Three years ago I went to San Diego for a discipleship and leadership project called Elevate. I had turned down a free trip to Australia in order to go, so I was not enthusiastic about being there the first few weeks. My leader, Kristen Dabbs, sat me down early at Elevate and told me that I had a greater capacity to be a leader, but I wasn’t exemplifying it. It is not easy having someone point out where you are not living like Christ, but it meant the world to me to have someone care enough about my walk with Christ to tell me. After that, my outlook changed and that summer altered the projection of my life. I got a job as a photographer at San Diego Bike and Kayak where I got to start to live out being missional towards my coworkers. The resounding message that I took away from that summer was that we are called to share the Gospel and care for people wherever we are. God wants us to be living on mission, everywhere life takes us.
That fall I was going to student teach in Coeur d’Alene. I was upset that I had to leave my community at Resonate after having such a life-altering summer. I felt that I had the most to offer back in Moscow, but I am thankful that God doesn’t follow my plans. What I didn’t fully realize was, though I was one of the older people at Elevate, it was no surprise that God placed me there the summer before I went to Coeur d’Alene. God had planned for me to be there, and during that summer, trusting that he was preparing my heart for the next step gave me peace.
A couple agonizing months had gone by student teaching when I stumbled upon Young Life at the high school, and became a leader. For years I have prayed for Coeur d’Alene High School. When I was in college, all I would hear about the parties and that there was nothing to do there. I would tell some of the high schoolers about the friendships I made and activities we did through Resonate. Right away you could tell how much they longed for a true genuine community. They longed for something that brought people together for a memorable time that wouldn’t fleet. I know God wanted me to share the love of Jesus, and it was becoming incredibly clear that discipling these students was the way. In all my years of prayer for the area, I always thought God would send someone else. I never thought He would send me.
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” -Luke 8:39
Over the last three years I have gotten to mentor and disciple nearly fifty high school kids and put on events in CDA. I got to share the importance of community, and that deeper friendships were possible if they were rooted in Christ. God had given me so many genuine friendships in college, because Resonate taught me that God calls us to experience Him in community. He wants to put people in your life that will show you Jesus’ love, will be accountable for you, and will fight for you.
“46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”-Acts 2:42-46
People who would otherwise never cross paths in the high school became authentic friends. Though these students came from a wide variety of backgrounds, friend groups, and ages, the constant that brought them together was learning about God and becoming more like Jesus. Over these last few years it has been amazing to see God take hold of their lives and give them new perspective.
I wanted to share this story because after three years I felt God calling me to a new chapter. I am comforted by the fact that God knows exactly what He has in store for my life, though I have no idea. I want to live out what I learned about God’s mission three years ago at Elevate. God wants to use all we have learned and the opportunities we have found ourselves in to serve him, be missional to whoever He puts in our lives, serve others, and be more like Jesus.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”-Matthew 28:16-20
Leaving what is comfortable is scary. I’m sure that is what most people who finish college and go out into the world think, but it is incredible what God does in those times of uncertainty. For anyone who is graduating and starting a job somewhere else, know that God is orchestrating your life to do amazing things for His kingdom. Resonate showed me that the call on our life is to mission, and that everything that I learned while at Resonate would be put to use. I never thought God would put me in ministry at my old high school, but this has been the most impactful and life-giving three years of my life and I am so beyond grateful that God let me be a small part of these kids’ lives.