"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

I hardly can talk enough about our Courtney without getting all emotional at times! She is precious, beautiful, smart, talented, and is a follower of God. She loves Jesus and wants to do what He has called her to do on this side of Heaven. In fact, we are called by Him to be leaders in our own capacity for His kingdom.
Courtney, her whole life, has devoted herself to others. In middle and high school she'd spend her lunch in the special education classes at her school. She'd devote her time to helping and loving others no matter who they were or what they looked like. She wouldn't dare miss an opportunity of letting someone know how important they are and that they mattered! She also had a deep love for volunteering at her local Special Olympics each year and loved cheering on her team members as they crossed the finish line!
I was in 7th grade when I became an aunt to Courtney so I'm quite sure that I'm not even touching the surface when it comes to her heart and love for others in Jesus during her early childhood and preteen years. I do remember from early on that she's always wanted to help others. She's wanted to do more for others than pray for them. She wanted to "get her hands dirty" for them for Jesus. That was her personality, her passion.
She's not only wanted to pray for others and led them to Jesus, she's also wanted to help them in any capacity possible. She's enjoyed working and completing many local humanitarian projects too. The last one that she was involved with, she led herself. She saw the need at a local shelter for a new playground for the shelter's children. She wrote and mailed letters asking family and friends to pray for her project and if they wanted to give that would be awesome too. When the project was finalized, she along with many volunteers looked back at the wonderful brand new playground they had created for many many children. I remember being so proud of her for this project that I called the local newspaper to interview her, ha!
Big C has also found herself going across the borders to tell others that Jesus loves them. When I found out I was pregnant with C, Big C was in Mexico spreading the good news to others.
As I am typing this, our big C is in Africa some 7000+ plus miles and 29 hours away from what she knows! She's defintely out of her comfort zone but maybe for her she's really not! When she was in 7th grade she told her parents that she wanted to go to Africa. This was her dream! This past fall she was sitting in an FCA meeting at Clemson listening as a speaker presented to students about going to Africa for missions. As I was reading this very story in a letter from her asking for prayers for Africa and donations, I was too excited for this opportunity for her! In her letter, C said she prayed for years that she would have the chance to go to Africa and she felt called that night, in that FCA meeting by God to go. The calling from God on her to go to Africa brought her to tears. She was amazed that He called her and so she listened and obeyed.
Our girl won't be home until June 8th but I can already tell that she's going to have lots of stories to share about how she loved on those children in the orphanage, where she was assigned for this mission.
I'm so proud of Courtney! In her short life she's done far greater than most (even me) for God. Ever since her Mexico mission I've predicted that she'll be called into missions and it won't be for this continent (ultimately its up to God, right!). I asked her before going to Africa that if God called her there for her life's job for Him would she go. Her response, ABSOLUTELY, in a HEARTBEAT!
Courtney is a special education major at Clemson (not surprising). I can't wait to see what God has in store for her life. Courtney has defintely impacted my life far than she'll ever know! She's wise beyond her 18 years. I love her. I'm thankful for her. I'm glad she's His!

Courtney left for Africa last Tuesday!
We surprised her in Charlotte before her flight to Africa!

My family with our Big C!

I wanted Courtney to have a plethra of  mission Bible verses
to read while in Africa! So, I filled this book,
cover to cover with them. As you can tell from the first
picture, she was overjoyed by it!

The gang before sending our girl off!
Kelsey, Courtney, Caroline, Me, Grandmother, Rhonda,
Sam, Granddad, and Darren

She's taking this "I Love Africa" shirt to
Africa to give away! All the girls got one and were
told to give them away to the locals when they got there!
We (her mom, me, sister, and Grandmother) 
bought one to wear for when we pick her up
from the airport!

Laying hands on and praying for the Clemson
student missionaries going to Africa!
This was a powerful scene as you can imagine!
We were all emotional after this!
So glad that my family was apart of it!

Her book of verses from The Book!

The Charlotte airport was very overwhelming. Maybe its my take on it since being an adult. I've flown before but yikes, it was organized chaos!
Here's our girl all relaxed and ready to go! By the way she packed 4 bags! The green luggage is the only one for her for her 3 week stay! The other 3 bags are full (100 lbs +) of things she's personally taking and leaving for the orphanage.

C and Kelsey! Kelsey is headed to
Guatemala in July for a mission!

Lots of love! You bet!

Oh, how I love this girl!

In line, excited, and ready to go!
One last smile from our big girl!

This was such a mommy/daughter moment! Both of these girls are strong as nails. My sister is not generally emotional, but last Tuesday she was. I know the emotions extended from being happy, that her precious daughter's dreams are coming true, from sad to not knowing her every moment whether easy or difficult while telling others about Jesus, in a foreign country.
We waited near that line till we could no longer see Big C. Caroline was the last one to see her as she was on Uncle D's shoulders! As we left the airport, mostly in silence, I'm sure all of our thoughts (well mine at least) were about Africa and the Kenyans and how their world was about to be a better place because a big group of student missionaries from Clemson, SC, called by God, were coming there way to tell them the greatest news! Now that's BIG!


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A MilShelb Mom said...

What an awesome post about your niece! She seems like an awesome girl. I will keep her in my prayers as she travels and spreads God's word.