I spent 9 out of the last 12 months living away from my home in Eugene, Oregon; 3 months living back in my hometown surrounded with a community of nonbelievers, 2 months in San Diego, California, and last but not least, 4 months living in 12 different countries around the world. To say I was pushed out of my comfort zone is an understatement.
Oh yeah, did I mention I decided to dedicate my life to Jesus only 13 months ago? 2017 was a crazy year.
But here’s what I learned once I knew how to take a step back and breathe.
I learned that God is my home.
I can go home to a family that argues about how wrong the bible is, but yet I can still be in my room doing my DT’s. I can live in the huge, intimidating city of San Diego (huge to me because I grew up in a town of 1,000 people) for 2 months during the summer, and still learn what it looks like to make disciples. I can travel from country to country where I don’t know the language, and still hear God telling me to communicate and share with them.
Don’t get me wrong, I struggled this year. I struggled big time. And sadly, I didn’t come to realize all of these things until the last month of the year when I was called to go overseas again.
I spent all year as a new believer learning what it looks like for me, personally, to be a follower of Jesus. I learned how to read the bible, how to process what I was reading or what I was being taught, and how to share the Gospel. I learned how to have a strong foundation.
But what I didn’t fully learn was who God is.
Seeing who God is for the first time is completely overwhelming. I remember one day while I was overseas, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel for the first time to a local. This was, hands down, one of the coolest experiences that I’ve ever had. I found myself crying at the end of the day, not because I was sad, but because I was so overwhelmed by who He is.
The first reason why this was one of my Only God moments, is that I got to share the true Gospel with her. She initially told me she knew who Jesus was, but not long after we started talking, I started to realize she had it all wrong. “Only good people go to Heaven”, “Every bad person goes to Hell”. These were only a few comments she made about the “Jesus” she knew but I was able to build off of and reconstruct each of those lies she was believing, and tell her how Jesus actually fit into the picture. It was amazing.
Secondly, I was at the center of God’s mission and it was incredible. I’ve always felt called to “go”. It’s not always the best thing to have that calling, but if it’s for Mission, there’s not a cell in my body that hesitates. God completely used me during that conversation with my local friend overseas. He used me to share His truth with one of His children and I was in awe of how big He felt in that moment.
Lastly, that Gospel conversation wasn’t for me. Deciding to go overseas wasn't for me. While she did say she thought the Gospel I shared with her was “unbelievable”, she didn’t decide to follow Jesus in that moment. His timing and His plan, it wasn’t and isn’t mine. Everything I was doing overseas, and everything I do from day to day is for His glory.
I spent 9 out of the last 12 months living away from my home in Eugene, Oregon. It was uncomfortable. It was challenging. But the best part is that I was still home. Jesus is my home. Sure, I may have been staying in 5 different hotels, or in a guest bedroom, or on a ship in the middle of the ocean, but I was still home because I was surrounded by family. We are all made as children of God and even though we have different ways to communicate to each other, we are family and our Father provides a home.