As most of you know, last summer I went to the Netherlands with Northpoint Bible College. Through prayer meetings and growing closer to the people in the group, the closer we got to the trip, the more excited I got. Friends and family pitched in in amazing ways to make this trip a reality. Without you guys, this trip would have remained a dream. I knew God was asking me to take a leap of faith by going on this trip, but the end result was far beyond anything I could have imagined.
I watched God supernaturally provide everything I needed for this trip, but I also saw the impact that was made. As we spoke in churches, I watched God touch hearts with the stories that each one of us carried. My story of pain, surgeries, and the strength found in God touched so many people that I never thought I would have the honor of speaking to. I built relationships with amazing people, I prayed for individuals who were looking for hope and strength, and I cried with them as the peace of God comforted them. We were given opportunities to serve, to speak, and most importantly to love. We had days of outreach were we met people who had never understood how loved they truly were.
As we moved throughout the trip, we saw areas of church history that shaped Christianity today. I learned so much but the things I’ve grown up believing was brought to life as I walked where key figures in Church History walked. We also had a couple days of hiking that at first, didn’t seem possible. But, I watched how the group we traveled with came together and really became a family to me. These people showed me that even in my weakest moments, they were there for me. We were in this together. At times when I thought taking another step wasn’t possible, my friends took a step back to help me in continuing to take steps forward. I personally experienced the strength of God when I could not take another step in my own strength.
We may have only been there for a couple weeks, but we all made memories that will last us a lifetime. We laughed together, cried together, and grew together. The trip touched each of us and we all left knowing we experienced God move. Leaving the Netherlands, I knew one day, I would be back.
The one thing I didn’t anticipate was the timing. I figured that one day when I’m older I would take my family on a trip, or down the road I would go back to reconnect with the people I met, but God had other plans. It all started with a weekend on the Cape. A group of students went to the Cape for a weekend of bike outreach. While we went into it with the intention to serve, we were all impacted as well…
Here’s where my life went on the craziest but most amazing Amsterdam roller coaster I could imagine…
While we were on the Cape, the room we were staying in had the same scripture verse that Pastor Jan shared with us in the vineyard in Germany. At first I just thought it was a cool coincidence, but my heart was filled with joy as I remembered that moment. Then, people stopped in throughout the weekend and shared stories of their experiences in the Netherlands. Ok… Another cool coincidence? But the last person who came to share ended his time with us in prayer and that’s where this became more than a coincidence. As he was sharing his story, I started to cry because of how overwhelmed I was that everywhere I turned, everything reminded me of the Netherlands. When he was done sharing his story, some people went back outside to fix up bikes, but some of us held back to talk to him. Then we ended our conversation in prayer. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was probably the most powerful prayer session I’ve ever experienced. As each person prayed, I felt more and more of a tug on my heart to pursue this trip to the Netherlands this upcoming summer.
The weekend came to an end and we returned to school to resume our normal routines. But God had other plans… Throughout the next couple weeks, the school welcomed different people from the Netherlands; All people we worked with over the summer! It was a great time of reconnecting with them, catching up, and listening to them speak in chapel. But one night, one guest led a seminar about reaching a post-christian culture. I was interested in going to hear what he had to say, but also to reconnect with him. At the end of his seminar, he wanted to end with a time of prayer. While we all started to pray on our own, after a few minutes, the room went quiet. That’s when he said, he felt like there was a woman in the room who was being called to Holland. When she spoke those words my heart skipped a beat. Was it me? Was everything going on the past couple weeks leading up to this one moment? So many thoughts rushed into my head, but my heart knew this was for me. I responded to his question and he asked if he could pray for me. Without a hesitation I said yes and the same feeling that we had when we prayed at the Cape, came back when he was praying for me after this seminar. Two different people, two different places, but the same God.
After that moment, I knew without a doubt that I needed to sign up for this summer’s missions trip. The more that I hear about this trip, the more excited I get. It’s the same feeling I had last year, but this time it’s so much more meaningful. This time, I know what God can do on a whole other level. This time, I know that so many people are going to be impacted, including myself. This time, I know that it’s outside of my comfort zone that crazy amazing things happen. But just like last year, I can’t do it alone.
That’s where I ask for your help.
This trip isn’t cheap. Each member of the trip needs to raise $2,500. It’s a lot of money, but not an impossible amount to reach. I know that I can raise this much, but I need your help! Please join me in making my goal for 2018 become a reality. I know this is where God is guiding me, I know this is the next step after graduation, but I’m reaching out to my friends and family to make another dream possible. If you want to know more details about the trip, or if you would like to partner with me financially, you can find my profile and links to donate at: app.managedmissions.com/MyTrip/laurenkelly1 If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I LOVE to talk about what God is doing in my life! This season is filled with questions, but God is providing answers in amazing ways!
Another way you can help is please pray for this trip! Pray for me as I prepare to go back to do more work! Pray for the group as we come together to grow as a team. Pray for the missions trip that doors would be opened for us to reach people with the love of God and serve in new and exciting ways. Lastly, pray for the people of the Netherlands. That the work we do would impact the people we have the opportunity to reach.
If you can’t tell, I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to go back! I know that God is not done writing my story in the Netherlands and I need the help and support of my amazing friends and family to make this a reality! 2018 is going to be beyond anything I can imagine and I can’t wait to walk it out! LETS DO THIS! ❤