I’ve been wanting to write THIS post for over a year now. Finally–tonight I write it. And I’m not sure how it will turn out…because there is so much I would like to say about this girl…
Some of you may have heard of her…or read her blog “Compass to my Heart”. Her name is Christie Cotney…very soon-to-be Magera…as she has met her beau–but that’s not the beginning of this beautiful story. And while my part in it is very microscopic–I am honored to call her a friend and to be a part of it.
Christie and I are from the same hometown. We went to high school together…only if you would have looked into our lives 15 years ago–you would have never guessed we’d be doing what we were doing now. For one, neither of us knew Jesus. And two…only our high school friends reading this are smiling…because well–you’d never peg either of us as the “mission trip” type…the skipping school and knows where a 17 year old can buy a keg type–yes. I began my walk with the Lord just after graduating from high school at the age of 18 years…and I wouldn’t run across Christie’s face again until 15 years later on Facebook. Never underestimate how God can use you…or where He might choose to.
Christie and I started messaging one another through Facebook in the Fall of 2009. I would encourage her as she had recently lost her job–and the crazy girl was selling kids clothes on the side to make rent. I stocked up on cute little outfits for Laney through her…and more dialogue between us took place. At the same time we had just gotten on the waitlist for our Isaac–and she began encouraging me in our wait…and she would get SO excited for us. She also started doing that blog hop thing we all do on adoption blogs especially…from blog to blog to blog to blog. I remember us talking about her reading Kisses by Katie and being a friend on the outside looking in…I KNEW.
I knew that she had more than just a wonder. I knew that her heart was being softened. And I could see our Great God begin to call her to Himself. She didn’t know it yet though…but looking back now–it was beautiful.
Christmas came and went–and she was still looking for a job…she was asking me to pray for her–and she was getting desperate…but she didn’t know really for what yet. THEN one night I couldn’t sleep. I got on Facebook to see she had emailed me…and for hours and hours and hours and hours—back and forth into the wee hours of the night we dialogued. About life. About pain. About the past. And I learned more about this beautiful girl that night than probably most of her dearest friends know. And I saw a beautiful creation. I also saw a little girl–who despereatly needed a Savior. She was pure. She innocent. And I saw her as God saw her…because she had met Jesus—and she was a new creation in him. The first of January 2010…would be her year. The beginning of a life with him.
Christie wanted to start her year fresh…so she asked to sponsor one of our Wiphan kids–Moses. Without a job…she said she’d sell more clothes to be able to pay for his sponsorship. I wasn’t sure if it was the smart thing for her to do–but I could see the smart thing for me to do was be quiet…and let her heart lead. While I thought she’d spend the year brainstorming ways to support Moses…she instead started brainstorming how she could be used–already without a job…to serve her new found King.
Months passed and I watched Christie grow in her love relationship with her Savior. I was thankful when she started attending David Platt’s church…but with her already radical spirit–I took a front row seat and smiled as I watched her want to do more for His glory. Christie’s facebook statuses were daily filled with what she was learning–they were challenging…some times convicting…and some times just her crazy self.
Spring came and went–and Christie began looking for mission trips to go on…Haiti? Zambia? Uganda??? ANY where??? But she had a hard time finding the right fit–and the funds to go. But she kept selling those clothes AND she moved in her sister Melinda’s basement to save money…which we all thoroughly enjoyed those Facebook statuses about her niece and dog…two things Christie is also passionate about. And then–a trip opened up…for her to travel to Uganda…and she was off.
Some may say she wasn’t ready–I mean, I know organizations that require mission trip go-ers to be believers for a certain number of years before going…but I just loved that she took off. Call me crazy, but isn’t that how Jesus called his disciples? I mean, I get what some of you will say–that we need to be trained to train…but OH to love? We just need Christ. HE IS ENOUGH. Drop your nets. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And–so she did.
Christie spent much of her summer helping with Bugaboo village in Bombo, Uganda. She kept us all updated…with her humor and more importantly with her heart. Many of her Facebook friends would get annoyed with her comments (it was eye-opening to see not everyone love to hear the day to day miracles…but not everyone will love His work or those passionate about it). I was so proud of how she handled criticism in her first months as a believer–she continously turned to what was TRUE and to her calling. And I–I couldn’t help but be amazed. Because…you see, just six months earlier I saw a transformed heart unfold…and I know her story–and her tender heart. It bleeds for others…and when she came back to the states…she only lasted a few months here…realizing this was not her home. She was made to serve and to love the people of Uganda–and the compass of her heart points to her Creator…and for her–she has been called to Uganda.
The amazing thing is–she is faithfully following. No time to set up a “non-profit”…she thought Jesus was enough and she is trusting Him to provide. Oh…how often I have such little faith. YET this new sister in Christ had faith to move mountains.
Even now in Uganda, Christie has made a “faith list” for their ministry. A list she is trusting the Lord to provide…
Electricity (for entire school property) – $4,500
Teacher’s Units (4) – $14,000
Refuge Units (2) – $10,000
4×4 Van – $12,000
School Kitchen – $2,000
Finishing our home – $2,000
Soccer Team – $500+
If you would like to give—and be a part of what God is doing through this sister-in-Christ…you can go to her blog Compass In My Heart . If you learned about her story through my blog–tell her I sent you…and if you give–until she is an established non-profit you won’t get a tax deduction either by the way. Sadly–some of us care about that. And it will stop some from giving. BUT Jesus said “store up your treasures in heaven” and “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”…so I think there is nothing sweeter or meaningful or precious than giving where credit on this Earth will not be returned in any way. Yes–it’s hard for us…and some times unheard of…BUT so is becoming a believer and packing up and following God to Uganda in the same year too. We serve the God of wonders–everything He calls you to won’t make sense in this world…but IT WILL BE WORTH IT. Will you prayerfully consider joining Christie? No, you don’t have to pick up and move there. She has moved her world to Uganda because He called her…but others will be called to help right where they are. Will you prayerfully consider joining her financially…by giving up one thing this month and instead use that money to go toward something on her faith list?
And in the mean time–add her blog to your blog “must read” list too. I have seen more miracles through this girl in one year–and her story is one that I just can’t not be a part of. She also recently got engaged to her side-kick ministry partner George–a godly Ugandan man…so to say Christie isn’t coming home is not true. CHRISTIE IS HOME. And there is not other place she’d rather be.
Thank you Christie for never giving up during the hard times in your life…for not letting others distroy your spirit…and for loving unconditionally THE WORLD even before you knew Him. It is an honor to be your friend…and to have a microscopic small part in your story. When I’m old and grey…and in a rocking chair thinking about moments I treasure…those 3am emails will be one of them. I love seeing Christ in you. Your life WAS day-in-day-out traffic…and NOW–you are pumping water, dressing wounds, being a mother to many and being the hands of Jesus in a way few of us will ever experience. How thankful we are for your heart and your obedience. Thank you for being a light…and for having the courage to go.
To those of you encouraged by Christie’s story…Never underestimate how God may use your past friendships and your time investing in them for His glory. Never underestimate how He can use you if you are just now getting to know Him. He is the God of wonders…and He can move mountains through those who trust in Him.
Praying for you Christie as you move mountains in lives of Ugandans for His glory…I pray that He raises up a multitude to join you through giving. To read more go to http://compassinmyheart.blogspot.com