Dear Friends and Family-

It’s hard to believe that I’m going out of the country for the first time in a very long time, and on a mission trip. When you prepare to go on a mission trip, it makes you think and reflect on WHY you might be doing it?   What will you learn? What is my purpose and reason?   Well, I haven’t even left for Belize yet, I’ve learned SO much. And as I continue to prepare I’ve had a chance to reflect on my different bits and pieces of my life.   I’d like to share a few- I hope they make sense, but these were some big lessons I learned about fear.

I don’t know why, but I had this fear of asking for help. I think we all do. I tend to be an “I’ll figure it out and make it happen” kind of person.   This late fall- when things were very challenging between Keith and I, and I was a mess and feeling very helpless, I reached out for help for the first time.  I kept hearing this voice I’ve heard before, but this time I listened. The voice was simply saying, share your burden, your struggle.   And I did. Reaching out for help gave me some strength and courage, but I still wavered quite a bit, and wondered what people would think of me. But for the first time I really asked for prayer and for support. And not only did I feel lifted up to have people pray for me, but my friends held me accountable and I was able to have some inner peace that I had not felt in a long while. And you know what happened, things did get better between Keith and I. Not perfect- there is still a lot of work to do, but there was peace and hope. And one other thing I learned is that through my being open and honest, I was actually able to relate to others and have real conversations that sounded like, “we had a hard time too, here’s what we did, me too, pray about it, and I’ll pray for you.” This was such an encouraging and refreshing step for me to hear the walks of other Christian women and their marriages. And had I not said something, perhaps I’d still be in that lonely dark place being afraid of what other people might think.


So not only did I have this going on but after our packing meeting for Belize, things became so REAL and overwhelming.   I became afraid and didn’t share this with anyone. Meanwhile, fear kept creeping in making things worse and darker. Our money for the trip was due on a Tuesday in February and I still had $1000 to raise.   Between that and working through other things, my head was spinning and I felt paralyzed with fear.

I reached out again. But what was different this time is that I’ve been learning and praying over everything in my life. In the study I was doing, the verse from Luke 11:5-12 kept coming up over and over the last week few weeks because it came up in my devotionals, the boys devotional, in my financial coaching class.  God was telling me- you need to know and understand this.

One of the main things I’ve learned and continue to learn is to ask for help and that I’m not in control. And if you really know me, you know how much of a control freak I really am J, and I continue to work through letting go and trusting in God when I know I can’t trust myself.

Cary and Georgia our trip leaders have encouraged us to send out our letters to help raise funds. This is a great way to share the great news of what I was preparing to do in Belize and that many times we may find that we might be blessed. And I don’t know WHY I was so afraid to share this journey with you? Looking back at the whole thing, it seems so silly.  And again, asking for help has never been my strong suit, but it was this lingering, “I know I need too to do this” and I just didn’t. I finally reached out to Cary and she said, “how can I help?” and I asked her to hold me accountable. Not only did she do that and check on me, but also she prayed for me throughout the day and would text me to let me know she did. So I did it. It was so amazing to see the power of prayer working to encourage me. I went ahead and sent out the letter I had written almost 5 months ago and I finally posted on Facebook on the 4th again and asked for help.

Instantly I received another donation and then a dear friend of mine checked in with me via Facebook. Here is how the conversation went:


FRIEND: How is it going towards the goal? We have been praying for you, and this journey that you are on!


ME: So far so good. I still have 975 to go! But 3 people said they have checks for me! So YAY! Thank you for your prayers! Please pray that I may be obedient and do what God is asking me to do. I have a few fundraisers I might do too! I just have to not let fear overwhelm me. Focus on LOVE.


