Timing is Everything. Especially God’s Timing.
In September of 2009, I went out to my dad’s to spend some quality time alone and with God. My dad and step-mom live on a beautiful farm in Arlington and I knew that I could “unplug” from my routine in order to seek God’s direction for my future. I was in desperate need of hearing Him.
God spoke to me over those few days and I knew there were several, major changes coming. I specifically heard Him tell me to start selling my material possessions and start packing my house because I would be leaving in April of 2010. I had no idea what that all meant, but I hid it in my heart and started selling everything I felt led to get rid of.
Within 3 months, the major changes had already begun. He led me to leave the church I had attended and was heavily involved in for over 12 years. This was bitter-sweet in myriad ways. I had dear friends there that didn’t understand my leaving. However, the sweet part of my leaving is that I was reunited with my family, whom I had pushed away for 12 years. I will write more about this process in future blog posts because it was one of the best decisions I ever made and I think many people have gone through similar experiences or are in them now. Needless to say, it was the tipping point for the other changes headed my way.
About a month later, I was talking to a dear friend on the phone and she mentioned a friend of hers that she thought I needed to meet. Being that I like meeting new people, I decided to act on my friends suggestion to get together with this person she highly recommended. I called her up and we decided to meet at Starbucks for some coffee.
God saw fit that Jeanne and I would meet one another on February 19, 2010 and then he confirmed to both of us over the next 2 months that He was calling us to Utila. You might be wondering where Utila is, and that is exactly what I asked the first time I had heard of it in 2009.
Utila is one of the Bay Islands, just 18 miles north off the coast of Honduras in the Caribbean. It is about 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. If you’d like to read more about the island, please check out AboutUtila and UtilaGuide.
In April 2010, Jeanne and I packed our dearest belongings and set out for this island that God had been preparing for us to do His work. Funny thing is, we had no idea what he had in store for us. I took the biggest leap of faith I’d ever taken!
For the first year of living on the island, it was clear that we were simply to get settled and get to know the people and culture of this quaint island. We remained confident that if God called us to Utila, he would show us what he wanted us to do. Sure enough, after a year of praying and waiting, the door opened for our work here.
In February 2012 some friends here introduced us to a teacher at the public school. We asked a few questions about the children and for both Jeanne and I we felt an immediate passion to help. That is when Children of Utila was birthed. Since then, with the help of God and the numerous people who have given to this cause, we have raised over $12,000!
From the first time meeting Jeanne, I would not have pictured what our life looks like today here in Utila, advocating for the poorest children at the public school. But that is exactly what God had intended from our first cup of coffee in Starbucks back in Seattle. I am so grateful to be here advocating for these children and especially to have a trenchmate!
If you want to follow the stories of the children and see the ongoing projects we are doing, you can sign up for Children of Utila’s newsletter by clicking here and come “like” us on Facebook.
Beautiful photos, Jill. I never get tired of pictures of the children!
Thank you, Jeanne! I love their sweet little faces too!
Bean, I was thinking about you today. I even looked up Utila on a map to imagine how far away we are. I miss you a lot, but I think it’s so awesome that you are helping so many kids. I love you!
Hi moonshine! I miss you too. More than I tell you. I’m not so far away…so you and Jeff need to come for a vacation and see these precious kids! Love you!
I’m amazed by how similar our background stories are…how God brought both of us to Utila. Amazing!
Wonderful, Carolyn! It’s good to know He brought you here too. Blessings!
Jilly! I’m just starting to follow your blog. Ricky & I adore you and what you are doing for these little ones, you are an amazing woman and a forever friend! I’m so sorry it never worked out to see you when you were in Seattle to help with Savannah & I was couped up at Evergreen. There’s a women’s conference coming up and all I can think about is how much I miss seeing you on those drums! Love you friend!!
Hi Michelle! Thank you for your kind words:) I know I wish I could have seen you too, but you were definitely going through it when I was home last year. I sure do miss playing drums!
Love you too!