flabbergasted.

Flabbergasted is a word I never foresaw myself using to describe worshipping God. Or at least that was the truth until today. I woke up and saw a notification on my phone about a donation that left me with less than $300 to fundraise to serve in Africa. I was speechless, the only word coming to my mind being “flabbergasted.”

I thought, “Really, God? There has to be a word to better describe this feeling.” You see, I thought “flabbergasted” had a negative connotation, so I was confused about why this was the word at the forefront of my thoughts. Out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning.

Amazed. Astonished. Astounded.

Okay, yep. That’s exactly how I felt while still laying in bed in complete awe of our Provider. I could hardly believe I was so close to being fully funded. My fundraising prayer that past few days was that God would provide a large donation, and He did just that. A few hours passed and donations came pouring in. My personal goal was to be done fundraising by July 31st, yet He provided by the 28th.

During this month of fundraising, I have found myself in complete awe of God. I have seen Him provide in ways that I can’t even try to claim as my own doing. He has provided me with a peace and calmness completely opposite of my normal character. He has brought all glory to Himself.

A few weeks ago I was brought to this scripture:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:6-11

Humbled is what I’ve been.

I’ve learned that He cares for me. He fully loves me and I am fully accepted by Him. Nothing in this world compares to His plan for each and every person because His plan is Perfect.

So yes, I am sitting here typing this fully flabbergasted by our loving Father.

Why Under the Same Tree?

Hi friends!

I’m only one week into fundraising to serve in Kenya and Uganda with Under the Same Tree (UTST) and have been incredibly blessed by your outpouring of love and support! At this moment in time, you all have helped me raise $1,051 of my $4,000 fundraising goal! I am so in awe of God with His provision through you!

In this post, I want to share with you how I was led to serve with UTST (https://www.underthesametree.com/). About a year ago, I was pursuing serving in Africa long-term with a larger organization. Though the application and interview process grew me even closer to Christ, I began feeling unrest in my heart about the path I was pursuing. It was at this point I was introduced to UTST and knew I needed to be part of this team, thus discontinuing my application with the other organization. (More details about this moment in my life here: https://ericagrogg.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/my-journey-to-yes-and-yes-again/).

At this point you may be wondering, “So, Erica, what about UTST was such an appeal to you and continues to tug at your heart?” First and foremost, UTST is Christ centered, striving to provide Gospel-centered programs to the communities it serves and its principles are rooted in fundamentals of the Christian faith. I have noticed a strong emphasis on preserving human dignity while equipping communities to prevent poverty-related vulnerabilities through economic empowerment. Here’s a question I often ask myself that I feel UTST works towards: How do we help people feel more human?

Through my work experience, reading interests, and faith, I have developed a heart for trying to answer this question. I yearn to find ways to help people feel a little more human, to feel included, and to learn how to advocate for themselves. In the time I have served alongside other volunteers at UTST, I’ve picked up on the same heart in each of us.

To wrap up, here’s where I need your help: I still need to raise $2,949. I would also love to meet with each of you one-on-one to talk more about this opportunity. To financially support this opportunity, donating straight to my PayPal account (PayPal.me/EricaGrogg) is ideal in order to avoid extra fees from GoFundMe. That being said, I do also have a GoFundMe account if you feel more comfortable donating via that route: https://www.gofundme.com/send-erica-to-africa. Whichever you decide, please know that your support is an incredible blessing.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Much love,

Erica

Psalm 67

“Okay God, I’ll go.”

“’Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’”      Psalm 46:10

To “be still” is so counterintuitive to what society screams at us. We live in such a “go-go-go” world where to pause and rest seems like a foreign act. Being still is continuously a struggle for me. It never fails, I try to control my life, which only leads to more stress and anxiety until I repent and surrender to God.

This happened to me in the recent past. I reached a point of being overwhelmed by stress and shutting down. I’ve been watching every facet of my identity begin to crumble, leaving me to discover my sole identity in Christ.

How so?

I’m leaving the comfort of a full-time job to return to school and seek a part-time job.

I’m moving out of my parents’ house to be closer to school.

I’m changing to a different church body to be able to serve in the community in which I’ll be living.

I’m experiencing the strong single woman identity I’ve built for myself come crashing down.

I’m volunteering with an organization that tugs at my heart and is leading me to Africa.

God has undeniably orchestrated the timing and presentation of each of these changes, yet I have still tried to maintain a false sense of control. It wasn’t until I metaphorically threw my hands up and said, “Okay God, I’ll go” that I found full peace in my changing life.

Now you may be asking, “Go where?” My surrender to God was specifically in regards to following His lead to change church bodies, but as I’m typing this, I’m realizing there is so much more tied into this action of going.

So once again, “Go where?”

To go where God leads me.

To exalt Him among the nations.

To exalt Him in the earth.

The simplicity of the words used in my response does not grasp the depth of the meaning. To go where God leads me means to trust the unknown, to be okay with only seeing the next step in front of me and nothing further, to let go of control.

Here’s where I need your help. In the midst of so many life changes, I have also felt called to serve in Uganda and Kenya August 12th-27th with Under the Same Tree. In regards to the timing of this trip, I am already so in awe of God: I’ll be leaving one week after moving into my apartment and returning the day before classes begin. My goal is to be fully funded by the end of July. I need to raise a total of $4,000, which breaks down to $1,000 per week. This amount will serve to provide my airfare, housing, and food, along with a donation to Under the Same Tree. Will you please prayerfully consider financially supporting my time in Africa? I would also love to meet with each of you one-on-one to talk more about this opportunity. Please check out my GoFundMe page for a simple place to financially support me and also track my progress and updates! https://www.gofundme.com/send-erica-to-africa

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Much love,

Erica