I left Nashville for Peru with so many drugs I'm surprised it wasn't illegal. I had every kind of medicine I could get - just in case I got sick in Peru, a possibility that scared me more than I cared to admit.
After our first day in Peru, I was still feeling good. But, I woke up the next morning and noticed - I couldn't breathe through my nose!
All my senses snapped into place, and I frantically searched through my explosion of a suitcase for my medicine bag. I found a Mucinex and two vitamins, and took them in one gulp. I was not going to get sick in the middle of South America, not if I could help it.
But, as usual, God had other plans.
I woke up on the next Saturday morning, my stomach churning, feeling like I might throw up. I was absolutely terrified - there was no way I could be sick. Absolutely no way. Other people got sick, but not me. I couldn't be sick.
I went through the morning doing our normal activities, but when we got back to the church later, I couldn't even eat lunch. I just collapsed on my mattress.
I knew I was going to throw up. I had that feeling. That feeling you get in your gut and you just know you're gonna puke.
Now, a little background info on me: I absolutely hate throwing up. I would rather have a hacking cough for months than throw up once. I hate it.
So, I'm in the middle of South America, in a strange country, with no Mama and Daddy to take care of me. There was no one. I sat in the bathroom for an hour and half, hyperventilating and tearing up because I knew I was gonna throw up. And I was absolutely terrified.
But, you know what? When no one else was there, when I felt completely alone, like I had no one to help me, I was on my own, God was there.
I threw up, sure. I felt like crap for the last two days in Peru, and even when I got home. But, no matter how crappy or how alone I felt, God was there.
God taught me that missions is a battle field. Satan will do whatever it takes to get you out, to take down God's warriors. He'll take out the people you love the most. He'll isolate you so that you feel alone. He knows your worst fears and will do anything he can to bring them to reality.
I was a part of a spiritual battle in Peru, and I was injured. Satan brought me down with some kind of gross stomach bug. But, even then, I could feel God as my leader, my general, sitting next to me, screaming not to quit, that I had to pull through, that my fellow soldiers needed me. And, with His help, I did.
But, Peru was only a battle. The war is going on every moment of every day. Every unkind word you say to your mom or your little brother, every selfish thought, every time you lash out in anger, that's Satan's spies trying to infiltrate our camp.
Every time a family member dies, or your house burns down, or you have to go to the hospital, that's Satan trying to take down God's mighty warriors by taking down the things we care about.
But, through all that, God is right next to us with a giant sword, cheering us on, screaming at us not to quit. When everything else is gone - your house, your family, your friends - God is still there.
God fought to the death for us. Let's see if we can do the same for Him.