Four years ago, I heard from a friend who had been on many mission trips to Zambia, Africa. She had talked to a pastor there who had alcoholics coming into his church and wanted to know what he should do. My friend called me, knowing I was in recovery.
I went online to find a meeting there. Realizing that the nearest one was over 50 miles away and very few people there have cars, I decided to prepare materials for them on how to start a meeting. I went to my recovery group meetings at my church and got funding to buy books to send. I packed up the books, included notes on how to run a meeting, and merrily sent off the package to Africa. The package got stuck in customs and never arrived. Four months went by.
I was very disappointed.
Months later, out of the clear blue, I heard this distinct message from God,
“I didn’t want you to send books. I wanted to send YOU.”
I did NOT want to go to Africa, but I knew in that moment I would go. How could I not go?
Not only was I in Zambia talking to women about alcoholism on the exact day I got sober exactly ten years prior, I was speaking on the hour I got sober. God was very specific about where I should be on that day. Not in a million years did I think that I would be talking to people in Africa ten years later about staying sober—I was just trying to stop drinking for that day in July of 2004!
My eyes were opened wide to the bigness of the problem there of alcoholism, AIDS, domestic abuse, large families living in small spaces and not enough food. Have you ever felt like a problem or challenge was too big? That whatever you did, would not even dent the problem—Nothing you could do would make a difference? Would ever be enough?
While in Zambia, I spoke to the pastors’ wives about my own alcoholism and recovery, then visited that pastor. As I sat across from him in his dirt-floor church talking about his meeting for alcoholics, I realized that God had taken me halfway around the world to encourage this one man about how to help—and that was enough. I was doing my part and God was doing the heavy lifting and changing hearts.
Now, my purpose since I have gotten sober is to carry this message to anyone who struggles with addiction as I have struggled in the past—one soul at a time, one day at a time.
And, to bring hope and let you know that there is a solution. My hope is that this weekly blog and my recovery books lift you on your recovery journey or will encourage someone you are concerned about to remain hopeful.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!””
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