I’ve heard that things always get mixed up when you make plans to go on a mission trip to Russia. It was June 1st. I held an airline ticket in one hand, and my travel visa in the other. My ticket to Russia said "June 4th", my Visa said I could not enter Russia until July 1st. Opps! I had a flight to catch in three days, but I wouldn’t be allowed into Russia without that visa. Things were all mixed up.
I spent the day on the phone with embassies, airlines and everyone I knew in Europe. The airlines explained that I had to fly out of the USA on June 4th, or I couldn't fly at all. The lady from the airlines also said I could take a one month "lay-over" in Holland, then continue my flight to Russia in July. I say my plans fall apart, but my mom said "Maybe this is God's way of getting you to a destination you hadn't expected. Maybe the Lord has better plans"
My mom was right. A few days later I woke up at a castle in the Austrian Alps. The Castle was conference center for missionaries. Ahhhh… Sunlight and roses, wild strawberries and mountain air. Somehow I ended up with two perfect jobs. In the mornings I would serve breakfast to the castle guests. Then I would spend a few hours on the hillside designing and planting rock gardens.
How quiet, how beautiful, such perfect peace. From the hillside I could look over the lake that filled the valley below. I was surrounded mountains green with the forests and with pastures where sheep would graze.
Most afternoons I would follow a trial into the village of Milsatt in the valley. My first stop was always the post office, to collect the letters that my future husband, he wrote nearly everyday. I wouldn't open my mail just yet, as I followed the winding cobblestone streets to the ice-cream shop or the bakery, or both. Then I would explore the 700 year old village, looking for a lovely spot to read my letters.
On my way back to the castle I would follow the lane that ran along the lake. There was a dock and a few small boats. I was free to use them in the afternoon. I would often join a group of others who were also volunteering at the castle. Someone always had a guitar, and the valley echoed with the voices of Christians from all over the globe, singing to God. How could I not be moved to worship Him too? I surrounded by the glory of His magnificent creation, And I had to wonder why He cared to bring me to this place.
Why did God allow my plans to fall apart? I was on my way to a dirty Russian city, I was ready and willing to work hard, endure sacrifice, give up comfort and even suffer for His sake... (Once I got there is was tougher than I could have imagined) But why was I suddenly living like a princess? I sat on the dock, and wondered why all the blessings? Why the peace? Why the beauty? This isn't the life of a missionary that I expected!
But then I realized that perhaps God wanted to show me what it meant to be a daughter of the King, His own dear child. Perhaps I had a glimpse of heaven. I think He wanted to show me His greatness, His majesty, and His Glory. He wanted to renew my spirit, and restore my soul. He wanted to spend hours walking with me on mountain trails, and listening to my prayers and songs from the look-out tower. He wanted me to just be still as I looked over flocks of sheep at pasture. As I watched them I reflected on the words of Psalm 23 " The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
Often I forget to make time for peace, for reflection, for prayer, for rest, for worship, but my Shepherd is faithful, and He knows that I just a little lamb. It is His joy to lead me beside the still waters, It is His delight to restore my soul. And in my 29 years there is one more thing I've learned It doesn't always take a castle, but peace comes when God takes the time to mix up my plans, and give me His instead.