By Brannen Pedregon
Last year, I thought that I had my life under control. I would go to the nations over the summer for a mission trip. I would then come back to Moscow and continue to live with people I have known since moving to the University of Idaho. I’d continue school at the U of I and be a part of the leadership team with Resonate Church on my campus. After a couple of years, I would then join a team and help plant a church in 2020 with my community, hopefully to a place I had control in choosing. However, in one single moment, God really showed that I am not in control of my life.
On January 2nd in Seattle, Washington, I sat in this large auditorium at the Resonate conference. One of the first pastors to speak was this guy that was slightly short, had long hair and a beard. His name was Colin and he was planting the next Resonate Church at Western Oregon University. He came to U of I in November to talk about the plant, but I didn’t give it much thought since I had planned to go when I was done with school. About 3 minutes into the on-stage interview, he said something that would reroute my life and really show that the Lord was orchestrating my future. He said, "We ask for you guys to come with us. We want more people to move to Oregon to help. And we need guys."
"...fan into flame the gift of God...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:6-7
So there I sat, struck by 15 seconds worth of words that felt like an entire sermon. I started to cry: tears full of fear, and tears of joy- tears for a reason I couldn’t explain. I knew that I wanted to help plant a church one day, but I never thought that the day would come so soon. I immediately shut it down, “no way.” But then I glanced 4 seats down at my roommate Preston Rhodes. I was in Preston’s huddle my freshman year, he led my room at Elevate, and I had known him since my freshman year of high school. He sat there typing on his phone and I wondered, “What is he saying?”. Then my phone screen turned on. There it was, the final sign I wasn’t looking for: A text from Preston saying, “Go to Monmouth with them”. I looked over at Preston and couldn’t believe it.
The next worship session was filled with prayers, questions, and more tears. I pulled Preston aside and out of the auditorium. I began to question the reasoning behind this tug on my heart. My sentences were filled with doubt and questioning. I wanted to say no. I wanted to control the situation and get out of it, but the tears kept flowing and the questions started to become irrelevant. Preston then started to ask me questions. “What’s holding you back?” he asked, I sat there trying to justify staying. I told him of the plans I had made and the desires I had: desires to lead in Moscow. I would lead trips, villages, community. He stopped me, “So go do those things there!”
So, I dove head-first into this "yes” to go to Monmouth, Oregon. Every plan I had set was now gone. Western Oregon University was never on my radar. This small town I had never heard of was never a stop on the map of my life. However, God’s map had a different route for me. A better route down the path less traveled.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." -Jeremiah 29:11
Six months since the "yes," I have moved to Monmouth and still have no idea why I agreed to this. Why did I agree to leave all of my friends and my family? Constantly I am being reminded of why: The Gospel is why. People at Western Oregon University are lost and need to hear the name of Jesus. So, I'm going. But now, I am stuck in the "how." How am I going to do this? How can a 19-year-old boy do this? And this is my conclusion: I. Don't. Know.
I sit here unqualified. I don’t have money, and I’m an immature dude. Why me? How could God think this was a good idea? What makes me so special? I sit here and tell myself two things: “you can’t do this” or “dang, you are a stud for doing this.” Neither are true. I didn’t pray a certain prayer or say the right thing in front of the right people. I didn’t even seek out this opportunity. Instead, the verses found me: verses telling me to go, to teach, to proclaim, to trust, and to believe. Here I am, still unqualified and still having doubts. In the midst of this, I am reminded how any of this is possible. It isn’t my own power pushing me through, it’s the Lord orchestrating and opening these doors. Luke 17:6 says this, “And the Lord said, ‘if you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
It isn’t by our power that mountains move or people are brought to Christ. It is by the Lord’s power. We could have faith like a mustard seed and He could still use us. All it takes is a “yes.” Whether you feel strong enough to say it or not, the Lord wants it and He will use it.
This transition isn’t always easy-it is often scary-but it’s worth it. It is worth knowing that people at Western Oregon University will come to know Jesus- not by how special the team is, but because of how great our God is.
I still have a desire to control what my life becomes but every day God is showing that His will is greater. Fear tells me to slow down and stop walking but the verses tell me that I am being moved by something greater than myself. Something that has conquered all fears, darkness, and sin that tell me to run away. This is the power of the Gospel. It is a story that calls us to something greater than ourselves. So I urge you to pray towards where the Lord is bringing you. Let go of the plans you so tightly hold on to: plans made by you, by culture, by family. Give God the “yes” for your life. Take risks, get uncomfortable, and lose control. The Lord will guide you. When you feel unqualified, look to scripture. The verses show that it is only God that qualifies us. Keep them close to your heart. And then… go.