I had a plan; God had THE plan.
In June of 2008, I graduated from Henry M. Jackson High School with a plan. I was ready to get out of Washington and do big things. However, my idea of "big things" was not the same idea that God had in mind. For the first year of my college endeavors, I attended a local community college with dreams of transferring to the prestigious Bible school of BIOLA University in southern California. However, God had different plans.
In the midst of my first day on campus at Biola, I received a phone call from my father. He explained to me that Biola denied my student loan request, dashing my Biola dreams for the moment. I was in shock. Why were things not working out for me the way that I had planned? Frustrated with what seemed to be a failed plan, I un-enrolled myself as a student from Biola University and returned to Washington.
Discovering My Gifting and God's Heart for the World:
Not being at Biola did give me an opportunity to travel more for personal enterprise, alongside traveling on short-term mission trips with my church. As I began to travel more and develop skills within video production and photography, my curiosity of combining my interests of missions and media began to evolve more and more. I was surprised by how established I was becoming as a videographer and photographer. I began gaining more and more credibility with each project that I decided to take on. I wasn't just sitting around waiting for the next opportunity. I was taking the opportunities that were arising before me, and I was finding success. My trust in the sovereignty of God began to strengthen more and more as my personal plans and dreams of the California Bible school life began to dwindle and the discovery of my gifting and God's heart began to develop.
Unconventional Training Ground:
Not being at Biola also gave me the opportunity to serve within the youth ministry of my home church, Alderwood Community Church, resulted in me falling in love with ministry even further, and with that, the idea of global missions. It had always been an interest of mine, but I had never been certain of what that might look like in my life.
The Beginning of a New Dream:
Cory Cramer, a close friend and mentor of mine, first introduced me to Josiah Venture. He informed me about the great need in Central and Eastern Europe and Josiah Venture’s vision to see young people begin a revival to bring their nations to worship God. Less than 1% of young people within these former European bloc countries know Christ as their savior. The reality of that statistic was compelling and convicting, but I was still unsure how God would use me in this great need.
In late summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to be a part of a team that hosted an English camp partnering with a church in the town of Korcè, Albania through Josiah Venture. Cory and Kristine Cramer led the trip. It was there in Albania that the Lord began instilling in me a heart for the work being done in Central and Eastern Europe. I decided that I would document the trip as best as I could to be able to show others back home what we were doing in Albania and what the ministry of Josiah Venture is all about. Upon finishing my highlight/short documentary of our time in Albania, I sent it off to Justin Hall, the country leader in Albania for Josiah Venture, who in turn showed it to his fellow Josiah Venture staff. Over the next few weeks, Josiah Venture contacted me in regards to my work done on this short film. I was soon invited to come to the Czech Republic (Josiah Venture European headquarters) for six weeks on a vision trip to see if I might be a good fit working alongside a new creative communications team that Josiah Venture has been piecing together. After much prayer and counsel, I accepted and in February I left to spend 6 weeks in the Czech Republic working with Josiah Venture.
Fulfillment of a Dream:
I am now preparing to leave for the Czech Republic to serve as a Josiah Venture missionary. My job will be to help pioneer and develop a creative communications team that is the first of its kind. My emphasis will be in the areas of video production and photography. Our goal is to utilize the tools of video, photo, design, and social media to better reach the young generation of our time. It is for the gospel of Christ and the furthering of His Kingdom in a part of the world that is recovering from the chains of communism.
The dream that I once had of going to Bible school in California seems to be so distant and somewhat trivial. With good intention, it was my dream, and it was my plan. But God redeemed those desires for His greater good. He kept me home where I did not want to be, and placed me in ministry which I wasn't very good at. It was all the training that I needed though. How would I ever have the opportunity to learn and do the things that I did if it weren't for the Lord’s divine hand ripping my own desires from me and replacing them with His. He showed me that when I gave my life to Him it really wasn't my own anymore. Joining Josiah Venture is the fulfillment of my dreams in a different way.
Be a Part of My New Dream:
I am humbled by the privilege that it is to serve the Lord’s Kingdom in this way. Before I am able to move forward, I need partners. Those who would rise to the call of global missions. This is not a single person effort. There are many challenges that lie ahead, but I am eager for the joy that awaits as the Lord continues to move in the lives of the people of Eastern and Central Europe.
As I continue to move forward, I would ask that you would come alongside me in prayer. This is a spiritual battlefield that we live in. So we must pray! No battle is won without prayer. I ask that you would pray for me, my team, the Czech Republic, and that the Gospel would prevail.
I am also in need of financial partners. To live and serve in the Czech Republic, I must raise $3,200 a month and a $20,000 one-time out-going cost for Josiah Venture. My out-going cost will cover everything from cross-cultural training before I leave to moving expenses, visa and setting up my new home in the Czech Republic. My monthly costs will cover my living expenses $1,350 and ministry expenses $950, which includes my language learning, as well as daily ministry needs. I know this is a considerable amount, but I am stepping out in bold faith knowing that God will have His way.
Will you join me in my journey? My hope is to have 100% of my support raised by early 2014 so that I can join the Josiah Venture team in the Czech Republic. I cannot wait to see how God’s plan unfolds and how He will continue to provide!