Most of you may already know that I got to go on one of the greatest adventures of my life this year, my very first mission trip outside the USA. I flew to the Czech Republic on January 15, and didn’t return home until March 22. I spent most of my time during those two months in the city of Valasske Mezirici, with small sojourns around the country to Hradec Kralove, Pardubice, Hlinsko, and Prague, and out of the country to Slovakia and Ireland. I met a host of new friends and missionaries, and had the opportunity to work with Youth for Christ – Czech at their weekly Rock Solid Club, as well as the special Rock Solid Club girl’s night / sleepover, and a Rock Solid Club weekend camp. I came away from the experience feeling like the Lord was calling me back to the Czech Republic in the near future, and the call has continued to grow stronger.
Since then, I’ve been praying and working and preparing to go back. So far the external preparations have been small. I’ve been sorting through my belongings in preparation for returning, deciding what to keep and what to give away. The Lord has brought me some new friends to help me on my journey, and given me some new resources for moving forward.
The greatest preparation, so far, has been internal. The Lord has been sifting my heart, my motivations, my desires. He’s brought me to a new realization of what it means to give up everything to follow Him, and challenged me with the verse, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 ESV). I’ve spent the last few months considering how much I have to lose, and how much I have to gain if I follow God’s call. It’s been a difficult emotional time for me, but despite it all my desire is still to follow Him wherever He leads.
My busiest time back home has been these last several weeks, from mid-May to mid-June. It’s been crazy! Full of fun events and new opportunities. Here are just a few of the things I’ve gotten to do.
1. My brother’s wedding! He’s married!!! And to one of my best friends no less. Being part of their wedding at the end of May was a blast. Sure, it was crazy busy, but I’ll always treasure the memories of friends and family and all the fun that we had.
2. On the first and second weekends in June, I attended Grace Covenant International’s MSI Ministry Training Course, “Leadership in Ministry.” The class, led by my friend Dallas Elder, focused on identifying scriptural leadership principles that still hold true for our lives and ministries today. I especially enjoyed considering how these principles could change the way I do ministry, and hope to learn how to implement them in my everyday life and character. I’ll be doing homework for the class throughout the coming weeks.
3. I made my first trip to Texas with a fellow missionary, got to experience Dallas and all of its wonderful food, Denton and all of its wonderful people, and the beautiful area farther south near San Antonio (where I found even more wonderful people and food. So much hospitality). One memorable event was visiting the Commission to Every Nation headquarters in Kerrville during one of their special conferences. It was fun to catch a glimpse of how the organization is run and the people that are a vital part of it.
4. I spent the third weekend in June in Kansas City, during the time of the annual One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop. This has been the first year in its existence that I haven’t been a student at the workshop, and the emotions were bittersweet. But I got to see some of the friends who have always made the workshop such a special place for me, and that at least made up for some of it.
Now I’m home again, and looking forward to seeing what God will do in the weeks and months ahead. There are plans underway that will help me take a new step forward toward mission work in the Czech Republic… but I’ll wait until my next post to say what they are.