Missions 2015 trips will be going to China, Ethiopia, India, Haiti, Kenya & Uganda. If you are being led to step out in faith on one of these trips we would love to have you join us. Team us with a friend or a group of friends and be His hands and feet to those who have no voice to share their story.