In exactly one week I will be leaving for Paris! I still can't believe I am actually doing this, and as I look back at my senior year I am amazed at how God prepared me and brought me to this point.I really believe this trip is not just for me, but something I want to share with all of you and I hope that you will be encouraged through what God is and is going to do in these next couple of weeks. But before I get to Paris, I want to share with you how God brought me this incredible opportunity.
When I was 9 years old, my family and I went on a three week mission's trip to Sophia, Bulgaria. Soon after we returned home, I was sitting in Kid's R.A.P and God spoke to me and told me that he wanted me to be a missionary. As I got older, God reminded me of his calling at different points and gave me a passion for missions. Unfortunately, life got in the way and my perception of Christ and what it meant to be a Christ follower was altered by different events in my life. So by the fall of my senior year, being a missionary for a God I didn't like very much, and who (at least I thought) definitely didn't like me was out of the question.
Eight months ago I was a very different person. Like most seniors I was stressed with college searching, and trying to figure out the rest of my life. I prayed about my future plans ALL of the time, but in my prayers I promised God that he could do whatever he wanted with my life.... Oh but I would NEVER go into the ministry.
Most of my friends knew what they wanted to study and where they were going to school, but the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to travel.Ever since my trip to Bulgaria I have had a fascination with Europe. Traveling became my passion, and that's all I wanted to do. My parents would ask me about what I thought I'd want to do after high school and going to Europe was the only answer I could give them.
However, reality set in and I knew that I couldn't just pack my bags and head off to Europe when I graduated ( or in the way I wanted to). I knew that going to college was inevitable, and I started getting excited about the possibility of going to ORU in Tulsa, OK. It wasn't Europe, but it wasn't Fort Wayne so I was excited to get out of here. My excitement turned into devastation when I didn't get the scholarship money I thought I was going to get, and there was no possible way I was going to get to go to ORU.
As I look back now, God used my excitement and disappointment about going to ORU to teach me some hard lessons, but also used that time to transform my idea about who he was and about his love for me. Last fall, I would have told you that I knew everything there is to know about being a Christian, I had God all figured out and I didn't need him because I had the motions of Christianity down perfectly. However, right before school started I was at a breaking point with God. I was sick of church and religion and told God I would give this Christian thing one more chance but he would have to do all the work. Little did I know, he had been waiting for me to come to this point. Graciously God began to reveal to me his unconditional love on a personal level that I had never know before.
It was late March when I realized my plans for college were not going to happen and I had no idea what I was going to do. I continued to pray about future plans, but this time I trusted God on a personal level, and completely gave my future to him. After a few weeks of praying, I heard about an internship opportunity in Paris at The Bridge International Church. I knew someone who is on staff there through a mutual friend that we share, and so I found her on Facebook and asked if they were still looking for interns. I wasn't sure how I felt about doing ministry all summer, but if it meant I got to travel I knew God could prepare me for anything.
I was so excited the day I got the acceptance email for the internship! I couldn't believe I was going to spend a whole summer in Paris, but I was really worried about doing ministry. As I prayed about the trip, God began to show me that he never intended for me to "do ministry," but wants me to simply share my life with people and let his love impact their lives. I had just spent a year learning how to let God love me, and now I am so excited that I get to share my story and his love with the people of Paris.
Its been quite a journey, but I know its just the beginning of what God has for me, and I can't wait for my next post which will finally be from Paris :)