On June 25, 2016 Faith Bible Seminary’s third cohort graduated. Several members of the graduating class served as interns at Faith Church, and so we’ve asked them to reflect on their time at Faith and give us an update as to what their future plans are. Read all of the Interns’ Lessons Learned & Future Plans posts.
When I was young I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. When asked I would usually say that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I liked animals and that seemed like the best job for me. However, that wasn’t what I saw myself doing. In truth, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I did know where I wanted to be.
I was born and raised in Tennessee. That is where I called home for over a decade. In high school most of my peers would say how they couldn’t wait to graduate and go away to college, but I wanted to stay right where I was. I loved my hometown, and the small town life that came with it. I found my identity in where I lived and I didn’t want anything to change.
In those early years I would have said that I was a Christian. I went to church. I was involved in Christian ministries at school. I even went to Christian summer camps. I did all the Christian things that youths are supposed to do. Sadly, no one looked at my fruit outside of church events and I had no accountability. I was living the Christian life, but I hadn’t truly accepted Jesus as savior and LORD of my life. This was made apparent when my family moved to Indiana.
I saw Indiana as God taking what I wanted from me, and, in truth, that is exactly what he did. I had made an idol of living in Tennessee and God lovingly removed this from my life. This revealed a heart that was incredibly rebellious. I spent the first four years in Indiana trying to replace God with anything that I thought would bring me joy. I never gave up on my idol worship of Tennessee though. I still clutched it close in my heart and told myself that I would move back when I got the opportunity.
Thankfully, God never supplied an opportunity to reconnect with my old idol. Instead, he sought me out and ripped me apart so I could see my sin clearly. He brought me to the place that made me see my need for him to be Savior and Lord of my life. He showed me how joyful it is to be serving God no matter where he calls.
Indiana has been an amazing and undeserved blessing from God. He has provided blessings richly and abundantly. He carried me through seminary and allowed me to learn how to serve him better through working in youth ministry. He has grown my family in relying upon him in all areas of our lives. He has clearly shown that his plans for my life are so much better than my own. Indiana was the best opportunity for me to grow in my relationship with Christ. I didn’t see this then, but I do now.
I often don’t see how God can use me or provide for me in the midst of unexpected ministry opportunities. Like Moses when tasked with leading the Hebrew nation, I doubt not only my abilities, but also the plan that God has. Foolishly, I am prone to think my plan the greater and trust in myself rather than the Sustainer of the universe. I love reading in Exodus how God responds to Moses when he did the same.
Moses repeatedly speaks his doubt of God’s plan, specifically because he is part of it. God’s response is patient and loving. He tells Moses that he created all, including Moses and his mouth. He knows best how they will be used, and how to make a plan successful despite who is involved. He calls Moses to do great things in courage, not because of Moses’ abilities, but because God’s plan is sovereign over all things.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:6
My family is embarking on a journey that will require us to be strong and courageous, but more importantly to trust in the Lord. Like Moses, I can look back on God’s faithfulness and see how he has sustained me with his abundant grace. My cup is overflowing with his provisions. With this knowledge, and the truth that he will not leave or forsake those who are obeying his will, my family is moving to Albania.
I would not call myself a world traveler. In fact, before getting the call to Albania I had never been on a plane ride for longer than a few hours. At first, God’s plan of doing ministry overseas seemed impossible because of my lack of experience in missions. Thankfully, ministry success is not dependent upon my abilities. We are excited in some ways and anxious in others, but we cast our worries on God. Like Joshua tasked with a seemingly impossible task we look to God for our strength and not our own talents.
We don’t speak Albanian, we have never lived in a different country, and we are thousands of miles from our friends and family. If we survey all the potential obstacles in our path it seems daunting. However, we are excited to look at all of these things through God’s eyes. We don’t see how we will traverse them but we are following God who goes before us. Like Paul says in Colossians 2:9, we will do all that God desires because he has empowered us to do so.
This next step in our life is not something that I would have planned. It is outside my comfort zone, but I trust more in God’s plan than my own. The next two years hold so much potential for us to grow and serve God. We are extremely excited to meet our brothers and sisters in Christ in Albania and to serve him however he asks. I’m not going back to Tennessee in the foreseeable future, and I’m more than ok with that. I’ve discovered that where I really want to be is wherever God wants me to be.