Today, World Race alumna Claire Burton (2019, Gap Y Squad) shares how she’s creating a life of ministry after returning home from her international gap year mission trip and experiencing the same God in her own neighborhood as she did across the world.
How great is it that our God is never-changing yet ever-powerful? Whether we’re overseas or in our home states, we serve the same powerful God. The same miracles He performs in the remote villages of Southeast Asia are possible in suburban neighborhoods of America. God’s power isn’t dependent on where we are – it’s not dependent on us at all, actually, because He doesn’t change.
In some of my last months on the field with Gap Squad Y, I got to witness the Lord do incredible things in a village in India. He revived and revealed Himself to a whole community through miraculous healings – He healed up to 15 people, and word of His love and power spread throughout this whole village in a matter of three weeks. People started calling upon the Lord for all their needs, and many households asked for Bibles in their native languages. It was like nothing I’d ever seen, or even dreamed of being a part of. God is so great and so gracious!
Upon arriving home in Austin, Texas, I discovered that many of my own neighbors were also fighting illnesses. My heart broke for my lack of love – I had neglected to minister to, pray for, and love the very people who lived right next door to me for almost 20 years. The Lord convicted me of this, and then reminded me of what He had just done a few short months ago in the community in India. If He can bring miraculous healing there, why couldn’t he do it in my very own neighborhood?!
Oh, that’s right. He CAN.
After many hours of prayer and fasting, the Lord put it on my heart to pray for one of my neighbors specifically. He assured me that He was going to heal him completely, and that He wanted me to go and pray for him. I didn’t know what that would look like – it seemed like his family wasn’t religious, I didn’t know them super well, and how was I supposed to lay hands and pray if we aren’t allowed to touch people right now?
I let myself get in my head for quite a few days, siking myself out and letting fear outweigh my trust in God’s power. I knew what He was calling me to, but these aren’t people in a place far far away – these are people I see every day! I tried to plan out exactly what I’d say and how it would go. I was so eager to see what He was going to do, but I was clearly afraid.
I finally reached out to the mom of their family, and she eagerly accepted my invitation to chat for a couple minutes. I walked over to her house, carrying the weight of all my plans and all my hopes to see her son walk away completely healed. But when I got there, the Lord had something different in mind. She met me outside and we stood 6 feet apart and just…talked. I told her that her son had been on my heart, and I had been praying for him every day. She was touched. She began to tell me about how she isn’t very religious, but feels certain that God is there and has a plan.
Throughout our conversation, the Lord made it abundantly clear that He was moving in her heart even as we spoke. She began to tell me miracles from her life, miracles that she was now attributing as miracles of God. She told me she believes God has a plan, and her faith seemed to be growing by the minute. She then started asking about my experience with the World Race, and I got to tell her about the very miracles that inspired my prayers for her son. She was amazed.
After such a great conversation, I asked if I could pray for her son in person. What she said next surprised me: her son had recently become very strong in his faith, completely on his own. She thinks his hope in God is what is carrying him through this – and I don’t doubt that for a minute. She said they would love for me to pray and invited me to come back someday to offer him some prayer and some company in his time of sickness.
What happened was so different than what I expected. He had gone long before me and moved in their hearts, and I was just a small piece of the puzzle. He reminded me not to put so much pressure on my part, but to trust in His. He reminded me to walk in blind obedience, not just on the across in another country on the World Race, but in my own neighborhood, and to know that the Lord’s plans are so much better than we can even imagine.
Want to hear about how World Race Gap Year can change your life, impact your faith, and set you up for future success?