Literally after this message, I DID finally take my letters and put them in the mailbox.   I felt like yes, I’ve followed through. And already I felt such a huge relief come over me. I come back in and get back onto Facebook and this is what I found:


FRIEND: We are going through some things right now. You are on our thought and we are wanting to fund the rest of your trip! So please let the money part of this trip not be a fear or distraction at all of the real focus of God’s energy for you and this part of your journey. We will make this payment as soon as you are settled with the others that would like to give (we do not want to get in the way of others feeling led) Let us know what the amount is when all is said and done! We got this so that you can go get it!! God is doing a lot of work on our hearts, and minds right now. We both feel that this is something God is putting on our hearts! Obedience is a big part of it, and FEAR is the rest! Trusting in Gods love and to you! You did it, You made this happen, You are being Obedient, You are furthering God’s kingdom, YOU!!! Way to go! Love to you.


If the other checks do not come through we will take care of the $975. Please no more fear or stress based in the money!!!


On Feb. 4th when you sent out your message about Fear, we had just been notified that XXX has been laid off! It was a shock to him as well as his manager. He is the number 3 engineer on a team of 11. He was just honored for being an outstanding role model last year and had a wonderful review in January. So go figure. This all have to part of God’s plan. We wouldn’t be here in TN without his blessings. All that being said, he was given 19 weeks severance with full benefits. We are realizing how easy it is to be giving and obedient when things are going great and now we may be having a more difficult walk, but, we do not want to stop listening to our hearts when God speaks to us. The money that we can offer you is coming from some stocks that we were forced to sell on the 4th. I have been praying to have a way to help you with the money part of this trip and XXX was praying about where to make a donation with the tithe part of the stock sale(I didn’t know he was) when BAM today we were going over our finances and he told me he made a donation to a guys kid that has the chance to go on a mission trip, I smiled and told him about your Feb. 4th message and that I would love to help you. He just smiled and then told me about what he was praying for (a person or charity to make a donation to) BAM BAM there we are!! We are so so so happy to be able to make this happen!! God is Good…ALL the time!!



Please note, that this lesson was not about getting the money, but about being obedient and doing what God wants us to do and then seeing the great gifts he has for us. The amazing thing is that not only did a huge weight lifted off of me, additional donations came in, my trip has been funded, and hopefully my friend will also be able to bless someone else through the journey as well! I also learned more in really understanding obedience what it really means.   It’s a very tough lesson to learn and I’m still learning it and so thankful for it my friend sharing this with me.   God is so good!



I know that in these tough times we hear stories, true miracles that take place, and I wanted to share this with you because not only have I been learning to ask for help when I need it, to let go of control because I don’t have it, and to just be obedient, because that’s what we are asked to do, all much easier said than done. I feel like God continues to remind of this blessing and the need to share it with you!


I’m learning that my life is really full of many blessings daily and really hourly.    I’ve also learned that each person in my life has been placed for just the right reason through each season of my life.   Which is why I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for you and your family for the blessing you have been to me and my family.   And I wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything specifically that I can pray about for you, please call, write, email, or message me on Facebook! THANK YOU for your generosity and I look forward to sharing many more lessons that I learn through this journey!


I would be so honored if you would continue to keep us in your prayers.   Please pray for Keith and his health and overall well-being.   Pray that I continue to be obedient and not allow me to become fearful or anxious.   And for Keith and the boys to not worry or be afraid while I’m gone and for the Holy Spirit to be with the boys always when they are with friends, at school and away from Keith and I, that they may make choices that please God always.


I’ll be in Belize April 5-11th!   I look forward to connecting with you again soon!


With lots of love and light!


Irene Gouge Sleep Coach Signature



Here are some instructions, If you would like to follow me while I’m on my trip:

Go to

  • Click on the yellow, Trip In Progress button
  • Click Belize
  • Have them click on the name of your group HOPE FOR BELIZE (Which is typically your church or group name unless your group is 10 or less in that case your info will be listed under the larger group’s church name).
  • If they would like to leave a comment, have them click the Add Comment button:
  • Their password is: SERVE


PSS. Sorry you missed this opportunity, but you can of course head over and read our journal experience while we were there!




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