In the fall of my senior year at Eastern, both my brother and my friend mentioned that Resonate may some day plant a church in Asia. They encouraged me to go and teach for a year. My immediate response was, “That’s cool, but no.” Little did I know, that’s exactly what the Lord had for me. He began to whisper to me, “But, why not?”
In the winter, Keith preached a series about being sent and giving to the Eugene church plant. I remember hearing the sermon and thinking this is meant for me, but it’s not about going to Eugene. After Keith preached, a staff member shared about going overseas and I was able to talk with her about feeling called and not knowing what to do. She encouraged me to use the season of lent to pray about it. For 40 days, I prayed about living on mission and teaching English in another country. I prayed over about four different countries and decided that I needed to go where I would be in community with other Resonate family. During those 40 days, the Lord really worked on my heart and changed my perspective until His “why not?” became my "yes". In the spring, I had a supernatural peace about saying yes to this adventure, and every door opened up from a roommate, to a job, and an apartment. God was answering specific prayers and completely preparing my heart along the way.
Never having been on a mission trip OR to Asia, the first week in country was the most impactful week of my life. Within hours of landing anxiety and culture shock overwhelmed me. I began to question why I had even wanted to come in the first place. I couldn’t contact home yet and hardly knew the girl I had agreed to room with. I literally had no one but the Lord. The first day I woke up and felt so sick I couldn't eat anything (this continued for 4 or 5 days) and I turned to the Word to feed me. God spoke to me through the introduction to Exodus. In my study Bible I read, "God led Moses and the nation of Israel, and he wants to lead us as well. Is he preparing you, like Moses, for a specific task? He will be with you; obey and follow. God led his people and provided for their physical and spiritual needs."
The words "obey and follow" struck me. I wrote in my Bible, "Day 4: I hear you, Father." Exodus 4:12 says: “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” The Lord used this passage to speak directly to my heart. While I may have felt under-prepared, completely inadequate, and absolutely overwhelmed, He will never leave me or forsake me, and He will instruct me in how to lead girls to Christ. In these quiet, intimate moments with the Father, I felt Him leading me like I never had before. This is when I learned that the Word really is alive and active.
When He takes away the distractions of busy American life, you begin to finally answer the question is God enough? This was one of the first times where I truly understood the idea of “the gospel being costly.” I missed out on a lot of memories with my family, I missed a year of my nephew’s life, a year’s worth of holidays, friends getting engaged, all sorts of things that could have made it feel impossible to be away. At the end of the day, sharing the message of hope with people who have never heard the name of Jesus is much more precious than these missed moments. Matthew 19:29 says: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Never in my life have I ever felt the purposeful joy that I felt after spending time with those college students. This is why we move to different cities all over the northwest, say goodbye to friends and family, and plant churches. What we give is unmatched in what we get.
So I count it all as joy to have given up a few memories and the comforts of American life to better know my Savior and the way He is leading my life. After just one year of living in the mission field, the trajectory of my life has been changed: I never want to live an easy, convenient, everything on a silver platter kind of life again. I want to live trusting that God is enough for me each and every day. No matter what the circumstance. I wouldn't trade the past year of my life for anything, and because of it, I hope Father calls me back some day to live there long term. In leveraging my life for the gospel, I experienced what it was like to live a fully satisfying and purposeful life.
The Lord calls all of us to ‘go and make disciples’, why not let it be a world adventure in the process? If anyone has the slightest interest in going to the nations, say YES. I guarantee it will be the best decision you could ever make.
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