I am now 21 years old, and for as long as I can remember the Lord has been an active part of my family’s life. At the age of three I accepted Jesus into my heart. I spent much of my childhood dreaming of the extraordinary, as I suspect most children do. I loved to pretend I was a hero who had just saved my best friend’s life or a horse who would never grow weary of running.
I dreamed of having 12 brothers and sisters and living in a grand mansion; or the other extreme of living in the wild with nothing, managing to survive on my own. My younger sister, Virginia, who is my best friend to this day, would partake in these fantasies, and we could spend all day on abandoned tropical islands, or in quaint towns from the 1800s or on huge ranches in Texas, where we were either the cowboys or the horses, depending on what we felt like that day.
I grew up in rural areas of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and these wooded, frozen landscapes probably fueled my imagination — with acres and acres of woods to play in right behind my house, the adventures of the day could be endless. As I grew older my desires changed, as I dreamed of the ideal American life. I wanted to be a soccer mom when I grew up, and live in a nice house in the suburbs of a large city. However, more than anything I wanted to get out of the North ! I longed for warm weather, friendly people, and churches that were not burned out, on being burned out.
That dream came true for me in August of 2005, right before my sophomore year of high school. My family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and we have been in the South ever since. It was in Atlanta that I got involved with a church that on average sends out around 14 mission teams a year. I had no desire to do missions, but I felt the Lord’s leading to go to Scotland on a two week mission trip — after talking to some of the team members, I decided it might be fun.
I had run from the idea of missions and travel as a lifetime vocation. I liked home, and I liked the idea of being wealthy. But when I was 14, I started to feel God’s leading toward missions, whether short-term or for a lifetime I didn’t know — and I wrestled with God over the idea. To me the word missionary meant poverty and sacrifice. I didn’t want to live in Africa or spend the rest of my life in a falling down shack. This tug of war went on for some time, but when I was in Scotland the Lord changed my heart.
I met missionaries with families and real houses. I encountered the wonder of God’s Spirit, as He ministered to the broken and hurting. I realized that I was not alone but that God went with me, and through His spirit I had no boundaries. I watched as the Lord provided the money for me to return to Scotland two more times and then to Israel this past fall. The Lord activated my heart for missions. I discovered that I loved ministry, in particular women’s ministry. I also realized that I loved travel. The same adventures that I had sought in my play as a young girl, I could now experience for real as a young woman. However, with the Lord everything was ten times more exciting than I could have ever envisioned in my play.
There is nothing like the thrill of stepping off a plane into the unknown. Like a stranger in a crowded room, there is a rush of insecurity that hits you as you take that first step, but it is soon washed away by wonder and peace. You start to meet people, and the Lord begins to work. The Lord has continued to change the longings of my heart, and what I used to fear, I now dream of. He has been taking me back to a child like-state where the impossible seems possible, and all you want to do is break out of the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary.
Some may wonder how my major in communication ties in with all this; the answer is I am not sure. However, I do like writing and communication has given me good experience in that area. At this point I really have very little worked out in terms of my future, but I do have peace that I am where God wants me right now, and that is enough.