It’s FRIDAY! I’m so excited to feature one of my sweet friends, Anna, on the blog today !! Not only is she my name twin, but she is also an aspiring photographer who just so happened to adventure to Eleuthera with me this summer!!! Today she’s sharing a piece of her heart on the blog and what God did during her trip!! Feel free to leave her some love & encouragement in the comments section!!! xo AnnaFilly
This period of my life has been filled with opportunities that feel uncomfortable, like writing this blog post. But college, of all times, is the best time to do all of those things that you were too scared to do when you were younger and may be to busy to do when you are older, to jump out on a limb and do something extraordinary, to do something that you will be able to tell your kids someday, hoping to inspire them to never be scared to take a chance.
I met Anna Filly at the People of Mars Hill Church in Mobile, AL during my second semester of my freshman year at the University of South Alabama. I could choose now to go on and on about how if I look back on certain miniscule choices and events in my life, it’s what got me to this moment and that it was God’s plan all along, and all of that is true, but the main point is that Anna Filly, this girl I barely knew, told me and my best friend about this awesome mission trip opportunity.
So why not jump on board?
The decision was totally logical: go on a trip to a foreign country where you really only knew one person.
Grace helped solidify my quick decision to go, but it was also my adventurous spirit that I was going on this mission trip to Eleuthera, Bahamas. Of course I was super excited about it, and my excitement for this trip didn’t start to fade until financially, I couldn’t back out. It put me in a very sticky situation on not being able to back out without losing money.
The closer the trip got, the more outlandish reasons as to why I couldn’t go suddenly came to mind. I couldn’t go because of work (even though I already had those days off). I couldn’t go because I needed to spend time with my friends and family. I’m pretty sure at one point that even my dog was a fathomable excuse for my nervous mind.
The main reason that I came up with for not being able to go, though, was because I couldn’t come up with even one reason why I was supposed to go.
Grace was so excited, and this trip was all that she could talk about it in the months leading up to it. It was her first mission trip, and she already viewed it as her healing sanctuary before we even stepped foot there. The same anxious excitement and curiosity seemed to be present in everyone that I knew so far who was going, but I had no idea why in the world I was even going.
And to be honest, it was slightly terrifying.
I started having extremely negative thoughts. Like, that I wasn’t even supposed to be going on this trip, that I had misread what God had told me to do….
Annnnnnd these types of thoughts aren’t the best, especially if you are already second-guessing whether or not you still want to embark on a new adventure.
Luckily for me, though, God always knows and does what is best. Always.
So many encouraging people were sent my way every time I started thinking negatively. They reminded me that I was indeed supposed to go, and God was going to do great things. It’s a good thing that I was surrounded by these people, too, because without them I may have been able to convince myself to not go on the trip.
I would have missed so much, missed out on so many things that ultimately helped me regain passion and peace.
I went into this whole experience with an open mind because since I really didn’t even know why I was going, I couldn’t exactly have a closed mind.
When you first get to the beautiful Gregory Town, Eleuthera, Bahamas, warm, little, smiling Bahamian babies greet you. Even if they have never seen you in their entire life, they still love on you like they’ve known you forever. Naturally, you gravitate towards these kids because they are so accepting, and I mean why wouldn’t you? You would be crazy if you actually turned away one of their genuine hugs accompanied by their bright, white smiles, the type of hug and smile that makes you forget all of your worries.
But for me, sadly for me, I just didn’t feel like those warm and inviting Bahamian babies was where I was going to make the biggest impact, as scary as it was to admit that to myself.
I was so embarrassingly scared that I still wouldn’t have a purpose…until I met Delroy.
Oh, Delroy. Sweet, sweet Dleroy. Where do I even start? Should I start with how he was a miracle? How he helped bring me clarity? Delroy was a much needed answered prayer, and that answer couldn’t have come in a sweeter, more unexpected way.
Delroy was in a car accident from drinking and driving. He was the one drinking, and he was also the one driving. The passenger didn’t make it, and at first, Delroy was not expected to live either… but he did. Soon after the accident, Delroy was told that he would never walk again….but he did that too. He was and is a testament of determination and faith that God can and will do great things.
Before I met Delroy, I was beginning to doubt whether or not I still wanted to be a physical therapist. It was the career I was going to school for, the career I had always dreamed of having, but suddenly, I began doubting my career choice and that scared me. Especially since I had no back up plan.
But, in the midst of my doubt, God placed Delroy in my life.
Every moment spent with Delroy was a God-given gift. Getting to watch him work on stretching his hands, walk while swinging his arms, kick a soccer ball, swim for the first time since his accident with no fear- it all fascinated and inspired me and reminded me just how special Delroy was. Delroy was so genuine and a gift to the island.
I’ll never forget his big heart that dreamt of someday finding love, that watched after his nephews like they were his own kids, that was determined to someday be able to run again, that sang out words to a worship song bringing tears to my eyes, that despite all that had happened to him still would tell anyone that God is a good God all of the time. There are only a very few people whom have that much pureness and forgiveness within their soul whom allow God’s grace to overflow in them.
Like I said, Delroy was a answered prayer that brought clarity and sparked the passion I had lost, and I will be eternally grateful.
This island, this place that I tried so hard to convince myself that I wasn’t supposed to go is exactly where I needed to be. My short time there brought me clearness, it helped me be able to fall asleep in a matter of minutes rather than hours, and it gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone. This trip surrounded me with truly encouraging and God-loving people and introduced me to a group of beautiful, inspiring girls that I so desperately needed in my life. Eleuthera brought into my life sweet Delroy, and he along with all of the other islanders will forever hold a place in my heart.
A once heard a person say that “doubt is just faith seeking understanding.” Doubt doesn’t necessarily mean that you stop loving God, that you stop completely trusting him. We are all human and we can never be truly fearless, but never let your doubt, your fear stop you from what God is so unwaveringly telling you to do. Great discoveries and clarity arise from what once was great doubt. God is always faithful, and even if at some point we feel doubt, He will always bring what we need and when we need it.
– Anna Puckett