The Lord has been so very gracious and faithful to me over the last few years. When I moved to the DFW metroplex for grad school in 2009 I had no idea the journey I was beginning, and at that point I had no intention of still being in the Dallas area nearly five years later. In the last five years I have graduated from DBU with a Master of Arts in Student Ministry. I also started a new job with an organization called Go Now Missions. I help plan mission trips for college students, walking alongside the students from the beginning of their application process all the way through their trip; in my mind it is the perfect mix of details, organizing, and shepherding students. I have also become very active in my church: First Baptist Irving. Currently I am on the leadership of a new singles class that launched in January. It is a joy to be part of a local church that takes the Lord’s command to GO seriously.
It has also been five years since I took my last overseas mission trip. Even before beginning work at Go Now, I felt a heavy desire placed on my heart to be a sender and a prayer partner for those who are called to go. I can honestly say I have found great joy in playing the role of supporter/prayer partner. I have waited patiently for my opportunity to go again, but if there’s anything God has taught me during this season of my life, it is to find joy through SERVING while you are waiting.
I have the opportunity to travel to the Philippines with First Irving this summer, partnering with some career missionaries who have been serving there for years. Our trip will be the last week of July. At this point in the planning stages it looks like our trip will have 2 parts to it: we will be doing some construction work around a local seminary and will also be doing some evangelism training with some local believers. The area where we will be working is an area where the missionaries have been praying about beginning a ministry- a city that seems to be ripe for the harvest yet overcome by false religion over the last decade. We look forward to literally getting our hands dirty so that seminary students from all over the world can have a well-functioning place to be equipped for ministering in the places where the Lord sends them. We are also looking forward to training believers in how to share the Gospel with people who worship a false god. We will be partnering with some local believers in both aspects of the trip. This is my favorite thing about this trip- all we can offer is a life-changing Gospel with the hopes that the locals will take ownership of it and begin to impact their own people with the Gospel. One of my biggest passions is equipping other believers to use the gifts that God has given them. I absolutely love watching people figure out their God given gifts and then seeing them take off and use their gifts to advance the kingdom. This is the thing that initially drew me to this trip. The more I researched the Philippines and got to know the heart of the missionaries we are partnering with, the more excited I became about this opportunity.
I send you this letter to give you the opportunity to partner with our mission in the Philippines. As one who has seen the power of prayer ministry behind mission trips, I beg you to join our team by covering us in prayer beginning today until the day we return, July 27th. At this point we only have 4 people going on our team, but we would love for you to join us by praying specifically for our team. More prayer topics will come as we get closer.
I also know that some have the ability and calling to give financially to trips like this one. In no way do I want to pressure anyone, but I also know better than to stand in the way of people doing what the Lord calls them to do. I currently still need to raise a little more than $1100. There are 2 ways you can give- you can send checks to me or to the church (please do not mail cash). If you send a check make sure you make it out to First Irving and put my name in the memo line. There is also an option of giving online through the church’s website as well. Here are the instructions for giving online:
- Click on the “Give” tab
- Click on the link “One Time Contributions”
- Select the fund “Philippines 2014”
- Select my name “Erica Valenta”
Again, I am extremely excited that I have the opportunity to go once more, and I ecstatically invite you to join me on this mission. Your prayers are cherished above all else. If you feel led to give financially, that would be welcomed as well. I’m thankful to be surrounded by a body of believers, literally from around the world, who share my desire to see all nations come to know the Father.
Until the Whole World Hears,