Sunday, May 31, 2009

So It Begins...

Welcome to the story of my journey! I call it The Journey because every step and turn through my life is moving me to a new place of growth and faith. We all know that good things and bad things come to us and sometimes those good and bad things are results my decisions. I take hope in the fact that I serve a forgiving God, always ready to pick me back up and continue walking with me through this process.

It is my hope that this will be a place for me to keep you caught up with my life and allow easier interaction during my times overseas.

I've got about 1 hour before I leave for the airport to embark upon the first leg of my trip to South Africa. I apologize for not personally thanking every one of you I have received support from. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of financial support, prayer support, and words of affirmation I have received in the last few weeks. I know that some people have made great sacrifices to help me take advantage of this opportunity and I praise God for the willingness of His people.

This journey has already begun even though I am still in the States. The range of emotions I have experienced over the last few weeks has been crazy: first apprehension and anxiety as the reality of how much was unknown set it, then incredible excitement as I learned more of what I would be doing there, and this last week has been the most surprising of all. An overpowering feeling of peace has permeated any other thoughts in my head as I look ahead. I'm know I'm where I'm supposed to be and I know I'm heading where I'm supposed to.

A wonderful friend from church gave me a book when she heard I was going into missions overseas and I am convinced that this little book is part of the reason for my present peace. Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young is a book full of short devotionals for each day of the year. Never more than a page long, these reflections from her journals are written as Jesus speaking straight to you. It is full of reminders of God's promises and the importance of inviting Jesus to be a part of every day.

For those of you who I didn't get the chance to send a letter to, here are a few things that I'll be doing during my time with J-Life:
a. Toward the end of June, I will have the opportunity to participate in running a 3-day training school called STEM (Short Term Equipping Missions) with 120 youth from area churches. Following this time, we will lead the students out in different teams for them to experience a 10-day mission trip, putting into practice the concepts from the camp.
b. The rest of my time there will be spent in stints at different churches around South Africa, partnering with the youth ministries and learning about the growth of youth ministry in their area.
c. I will be also be heading up to Swaziland for a week to work with a church associated with J-Life there.

That's a lot for my first post, I know, but hopefully I will get everyone caught up and kept up to date over the summer. I have had some experience with the unpredictability of the internet in the areas I will be so I will do my best to post frequently and not leave you all questioning if the zebras have eaten me yet ;-)

I'm off...two 10 hour flights with an 11 hour layover in between...please add the next 32 hours to your prayers :-)