It shocks me til this very day how easily we can let our relationship with God become a boring routine. Clocking in to our prayer times or to a church service from muscle memory and nothing more. The past few years God has been trying to shake me awake from my long and groggy daze. He has peeled back the fuzzy film through which I was viewing the world. That’s the funny thing about all this is you never really know that you weren’t experiencing the most of life until you get a glimpse with clear vision. The same way people go years without glasses not realizing it’s not normal for the world to be hazy. But once you put the lenses on, there’s no going back. If I had to pick one simple metaphor and concept to describe the past season of my life, that is it. I once was blind, but now I see.
When God knocked at my door, I followed him out and I haven’t ever come back to pick up the anger, the depression, and the bitterness I left behind. He has shown me so much of the world (metaphorically and literally). Over the past few years I have been to several countries and states all over the globe. But I have also stayed. I committed 2 years of my life to The MVMNT Internship straight out of high school and the combination of the travelling and planting myself and committing to the church has shaken my life. He has shown me the world but He has also shown me myself.
He turned my mourning into dancing and set me free from all my shame. There was no way I could keep it to myself.
I have been doing my part serving at my church, The Harvest and leading small groups, disciplining girls, serving in the office. Wherever I could lend my time and my heart, I was there. And with every passing day, even when I am exhausted or worn-out, I am reminded of the words of Isaiah “Here I am, send me.” And that He has.
I was surprised last month when the opportunity came up for my best friend Shelbie and I to be sent to London this September for 10 weeks. Our Pastor knows of a church in central London that could use some help bringing life to the congregation and the city and by an amazing (and rather sudden) turn of events we were both enlisted to take this journey together.
What is especially shocking to me is that I have been praying since I took a vacation there in March that God would bring me back to the city my heart was so in love with and broken for. Every time I would take a bus or walk the streets, all I could think of was different ways to come back and be a light in that city. As soon as I came home I began to research costs of living, missions programs, churches, internships, and anything like that that would help me get the foot in the door of this unrealistic dream. No one knew about it because honestly it seemed too good to be true. But God knew. And He saw my heart and heard my prayers.
A few weeks later, my Pastor was speaking about shaking up your faith so you don’t grow complacent. The whole sermon I just felt a burning in my heart for the city of London. I tried to keep my tears back with the compassion that was consuming me. Towards the end of the sermon, God gave me a vision and in the vision I was standing in front of Him and He handed me a London snow globe that the snow had stopped falling on. It was all settled on the bottom. As I was looking at it He said to me “I need you to turn the city upside down.” I tipped the little snow globe and watched as the snow fell all over the city again and felt the most amazing peace and satisfaction in that moment. I knew the snow was signifying the love God wanted to pour out over the city.
What I believed was a promise that would take years to fulfill took mere weeks. And now, here I am. He is sending me and I leave this September (with my best friend nonetheless) to go love on the people of London and serve and build up the church we are partnering with.
It is all exciting and I know there will be challenges but I know with even more conviction that He is good. Even now, I still tear up with the endless reminders of His faithfulness to me.
All that’s left between me and this journey is a couple of months and some funding. Which is where I reach out to you, already grateful that you have taken the time to read this testimony of God’s goodness in my life. Between now and the first week of September, roughly 2 months, I need to raise about $2,000 dollars. I have a huge peace about this because I know that without a shadow of a doubt, God has called me to this.
But if you feel lead to help Shelbie and myself in this endeavor, we would be incredibly grateful for any financial and prayerful support. Any dollar or thought towards us as we take this on is a blessing. Any financial contributions can be made through the Harvest Church by going to bit.ly/HelpUsGoToLondon or to my PayPal account: Bianca.Barja@gmail.com.
And if you are not able to contribute financially at this time, all we can ask is for your prayers. We will be interceding for the city of London, the pastors and congregation of Cross Street Baptist Church in London, and for God to do His will in and through us on this trip.
We will be starting a blog/newsletter here soon as well to keep everyone updated on this amazing opportunity, so keep your eyes peeled!
Thank you again so much for your support! We are incredibly grateful!